The “Lone Star State” is known for its famous BBQ, live country music, Tex-Mex, and hot temperatures. Nestled in the second largest state of the United States lies the historic Spoetzl Brewery right in Shiner, Texas. After 112 years of brewing, Shiner Bock still dominates as the #1 craft beer in Texas and is the fifth-largest craft brewery in the country. Spoetzl is the oldest independent brewery in the state of Texas.
In 1909, a group of Czech and German settlers founded the Shiner Brewing Association. Fast forward to 1914, German immigrant Kosmos Spoetzl migrated to the United States in search of a better climate. Before leaving Germany, Spoetzl had attended brewmaster school, where he learned his signature recipe using century-old Bavarian techniques made from pure malt and hops. The historic brewery even survived Prohibition, where they switched to the production of ice and a brew that was legal with less than 0.5 percent alcohol. After Kosmos’ death in the 1950s, his daughter took over and eventually sold the brewery in 1966. It has seen numerous changes since then, including new owners, different brewmasters, and a few name changes, but one thing has been consistent throughout, every drop of Shiner is proudly brewed in Shiner. The brewery is 100% family-owned and is a certified craft brewery by the Brewer’s Association. Most notably, Shiner beer bottles are twist-off caps which some would say is a detriment in the craft beer industry. However, head brewmaster Jimmy Mauric says “It’s simple. It’s so you can get the beer out.”
Heady Times had the chance to talk with Jimmy and discuss his history working with such a historic craft brewery.
Heady Times (HT): What’s your background?
Jimmy Mauric (JM): When I was 17 years old, I was in charge of the bottle washer because we had returnable beer bottles back then. I really enjoyed that job and it was a good fit for me. I then worked under brewmaster John Hybner for over 27 years. In 1992, I became Assistant Brewmaster and after John left in 2005, I became Head Brewmaster myself.
HT: Tell us about the beer.
JM: We started out with only one beer called Shiner Bock. Through the years, we’ve had numerous name changes to Shiner Premium, Shiner Blonde, then back to Premium. It didn’t become a year-round offering until 1978. Shiner Bock is our flagship beer and it really succeeded expectations. Since then we’ve crafted a whole array of beers, and now we offer all kinds of different styles. You name it. We’ve got it. We even experimented with kolsches, pilsners, IPAs, and seltzers.
HT: Can you talk about the recent expansion?
JM: Since our inception, the brewery has grown dramatically. In 2014, we introduced a new packaging line that allowed us to produce 1,200 bottles and 950 cans per minute. In addition, we were also to use a new automated robotic keg line. For being a craft brewer, we have some of the best technology out there. Since we added another brewhouse, we are doing close to 500,000 barrels with a capacity of 1.2 million. We are always looking to grow.
HT: Can you talk about the Heritage packages?
JM: We recently released a Shiner Bock Heritage Edition that brings back great memories for me after seeing the throw-back labels and graphics. We also released an old-style lager called 1909 which pays homage to our heritage. Again, we’ve been brewing beer for quite a long time. We were the original craft beer in Texas and these packages are a tribute to our history.
About Kramer Beverage
Kramer Beverage is South Jersey’s largest beer wholesaler, owned and operated by four generations of the Kramer family since 1924. Kramer Beverage is based out of Hammonton, Atlantic County, and services eight counties in southern New Jersey with top brands from MolsonCoors, Constellation, Yuengling, Boston Beer, Heineken USA, Pabst, Diageo, FIFCO, and more. Kramer Beverage also distributes a wide variety of craft beers, from suppliers such as New Belgium and Sierra Nevada, to local favorites including Flying Fish, Double Nickel, Evil Genius, Glasstown, and 2SP. For more information on Kramer Beverage, please visit www.kramerbev.com.