19 Nov UPDATED 11/21: No Label’s Brian Royo Steps Down
No Label’s Brian Royo Steps Down
After 10 years of leading No Label, Texas’ Prom King of craft beer is stepping down to usher in the next generation. What gives?
The rumor mill has proven to be all over the place. Some folks are saying that they didn’t sell out, and others are saying they did. While we’re usually not in the business of spreading rumors, all signs point to half of them holding up. There’s no sign of a big beer buyout – far from it.
No Label is still locally owned by people in the community. We’ve confirmed this much while we’re awaiting more detailed feedback from Brian.
UPDATE 11/20/2018 7:48am
“No Label is still very much open. Brian needed a change and it will be a change of management only.” – Jennifer Royo
UPDATE 11/21/2018 10:41am
Per usual when news like this breaks, the mean girls start up with the rumors. Everybody rushes to talk about selling out even when that makes absolutely no sense.
It’s maddening. We’re not here for it. Never have been. Never will be. For the record, a “private” online group is just about as private as a high school gymnasium with 5,000 sets of peering eyes and listening ears filling it. It’s probably equally gossip filled. So consider the source, but we’re digressing.
This is all why we reached out to No Label’s Brian Royo to get it straight from the horse’s mouth. (FYI Brian: you’re not a horse.)
We asked him a few quick questions to help shed some light on what’s really going on next to the rice silos in Old Katy.
You’re a staple in the Houston beer community. What gives man?
“This isn’t something that happened over night. It’s something Jennifer and I have been discussing for a while – a year or more. I just don’t have a passion for beer any more. We were planning to make an announcement about it, and then somebody leaked it. Then the rumor mill started up, so we wanted to cut that off as quickly as possible.
It started messing with my system, so I’d drink beer less and less. I hardly ever drink any more, and when I do, it’s usually a vodka and water. Even that messes with my system, so I just don’t crave a drink anymore.”
“One thing is, I’m not really an IPA guy. I never have been, and we never were big on bringing a bunch of IPAs to the market. What’s the most popular style? IPA. I just don’t get the whole haze craze to be honest. It doesn’t make sense to me. When I see a beer that looks like that, I’m not attracted to it.
Because of me losing my passion I haven’t kept up with the craft beer scene. Haze Craze being an example. I just don’t get it the craze.”
Will you ever come back?
“I’m not disappearing completely. I’ll still maintain a small ownership in No Label. I’ll still be at big events, and I’ll help the board. I just felt like I wasn’t bringing anything to the table any more. I wanted to get out of the way and leave more room for innovation. I loved it when we first started – when I was working with my hands, fixing things. Now I’m working with spreadsheets and payroll stuff, and it’s just not fun like it used to be when I was on the floor.
I strongly believe that No Label is about the employees and the community around it. If I’m not happy and not into it then I’m doing a disservice to them – to the community.”
What’s the single thing you want everyone to know?
“I really appreciate the support of everybody that’s given their time and effort to No Label. From the volunteers to the employees, we wouldn’t be where we’re at without you guys.”
We talked for about 15 minutes, and these were the highlights of the conversation. The one thing that stuck out was how transparent, authentic, and honorable he was about the whole matter. The wildest thing about all of this is last month we posted about “No such thing as an ex-craft beer drinker” with the help of some of Houston’s finest beer drinkers. Then this. Never say never, y’all.
So fear not Katy-ites(?) Katy-onians(?). Brian’s not disappearing off into the sunset. No Label’s not selling out.
No Label was one of the first breweries to team up with Hop Drop, they switched to a brewpub and started doing cans, growlers and crowlers to go, and they’ve been experimenting with new beers more lately. The only thing that’s changing from the consumer’s perspective is probably some more IPAs on the tap walls and on the shelves.
No Label will keep on kicking ass, and Brian will still be along for the ride, even if it’s sort of on the sidelines.