Spoetzl Brewery

Spoetzl Brewery

Infobox Brewery
name = Spoetzl Brewery

caption =
location = Shiner, Texas
owner = Gambrinus Company San Antonio, Texas
opened = 1909
production =
active_beers = brewbox_beer|name=Shiner Bock|style=Bock brewbox_beer|name=Shiner Bohemian Black Lager|style=Schwarzbier brewbox_beer|name=Shiner Blonde|style=Lager brewbox_beer|name=Shiner Light|style=Light Lager brewbox_beer|name=Shiner HefeWeizen|style=Hefeweizen
seasonal_beers = brewbox_beer|name=Shiner Leicht|style=Light Pilsner
other_beers =

Known as the "Little brewery in Shiner," the Spoetzl Brewery is an American brewery located in Shiner, Texas that is wholly owned by the Gambrinus Company. The brewery is most well known for producing Shiner Bock, a dark German/Czech-style beer that is now distributed in 41 states.


The Shiner beer has had several starts, stops, and name changes. It has been brewed under the following names:
*Shiner Brewing Association 1909-1914
*Home Brewing Company 1914-1915
*Petzold & Spoetzl 1915-1918
*Spoetzl Brewery and Ice Factory 1933-1934
*Spoetzl Brewery 1934-Present


Shiner, the oldest independent brewery in Texas, has been incorporated since 1909. A group of businessmen incorporated Shiner Brewing Association and placed Herman Weiss in as the company's first Brewmaster. In 1914 the founders offered the plant for lease, a German immigrant brewer named Kosmas (more commonly referred to as Kosmos) Spoetzl learned of the operation and co-leased with Oswald Petzold with an option to buy in 1915. Before this business venture, Spoetzl had attended brewmaster's school and apprenticed for three years in Germany, worked for eight years at the Pyramids Brewery in Cairo, Egypt, and then worked in Canada before moving to San Antonio in search of a better climate for his health. He came to Texas with the recipe for a Bavarian beer made by his family from malted barley and hops.

urviving the "Great Experiment"

During Prohibition, Kosmas Spoetzl kept the brewery afloat by selling ice and making "near beer." After Prohibition only five of the original 13 Texas breweries were still intact. When the Prohibition laws were repealed larger beer plants, such as Anheuser-Busch, moved to Texas making life harder on the smaller independent breweries, but Spoetzl kept things small and simple never going more than 70 miles for business.

Modern times

In the 1970s and 1980s the brewery's Shiner Beer and Shiner Bock had less than 1 percent of the Texas market. In 1983 Spoetzl produced 60,000 barrels of beer. Production was only 36,000 barrels in 1990. Sales improved after Carlos Alvarez of San Antonio acquired the brewery in 1989: Production grew to 100,000 barrels in 1994, and over the next ten years, production nearly tripled. [http://www.shiner.com/about/history.html -History of Shiner Bock from the Brewery website.] Shiner Bock is the number 1 selling Specialty beer in Texas, with Shiner Light being number 2Fact|date=August 2008. In the US, Shiner Bock is the number 4 selling Craft beerFact|date=August 2008. Even though Shiner has been growing, the beer they make is still brewed at the Spoetzl Brewery by only 55 employees.

100 Year Celebration

In 2005, Shiner began producing a yearly brew in a progressive, anticipatory celebration of its 2009 centennial anniversary. The centennial program began developing and producing one special celebratory beer in small batches in each final calendar quarter. The name of each such specialty beer corresponds to the age of the brewery: Shiner 96 was the specialty beer of 2005, and so forth; the specialty beer of 2008 is Shiner 99. Spoetzl brewed Shiner 96 and Shiner 97 only from September through mid-December of the first two years, when the numbered specialty beer production stopped and that year's pre-centennial beer retired. Spoetzl released Shiner 98 four months earlier in 2007 — in May — while Shiner 99 entered the market even two months earlier, in March of 2008. The Spoetzl Brewery intends to conclude its centennial beer production in 2009 with Shiner 100.

Below is a listing of each beer and their respective style:
* "Shiner 96" — Märzen/Oktoberfest Ale
* "Shiner 97" — Bohemian Black Lager
* "Shiner 98" — Bavarian Style Amber
* "Shiner 99" — Munich Style Helles Lager

Current line of products

Shiner currently produces five beers year around and three seasonal brews. [Shiner Product Coaster Pack. Spoetzel Brewery. August 15, 2005.] In the past, the seasonal beers were brewed each season, but starting in winter of 2007, Shiner's schedule has been less predictable. Dunkelweizen wasn't produced till late winter, and Kölsch isn't being brewed at all for summer 2008.

