Adaptations That Excite Shiner Today, 115 Years Into Business

Photo courtesy Shiner Beers

This is a continuing series highlighting the oldest craft brewery in each state with members of the organization that helped build the brand. Brewer Magazine will share business and personal insights each Monday to help learn how these veterans of the industry have grown.

Nick Weiland, Shiner Brand Director, Spoetzl Brewery/Shiner Beer — Shiner, Texas

Date the brewery opened: 1909
What beers were tapped on opening day? Shiner Premium Lager

BREWER: Why did the brewery open in the first place? What was your biggest “Year 1” struggle?
WEILAND: The brewery was opened by German and Czech immigrants in Shiner, texas because they didn’t have any other way of getting the styles of beers they were accustomed to from their homelands. They found an excellent source of water, set up a communal brewery on the site, and the Shiner Brewing Association was formed.

BREWER: Go ahead, pat yourself on the back; what was one of the key “good ideas” that were had early on which help drive growth or sustainability to the brewery?
WEILAND: After founding, the next big idea was to recruit a professionally trained brewmaster, which was done in 1914 as Kosmos Spoetzl, who was a classically trained brewer from Bavaria, Germany was brought in to perfect the Brewing Association’s methods. Kosmos did just that and more, taking on ownership of the brewery which was to become known as K. Spoetzl Brewery.

BREWER: OK, now admit a defeat; what was a decision or a circumstance that hurt the brewery? How did you solve that issue or find your way through it?
WEILAND: The biggest early defeat for K. Spoetzl Brewery was Prohibition. While Kosmos made ice and near beer to stay afloat, he also ended up accused of bootlegging and spent 90 days behind bars.

BREWER: What excites you in your brand (be it liquid, equipment, strategies or something else) this year and how did you decide to pursue this avenue?
WEILAND: Fast forward to today and the next big thing coming out of Shiner, Texas is actually not beer at all. In 2023, we christened the K. Spoetzl Distillery and have already opened up distribution to our first market in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, with more distribution expansion planned for 2025!

Photos adorn the K. Spoetzl Brewery taproom in Shiner, Texas.

BREWER: Being a veteran company in the craft beer industry, what “words of wisdom” do you like to share when a new brewery owner approaches?
WEILAND: My words of wisdom are always to find the thing that works for you. There are a lot of different ways to be successful in this business but you’ve got to be true to what makes your brewery and your brand unique.

BREWER: What has been your brewery’s most recent accomplishment and how is it going to improve your business going forward?
WEILAND: Shiner’s most recent accomplishment is a re-launch of its two flagship beers — Shiner Bock and Shiner Light Blonde. Both brands have gone through design updates to modernize their appearance and increase the connection to our independent Texas roots. Along with this, we have new ad campaigns designed to reinforce that same message, Shiner Light Blonde: How Texas Does Light, and Shiner Bock: It’s a Texas Thing.

BREWER: What are some adaptations to business practices in the industry that you’ve observed over these past few years, and how has your brewery adjusted to stay competitive?
WEILAND: Given the somewhat remote location of Shiner, Texas, we historically were never able to tap into the trend of drawing consumers to our taproom, however, through many investments in our facility, that has changed! K. Spoetzl Brewery has not only been recognized by USA Today as the No. 1 brewery tour in Texas (and a Top 10 tour nationally), our visitor numbers are at record heights. With a world-class brewery visitor experience, our new distillery and spirits tastings, a range of beers and cocktails on tap, as well as a new on-site BBQ restaurant, we are drawing people to Shiner, Texas from all of the state, country, and world! We’re really proud of what we’ve put together in Shiner and are doing everything possible to get the word out.

Photo courtesy Shiner Beers

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