Spoetzl Brewery

  (Redirected from Gambrinus Company)

Spoetzl Brewery is a brewery located in Shiner, Texas, U.S. It produces a diverse line of Shiner Beers, including their flagship Shiner Bock, a dark lager that is now distributed countrywide. The brewery is owned by the Gambrinus Company, a family-owned company based in San Antonio, which also owns Trumer Brewery in Berkeley, California.

Spoetzl Brewery
Shiner, Texas
OwnerThe Gambrinus Company Founder: Kosmos Spoetzl


The Spoetzl Brewery started in 1909.[1] It was originally named The Shiner Brewing Association (SBA) and was founded by German and Czech immigrants who had settled around the central Texas town of Shiner. Unable to find the type of beer they had known in their home countries, they decided to brew their own. It is the oldest independent brewery in Texas,[1] and one of the oldest independent breweries in the U.S.[2][3] The leaders of the SBA named Herman Weiss of Galveston as the company's first brewmaster.[4]

Shiner beer was originally a Lenten beer—only available in the spring—following the German Lentenbock tradition.[5] Bock beers have a long history of being brewed and consumed by Bavarian monks as a source of nutrition during times of fasting.[6]

As the brewery gained popularity in the area, the SBA began to look for a trained professional brewmaster. They found one in Bavarian-born Kosmos Spoetzl,[5] a onetime soldier who had trained as a brewmaster in his native Germany.[4] Part of the package that lured Spoetzl to Shiner was potential ownership of the brewery. In 1914, he co-leased it with Oswald Petzold with an option to buy in 1915,[4] which he did, giving the brewery his own name but continuing to call the product Shiner Beer. 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. He had moved to San Antonio in search of a better climate for his health, bringing with him a family recipe for a Bavarian beer made from malted barley and hops.[4]

During Prohibition, Spoetzl kept the brewery afloat by selling ice and making near beer.[4] After Prohibition, only five of the original 13 Texas breweries were still intact.[citation needed] Following Prohibition, Spoetzl kept things small and simple, never going more than 100 miles (160 km) for business.[4]

Sales growthEdit

In the 1970s and 1980s, the brewery's Shiner Premium Beer and Shiner Bock accounted for less than one percent of the Texas beer market. In 1983, Spoetzl produced 60,000 US beer barrels (7,000 m3) of beer; in 1990, only 36,000 US beer barrels (4,200 m3). Sales improved after Carlos Alvarez of San Antonio[7] acquired the brewery in 1989. Production grew to 100,000 US beer barrels (12,000 m3) in 1994, and over the next ten years, production nearly tripled. The company now has 120 employees.[7] As of 2012, it is the fourth-largest craft brewery in the United States.[5]


Spoetzl created "Devil Beer" in 1987, sold to fans of the Arizona State Sun Devils.[4] The brewery also licensed the Boulder Brewery of Colorado to sell its "Boulder Sport" in the late eighties.[4] Spoetzl currently produces nine Shiner beers year round and four Shiner seasonal brews per year.[8]

Active beersEdit

  • Shiner Bock – Spoetzl's flagship beer.[5] Bock has been brewed since 1913, almost as long as the Spoetzl Brewery has been in business. However, it was not until a few decades ago that Shiner began producing a bock beer year-round. Shiner Bock was considered a Lenten beer, and therefore was only made around that season. Today 73% of the beer made at the Spoetzl Brewery is bock beer.
  • Shiner Premium – Premium is the direct descendant of Spoetzl's earliest brew. Although Premium has carried numerous names, such as Shiner Special, Shiner Texas Special and Shiner Blonde, the recipe has been virtually unchanged since it was first brewed in 1909. Premium was just re-introduced in March, 2013, featuring Shiner's famous "Cotton Boll" logo and distinctive gold packaging.
  • Shiner Bohemian Black Lager – Originally a limited edition schwarzbier for the Spoetzl Brewery's 97th anniversary, it became a permanent part of the brand portfolio in late 2007. Black uses imported Czech Saaz and Styrian hops and dark-roasted malts.
  • Shiner Kosmos – The original Shiner Kosmos was available in 1999 with a higher alcohol content and a different taste. This re-release is an American Pale Lager style beer available only in Shiner Family Packs, one bottle per six-pack.
  • Shiner Prickly Pear Lager – A golden lager brewed with juice from the fruit of prickly pear cactus. Available in Shiner Family Packs (one bottle per six-pack) and is the third in the "Brewer's Pride" Limited Edition series.[9]
  • Shiner Light Blonde – A light beer with 99 calories
  • Shiner Ruby Redbird – A lager brewed with Texas Ruby Red grapefruit and ginger, originating as a summer seasonal in 2011. Popular demand led the brewery to introduce it year-round in 2015. This beer uses Munich malt and Mt Hood, Citra and Cascade hops and it is 4.01% ABV. A repackaging as of late 2018 highlights the beer as a 95-calorie offering per 12-ounce serving.
  • Shiner White Wing – A Belgian white ale brewed with Belgian yeast, coriander, and orange peel; first released in 2013.

