Austin brewery offers free beer following onsite vaccinations Saturday

An Austin brewery is giving away free cases of beer to those willing to roll up their sleeves and get the COVID-19 vaccine Saturday.

The idea comes amid a record setting week for the most coronavirus patients in Travis County ICUs since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We’re trying to encourage new people to get the vaccine to get our percentages up here as far as our population," said Brian Smittle, owner and founder of Thirsty Planet Brewing.

The brewery is teaming up with Livingston Med Lab to get people vaccinated, hoping to help curb the increasing number of COVID-19 cases by offering free cases of their own.

"Hopefully 24 beers pushes somebody to either get that second shot or get their first shot. Either way that’s what we need. That’s the solution to this," Smittle said.

Those eligible, who register for a vaccine through Thirsty Planet Brewing’s social media sites, can show up at the brewery anytime between 2 - 6 p.m. Saturday for a dose of the Pfizer or Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Kids over 12 are welcome too, but only those 21 and up will walk out with 24 free cold ones.

"We’re doing our Thirsty Goat, we’re doing our Buckethead, we’re doing our new beer, our new Pilsner, which is Spot On, and they can mix and match if they want to," said Smittle.

Thirsty Planet staff said they wanted to give the community a little incentive to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. After all, the pandemic affects their bottom line.

"Half of our stuff goes to bars and restaurants and, so, if bars and restaurants start shutting back down, obviously that will impact our business," Smittle said.

But the impact Smittle really cares about is saving lives in the community he calls home. "It’s frustrating that a year ago, at this time, there really wasn’t a solution, but there’s actually three solutions right now and it’s just the right thing to do," said Smittle.

Thirsty Planet staff said the goal is to give out 100 shots, but they have enough cases of beer for three times that if the demand is that high.

Meanwhile, H-E-B said recently the number of COVID-19 vaccines administered at their pharmacy locations has more than doubled. To handle that increasing demand, their stores will temporarily only offer vaccination on weekends by appointment. H-E-B pharmacies will still take walk ins during the week, Monday-Friday from 12-5pm.

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