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Shiner is fourteen miles west of Hallettsville in western Lavaca County. Shiner was incorporated in 1890. Czech and German immigrants soon became the dominant ethnic groups.
Shiner Brewing Association 1909-1914
Kosmos Spoetzl had a simple marketing philosophy: A good beer will sell itself. So he set out to brew the very best beer he could. That done, he had to make sure that people drank it. So he bought a Model T, and with a couple of kegs iced down in the back, Spoetzl drove the country roads that surrounded surrounded Shiner, plying the the thirsty farmers with ice-cold beer. Spoetzl produced "Old World Bavarian Draft," which was a heavy, dark, all-malt German-style lager.
The Spoetzl Brewery trucks started rolling again the very minute Prohibition ended in Texas (one minute past midnight on September 15, 1933) to towns like Praha, Dime Box, Mickle Community and the Sandies. Spoetzl never went more than 70 miles out of his way in any direction for business. Spoetzl also changed the name (but not the recipe) to "Texas Special Export," and began bottling it for the first time, in the familiar longneck bottle. Kosmos died in 1950 and his daughter Cecilie-"Miss Celie"-inherited the brewery and was for a time, the only female brewery owner in the country.
Brewery records indicate that Bock was brewed here as early as 1917, but its popularity is a relatively recent phenomenon that owes to the old Austin hippie scene. Shiner premium became a popular beer for members of the Austin counterculture in the early 1970s for a variety of reasons (including low price). But when a seasonal shipment of Shiner Bock rode into town about 1975, it was "love at first quaff." By 1978, Spoetzl was brewing Bock year round to supply the Austin market.
Brewery tours are given Monday through Friday at 11 am and 1:30 p.m. The hospitality taproom is open Monday through Friday after the tour. The gift shop is open Monday through Saturday. Visit the Shiner web site at www.shiner.com. Every October, Shiner throws a "Bocktoberfest," a thank you party for its loyal supporters.
In 1999, the Spoetzel brewery purchased the defunct Frio brewery in San Antonio to test recipes and ingredients for its beers. These beers will not be sold to the public.
In October of 2005, the Shiner Brewery began counting down to their centennial celebration with the release of Shiner 96, an Oktoberfest-style beer. By early November, the one-time-only beer had sold out. In 2006, they will release Shiner 97, and so on until 2009, when the brewery will celebrate its 100th birthday!
"Bottoms Up" - Joseph Ruffo, San Antonio Express-News, June 11, 2000.