Austin venue Beerland sold, employees reportedly striking
Austin, TX club Beerland, located on Red River near Stubb's, Mohawk, Swan Dive, and Cheer Up Charlies, has been sold to an undisclosed buyer, Austin 360 reports. It'll stay open during the change in ownership, and currently booked shows are set to happen as scheduled, but "future plans for the space are undecided at this point, according to the new owner," a news release about the sale reads.
Richard Lynn, the club's owner up until its sale, purchased it through his Jukebox Holdings early in 2018 from Randall and Donya Stockton, who founded it in 2001. Under Lynn's ownership, Beerland hosted some national touring artists in addition to its usual spate of up-and-comers, including Pere Ubu, Kim Gordon and The Chills for the "Austin Jukebox" series, and the club went legit during SXSW with official nighttime showcases in 2019. In a statement, Lynn said, "I’ve decided it’s time for me turn over ownership to a very astute businessman to allow myself the time I need to pursue other passions, including continuing my work with local non-profits as well as taking on a more hands-on approach working with my record label, Super Secret Records, and its associated imprint labels, and various other business interests. The club will be in the capable hands of new ownership and I know they and their team will put forth great effort to provide a fun and safe space for customers and musicians."
On Facebook, an anonymous letter attributed to Beerland employees began speading shortly after news of the club's sale got out. "Last nigth we - the employees of Beerland - issued a letter to owner Richard Lynn of a general strike until all back wages have been paid, including bookers, door staff, bartenders, and managers," it reads. "We have been dealing with our paychecks bouncing since SXSW and there has been absolutely no transparency on the owner's part. For months we've been working solely on the vague promise that we'll get paid for our labor and have no idea when/if we're going to get reimbursed for the hours we work. In addition - less than 24 hours after the strike letter was sent - found out through a press release on Austin360 that Beerland has been sold to an undisclosed person. Again, zero transparency." Read the full letter below.