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Karbach Teams Up With Chris Shepherd and Pitmaster Aaron Franklin for New Charity Beer

Plus, more Houston dining intel

Chris Shepherd in an apron.
Chris Shepherd
Julie Soefer

Welcome to AM Intel in the time of coronavirus, a round-up of the city’s newest bits of restaurant-related intel. Follow Eater on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date details on how COVID-19 is impacting the city’s dining scene.

Karbach brews up new beer to benefit Southern Smoke Foundation

Houston-based Karbach Brewing Company has teamed up with legendary Texas chefs Aaron Franklin and Chris Shepherd to release a new beer called Horseshoe Pilsner, the sales of which will benefit the Southern Smoke Foundation. The crisp, low-alcohol beer (4.5% ABV) was initially conceived as a palate cleanser, brewed specifically to accompany Franklin’s barbecue at the Hot Luck Festival in Austin. As the coronavirus pandemic wore on, Franklin decided to partner with Shepherd to add a donation element to the sale of the brew.

According to a press release, the brewery expects to raise $100,000 for the Southern Smoke Foundation, which provides relief services to restaurant workers who’ve lost wages and benefits due to the pandemic. Karbach has already raised more than $200,000 for Southern Smoke and the Astros Foundation through the sale of its other beers, Crawford Bock and Love Street. Horseshoe Pilsner will be available starting October 5 at grocery stores and on tap across Houston.

Tillman Fertitta donates $1 million to Hurricane Laura victims in Lake Charles

Billionaire restaurateur Tillman Fertitta, whose Landry’s company owns the Golden Nugget Casino in Lake Charles, Louisiana, has donated a million dollars to a relief fund for Landry’s employees affected by Hurricane Laura, which struck the Texas-Louisiana border in late August. Houstonia Magazine also reports that the hotel-casino has become a home base for first responders working to help the region recover.

It’s been a tough year for the employees of Fertitta’s 600-plus restaurants and casinos. In March, Fertitta furloughed more than 40,000 Landry’s employees, later saying in a television interview that the furloughs were “a favor” that allowed those employees to apply for unemployment insurance.

Luby’s moves to liquidate

Texas cafeteria chain Luby’s announced last week plans to liquidate its assets and distribute the proceeds of sales to investors. The chain was struggling even before the coronavirus began, but new restrictions on dining in the wake of the pandemic have led to a debt of $57.3 million dollars, including a loss of more than $25 million this year alone.

Luby’s Chariman Gerald Bodzy told the Houston Chronicle that the company hopes to find a buyer who will keep the beloved restaurants open. The liquidation plans also included Fuddruckers, the hamburger chain owned by Luby’s.