Seasonal beersEdit

  • Holiday Cheer – Cheer is an "old world dunkelweizen" brewed with Texas peaches and pecans. Malted barley and wheat are used.[10] Holiday Cheer replaced Shiner Dunkelweizen as the brewery's winter seasonal.
  • Shiner OktoberfestMärzen-style seasonal beer that has a deep amber color and slightly toasted flavor. First introduced as the 96 Anniversary Brew.
  • Shiner Birthday Beer – A stout brewed with chocolate malt and real cocoa. In 2015, "Birthday Beer" honored the brewery's anniversary and served as Shiner's spring seasonal beer. Although the name will stay the same, the style will change each year.
  • Shiner Prickly Pear – A light lager brewed with the fruit of prickly pear cactus, which is common in Texas and actually grows on the brewery grounds. Prickly Pear was previously available in the Family Reunion packages.
  • Homespun* – Cream Ale, A full bodied beer.
  • Shiner Strawberry Blonde – A summer seasonal beer brewed with strawberries. It combines pale and wheat ales with strawberries grown in Poteet, Texas.
  • Shiner Sea Salt & Lime Summer Lager – A light lager brewed with sea salt and lime peel,[11] introduced in 2018 as a standalone product and as part of the rotating flavors in the company's seasonal "Texas Heat Wave" assortment pack
  • Shiner Weisse 'N' Easy – An unfiltered wheat beer, in the tradition of Berliner Weisse, brewed with Texas-grown dewberries and introduced in 2020[12]

Previously offered beersEdit

  • Shiner Old-Time Alt – Was available in Shiner Family Packs (1 bottle per 6-pack) and was the first in the "Brewer's Pride" Limited Edition series.
  • Shiner Ryes & Shine – A rye lager; was available in Shiner Family Packs (1 bottle per 6-pack) and was the second in the "Brewer's Pride" Limited Edition series.
  • Smokehaus – Spoetzl's smoked 'sommer' beer is brewed with pale malt that's been smoked with native mesquite. Smokehaus has an alcohol content of 4.89 percent by volume and an IBU of 16.
  • Fröst – Shiner Fröst uses two-row malted barley, malted wheat and Munich malt for a full bodied flavor. Hallertau Tradition and Spalter select hops contribute to the aroma. Fröst has an alcohol content of 5.5% by volume, a bitterness of 25 IBU and color of 8 SRM.
  • Dortmunder – Spring Ale Dortmunder Style has the malt profile of a Helles, the hop character of a Pils, but is slightly stronger than both. The brew is a renamed version of Shiner Fröst, and was released as the new Spring seasonal in 2011.[13]
  • Shiner Wild Hare Pale Ale – A classic American pale ale brewed with Munich malt with U.S. Golding and Bravo hop varieties.
  • Shiner Hefeweizen

Anniversary celebrationEdit

Shiner's Centennial celebration beers

In 2005, Spoetzl began producing an annual brew in a progressive, anticipatory celebration of its 2009 centennial anniversary. The centennial program developed and produced one yearly special beer in small batches. The name of each such specialty beer corresponds to the age of the brewery: Shiner 96 was the specialty beer of 2005, Shiner 97 for 2006, and so forth. For the first two years, Spoetzl brewed Shiner 96 and Shiner 97 only from September through mid-December. In 2007, Shiner 98 was released four months earlier – in May – while Shiner 99 (2008) entered the market another two months earlier, in March.

