'Prosit To Shiner' - Another Everyday Journey

Published in the La Vernia News on April 2, 2015

'Prosit' to Shiner !

Welcome to Shiner

     The town of Shiner, Texas, population just over 2,000, was founded in1887, and has been surviving long before any of us were born. The fact that we had never visited was just enough reason for us to plan a trip to this small Texas town.

   It was a beautiful warm, blue-sky, billowy-white clouds, February day. The 70-mile drive from the LaVernia area, through Gonzales and along Highway 90A to Shiner, was scenic and quite peaceful. On the way to Shiner, we saw some Texas Longhorns grazing along the roadway, numerous pump jacks bringing liquid black gold out of the ground, and just outside Shiner we came upon the Fort Bend County Vaqueros Trail Riders - a perfect introduction to this quaint little town.

Opera House

    Shiner got its name from Mr. H. B. Shiner, who in 1889, donated 250 acres of land for a train depot for the new San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad. In those days, rail service usually meant prosperity for the towns along its route. Shiner quickly grew as a trade center for Czech and German farmers, but one thing was missing - good beer. 

    In 1909, a group of these immigrants formed the Brewing Association, but it wasn’t until 1914 that the Association found a trained brew master. He was Bavarian-born Kosmos Spoetzl, who was living in San Antonio at the time. Armed with his family recipe for a Bavarian beer made with malted barley and hops and a promise from the Brewery Association of an ownership stake in the brewery, he moved to Shiner and Spoetzl Brewery was born. Kosmos held the position of Brew Master for fifty years. Today, it is the oldest independently owned brewery in the State of Texas.

Everyday Journeys

  Harry and Linda Kaye Perez

     In 1989, Carlos Alvarez, a San Antonio businessman, acquired the brewery. Unlike Kosmos, who wanted to keep the business small and simple and within 70 miles of the brewery, Alvarez increased production, nearly tripling it over the next ten years, making it a national brand. Shiner Beer is now distributed to 49 states and is the fifth largest craft brewery and tenth largest overall brewery in the United States.

Spoetzl Brewery

      Since 1917, the flagship beer of Spoetzl Brewery has been Shiner Bock and it accounts for 73% of all the beer brewed here. Other beers include Bohemian Black Lager, Prickly Pear, Ruby Redbird and White Wing. Seasonal brews include Holiday Cheer, Oktoberfest and Birthday Cheer. And, yes, there is even one named Shiner Kosmos (of course).

       Tours are offered Monday through Friday at 11:00 AM and 1:30 PM during the winter and 10:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 1:30 PM and 2:30 PM during the summer. The tour is free and includes a tasting of different brews offered at Spoetzl Brewery.

       On our way into town, we happened onto the Licorice and Lemon Drops Old Fashioned Candy Shop. For anyone with a sweet tooth, this is paradise.

      In the old downtown area there is also a magnificent Opera House. Construction began for this stately building on September 12, 1895 and was completed in December that same year. The first event held there was the Shiner Fireman’s Ball.

      Sadly, the Opera House underwent many changes in the past 120 years; at one time was converted to an apartment house and a then a warehouse. But it has now been restored to its former glory and emerged as the Shiner Gaslight Dinner Theatre. This 138-seat theatre, staffed entirely by volunteers, presents four theatrical productions each year. We were told by the lady behind the counter at the candy store: “Best to get you tickets the same day they go on sale, or you will be disappointed.”  Their spring production is the comedy, Never Too Late.

        The hardy spirit and tenacity of the people who immigrated to the central Texas is one reason why many towns like Shiner survived through the years. We are so glad it did.    

Vaqueros Trail Ride

Vaqueros Trail Ride to Shiner on a sunny afternoon

Opera House Lobby

Opera House Lobby

Old Brew Kettle

Old Brew Kettle

Find Out More

Spoetzl Brewery                                   603 East Brewery Street,                     Shiner, TX 77984                              361-594-2079                       www.shiner.com

Licorice and Lemon Drops Old Fashioned Candy Shop                                        1509 N. Avenue E, Shiner, TX  77984 (361) 594-8481

Shiner Gaslight Dinner Theatre            207 E. 7th Street
Shiner, TX 77984
    (361) 594-2079 www.Shinergaslight.org


This was another Everyday Journey for us. As freelance writers we wonder around the planet looking for new adventures. Together we share a passion for traveling and writing, and discovering the very best in all corners of the world. Ah, what world it is!

Harry and Linda kaye

   © Harry Perez 2012