After accusations of racism, Unbarlievable’s sales plummet: state data

Alcohol sales at a Rainey Street bar accused of racism this summer have plummeted in recent months, state data show.

Unbarlievable, 76 Rainey St., opened in March, serving $353,561 worth of beer, wine and mixed drinks during its first month in operation, according to an American-Statesman analysis.

Sales peaked the next month, with April bar tabs reaching $401,468.

RELATED: See which Austin bars had the highest sales in August

But fast forward to August, the most recent state data available, and that number has dropped substantially. The bar reported estimated sales of $115,019 that month – down 71 percent from April’s peak.

Austin Redditors have been discussing the dip this week.

What caused such a drop? Well, Unbarlievable took quite a public relations hit in June after its owner, Brandon Cash, reportedly insulted several customers who had posted negative online reviews of the bar, which blends a circus theme with a sports bar vibe.

In a response to one patron who complained about poor service, a person identified as Cash replied, “since you had a towel on your head my bartender thought you were the new bus boy and handed you dirty dishes to wash.”

Another customer reported a server had arranged beers into the shape of a swastika.

Cash subsequently apologized in a June 30 social media posting that read, in part: “It is with profound humility that I issue this heartfelt apology. To those who I have hurt and offended, I am deeply sorry. My words and actions were wrong, inappropriate and inexcusable.”

By then, though, many, including some Austin elected officials, were calling for boycotts of the business. A protest was staged outside the bar June 29.

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission even opened an investigation, but ultimately took no action.

Unbarlievable’s estimated bar sales, courtesy of the state:

  • March: $353,561
  • April: $401,468
  • May: $362,711
  • June: $294,322
  • July: $139,229
  • August: $115,019

To be fair, new bars usually see a big bump in business when they first open, so a bit of a decline in sales isn’t that unusual – but a 71 percent decrease is far from the norm.

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