Shiner 100 had the longest run of all the anniversary beers, seeing production all year long in 2009. After each beer's specified production run has ended, that year's beer is retired. However, Shiner 97 proved to be so popular that in 2008 Spoetzl brought the beer back as Shiner Bohemian Black Lager and made it a permanent offering. The Spoetzl Brewery originally intended to conclude its centennial beer production in 2009, but decided to continue the annual program indefinitely.

For 2009, Spoetzl changed the neck label for all their beers. The labels proclaimed Spoetzl's 100th anniversary and include the tag line "Here's to a century of independent brewing. Prosit!"

The annual brews and their respective styles are:

Shine OnEdit

Shine On & a 6-pack of Shiner 100 at the Spoetzl Brewery

Shine On is a coffee table book by Dallas author Mike Renfro, which documents the Little Brewery's history in photos as well as story. The book follows the brewery from 1909 to 2008. In addition to the history on the brewery, Shine On also includes the history of the town, as well as a look at some of the people responsible for making Shiner beer.


Working with their Austin-based advertising agency, McGarrah Jessee, Shiner's guerilla marketing efforts at the Austin City Limits Music Festival have consistently promoted their brand.[14] In 2010, the company created the "Shiner Beer Local Stage", which featured a two-day lineup of local bands performing on a custom stage constructed under two billboards near Zilker Park. 2012 saw the creation of a beer garden, complete with a replica of the Spoetzl brewery facade.[15]

In popular cultureEdit

In 2012, country artist Jason Aldean changed a reference to Shiner Bock a few weeks after releasing the song "Take a Little Ride". The original lyric, "grab a little Shiner Bock" was replaced with "grab a couple Rocky Tops" when Aldean signed a sponsorship contract with Coors.[16]



  1. ^ a b Gambrinus; Gambrinus company website; accessed June 2016
  2. ^ Shiner website
  3. ^ "Shiner Introduces Limited-Edition Shiner 96 Commemorative Brew; Texas' Oldest Independent Brewery(R) Celebrates 96 Years of Brewing Tradition". www.allbusiness.com. Retrieved 2009-08-31. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Spoetzl Brewery"; Handbook of Texas online; accessed June 2016
  5. ^ a b c d "Shiner Bock: Texas’ Favorite Beer And Oldest Independent Brewery"; December 21, 2012; Huffington Post; accessed June 2014
  6. ^ "Doppelbock". German Beer Institute. 2006. Archived from the original on 22 October 2010. Retrieved 7 October 2010.
  7. ^ a b Interview with Spoetzl Brewmaster; Drink Nation article;
  8. ^ Spoetzl Brewery tour. March 20, 2009.
  9. ^ Gubbins, Teresa (2012-06-22). "New Shiner beer, Prickly Pear, on the Market in Limited Supply". www.pegasusnews.com. Retrieved 2014-02-26. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ Beer description on the label. Spoetzl Brewery. October 26, 2008.
  11. ^ "Sea Salt & Lime". Shiner. Retrieved 2020-05-31.
  12. ^ "Weisse N Easy". Shiner. Retrieved 2020-05-31.
  13. ^ Poling, Travis E. (2010-12-29). "Poling, Travis, ″Bottle & Tap″, ''San Antonio Current''. 12/29/2010". Sacurrent.com. Retrieved 2014-02-26. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ Ken Wheaton (2008-10-15). "Shiner Outfoxes Heineken at Austin City Limits Music Fest". Ad Age. Retrieved 2014-02-26. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ Brian Gaar (2010-10-16). "McGarrah-Jessee builds Texas brands with advertising and more". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved 2014-02-26. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ "Jason Aldean Changes Song Lyrics To Accomodate [sic] Beer Sponsorship « The New Bull@100.3". Kilt.cbslocal.com. 2012-07-25. Retrieved 2014-02-26. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 29°26′01″N 97°10′02″W / 29.433674°N 97.167227°W / 29.433674; -97.167227