A tale of perseverance and passion, Shiner has produced every ounce of beer since 1909 at the Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas. A success story has been written; and now, more than 6 million cases of Shiner beer are delivered across the nation.
In 1909, what is now Spoetzl Brewery consisted of an old tin shed in a farming community where a local beer was produced that replaced beer shipped in by railroad from San Antonio and Houston. The residents of this farm community struck plenty of artesian well water, which is the same water all Shiner beer is still brewed with.
In 1914, German immigrant brewmaster Kosmos Spoetzl came to Shiner to lease the facility with the option to purchase in 1915. Spoetzl attended brewmaster school and apprenticed for three years in Germany before working for eight years in Cairo, Egypt. He then relocated to San Antonio with his family’s recipe for Bavarian beer made with pure malt and hops.
Within a year of leasing the brewery, Spoetzl bought the facility and began producing beer in wooden kegs and bottles. In 1918, when Prohibition was declared, the brewery produced near beer and ice, and regular beer according to some sources; Spoetzl kept the brewery afloat during this time by doing construction work in Florida.
In 1933 when Prohibition was repealed, business resumed, and the brewery continued to thrive selling beer within a 100-mile radius of the facility. It was in 1947 that Spoetzl constructed the white brick Alamo-style brewery that serves as headquarters today.
Town residents recall hardworking farmers finding a cold bottle of Shiner beer waiting on them on top of a fence post after a long day: Spoetzl’s way of earning more loyal fans. After Spoetzl’s death in 1950, his daughter Cecilie Spoetzl took over the family business until 1966, when it was bought by San Antonio brewmaster William Bigler. In 1968, Ohio native Chester Terpinski and a group of stockholders purchased the brewery; and in 1984, four individuals from Houston acquired it.
Texas placed a state historical marker at the brewery in 1971, and now visitors can even find a museum and gift shop on-site when stopping in for a tour. Tours of the brewery are offered multiple times a day Monday through Friday, and a schedule can be found here. Merchandise is also available both in the gift shop at the Spoetzl Brewery and at Shiner’s online store.
Current Shiner Family and Success
The Spoetzl Brewery and Shiner Beer are now owned by the Gambrinus Company, which is based in San Antonio and owned by Carlos Alvarez, another immigrant in the brewery business from Acapulco, Mexico.
Jimmy Mauric currently leads the brewery as brewmaster, and he has been with Shiner Beer for over 36 years. Starting with the company when he was only 17, he has bought into everything that Shiner stands for.
“What does Shiner taste good with? I mean that’s a good question. I think it tastes good with everything,” Mauric explained. “All day, that’s the best time to drink a Shiner.”
Shiner Beer is now sold and consumed across the nation. What started as a way to create Old World-influenced beers for family and friends in Shiner, Texas has become something much larger. The company and the products they produce have earned over 70 awards dating back to 1999.
The brewery produces 13 different beers including Shiner Bock, Brewer’s Pride Collin Street Bakery Fruitcake Pastry Porter, Light Blonde, Bonfire Brewskis, Candied Pecan, Weisse N’ Easy, 1909, Bruja’s Brew IPA, Sea Salt & Lime, Holiday Cheer, Ruby Redbird, Bohemian Black Lager, and Premium. Beers like Shiner Bock and Shiner Premium have been around since the early 1900s, while the other beers were not created until 2007 and beyond.
In addition to the brewery’s beer selection, they now offer hard seltzers as well. Their cocktail-inspired Tall ‘Tails come in four flavors: Texas Mule, Watermelon Margarita, Mexican Martini, and Ruby Red Paloma. The craft-brewed Straight Shooter line comes in Grapefruit, Raspberry, Peach, and Lemonade. There is also a Straight Shooter Lemonade line that comes in four more flavors: Strawberry Lemonade, Dewberry Lemonade, Prickly Pear Lemonade, and Sweet Tea Lemonade. (Photo credit below to Shiner)
About Shiner, Texas
Shiner began as a valley between the Lavaca and Guadalupe rivers where ranchers, cattle, the railroad, Native Americans, outlaws, Texas Rangers, farmers, and cotton all thrived. The town has been called Shiner since 1888, and it was incorporated in 1890 with the first mayor being L.P. Amsler.
The city in Lavaca County now boasts a population of 2,162 and is located 92 miles from San Antonio, 84 miles from Austin, and 128 miles from Houston. While Shiner Beer is the small town’s claim to fame, there are many other attractions to make a trip worthwhile.
Antiques, Art, and Beer is a small bar that is the perfect place to sit with friends or shop for unique gifts, art, and antiques. Marker’s Sausage and Processing is a meat processing facility and market that has been around since 1967 that is sold in many south-central Texas grocery stores and a variety of BBQ restaurants.
There is no shortage of inns, guest houses, and bed and breakfasts available to stay overnight. Many of these places offer a very personal touch and will make you feel more at home than staying in a large hotel. Airbnb is another great option to find lodging in the area, as there are unique set-ups meant to connect you with the small-town atmosphere.
Other attractions include the Saints Cyril & Methodius Catholic Church, which is still known as one of the most eye-catching landmarks in south-central Texas 100 years after its dedication; Old Shiner City Hall, which was built in 1927; the Wolters Memorial Museum; and the Gaslight Theatre, which was the town’s first Opera House.
For more information on Shiner Beer and Spoetzl Brewery’s success, family and products, visit https://shiner.com/.
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