Active beers

*"Shiner Bock" — Shiner's flagship beer. Bock has been brewed since 1913, almost as long as the Spoetzl Brewery has been in business. However, it wasn't until a few decades ago that Shiner began producing Bock year-round. Bock was considered a lent beer, and therefore was only made around that season. Today 80% of the beer made at the Spoetzl Brewery is Bock.
*"Shiner Light" — Shiner Light is Shiner's first ever light beer, so the company was very meticulous on selecting the right formula. Before release, Shiner Light went through a "yes or no" taste-testing ballot by all the residents of Shiner, Texas. Every bottle of Shiner Light is signed by a citizen of Shiner, Texas as an official approval that Light is good enough to carry the Shiner name. Shiner Light has the lowest production numbers out of all of the year around beers.
*"Shiner Blonde" — Blonde is the direct descendant of Shiner's earliest brew. Although Blonde has carried numerous names, such as Shiner Special and Shiner Texas Special, the recipe has been virtually unchanged since it was first brewed in 1909. For this reason, Blonde carries Brew Kettle No. 1 on its label.
*"Shiner Hefeweizen" — Hefeweizen is brewed with orange and lemon peels and pure Texas clover honey. Unfiltered, this cloudy brew is a classic Bavarian Wheat beer and is the only beer brewed that is not pasteurized.
* "Shiner Bohemian Black Lager" — Originally a limited edition in honor of the Spoetzl Brewery's 97th anniversary, this classic schwarzbier became a permanent part of the Shiner family in late 2007. Black uses imported Austrian Saaz and Styrian hops and dark-roasted malts to create a distinctive taste that honors the German and Czech immigrants who settled the town of Shiner.

easonal beers

*"Spezial Leicht" — Leicht is Shiner's entry into the low calorie contest and is designed to compete with light beers from Bud, Miller and Coors as well as Michelob Ultra. [ [http://sadbeer.com/article.cfm/id/283603 Shiner Enters the Light Beer Market] . sadbeer.com. April 20, 2008. Accessed April 27, 2008.] While some confusion exists between Shiner Light and Shiner Leicht, due mainly to the similarity in names and packaging, they are in fact separate brews with very dissimilar tastes and appearances. Shiner Light weighs in at 120 calories, while Leicht has only 99 calories. [ [http://www.publiustx.net/item/431 Shiner Light?] . PublisTX.net. April 15, 2008. Accessed April 27, 2008.] As of Spring 2008, Shiner only plans Leicht as a seasonal summer beer. [ [http://blogs.mysanantonio.com/weblogs/beer/archives/2008/04/shiner_lighter.html Shiner Lighter?] . sadbeer.com. April 16, 2008. Accessed April 27, 2008.]

* "Holiday Cheer" is the new winter seasonal from Shiner, announced in October 2008. It's a dark wheat beer (dunkelweizen) with peach and pecan flavors. The style of beer reflects the German and Czech heritage of the brewery and the town of Shiner. The flavors from peaches and pecans grown in the nearby Hill Country are a nod to the brewery's Texas roots.


Shiner Bocktoberfest was an annual music festival held each October in Shiner, Texas. Bocktoberfest featured a concert line-up that blended Texas Country, Modern and Alternative Rock with Blues, Pop and Americana.

The Shiner Bocktoberfest Concert began in 1994 as the “Thanks a Million” concert, a tribute to the first million-case sales year achieved by the Spoetzl Brewery. Thousands of people attended the concert as the city of Shiner celebrated. The following year, the concert name was changed to the Shiner Bocktoberfest Concert. Since its inception, the festival’s reputation continues to growFact|date=February 2007. Bocktoberfest, originally on the brewery grounds, is now held in Green Dickson Park, just one mile east of the brewery, to accommodate growing crowds. Proceeds from the Shiner Bocktoberfest Concert benefit civic and charitable organizations.Fact|date=February 2007

The 2006 Bocktoberfest was the last, at least for now. In early summer 2007, the Gambrinus Company announced that the annual concert would be discontinued. [cite web|url=http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/metro/stories/MYSA100407.02B.AroundTown.1376c2e36.html|first=Edmund |last=Tijerina|title=Rosario's to be featured in Cornell University dining program|date=October 4, 2007|accessdate=2007-10-12] According to Alvarez, the financial and administrative costs of the festival had become excessive, and the company needed to shift its energies toward its beers. [cite web|first=Travis|last=Poling|title=Bocktoberfest cancelled after 13 years|work=Brew Notes web log|date=23 July 2007|publisher=MySA.com|url=http://blogs.mysanantonio.com/weblogs/beer/archives/2007/07/bocktoberfest_c_1.html|accessdate=2007-10-13]



External links

* [http://www.shiner.com/ Shiner.com] - The official website.
* [http://www.gambrinus.com/ Gambrinus.com] - Owning company's official site.
* [http://www.texasbreweries.com/shiner.htm TexasBreweries.com] - Unofficial history.

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