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Clearing the air about some Texas tall tales

By: Scooter Hendon  |  09/30/2011

Clearing the air about some Texas tall tales

Lone Star is the National Beer of Texas.

If you listen to advertising slogans, you’d think that “drinking any other beer is treason,” but the real story is quite the opposite. Truth is, Lone Star is still brewed in Texas. However, it isn’t brewed at the famous San Antonio brewery that many remember. In fact, the old brewery hasn’t brewed beer since 1996. Now, Miller Brewing in Fort Worth brews Lone Star under contract of Illinois-based Pabst Brewing Company.

Does that sound very Texan? Unfortunately, it hasn’t been for quite some time. After trading hands with Washington state-owned brewing companies since 1976, it finally landed in the hands of Pabst in 1999. In other words, the money you spend on Lone Star goes to an out-of-state company and the company that brews it is based in South Africa (SABMiller) and may soon be acquired by international brewing behemoth ABInBev. What’s Texan about that?

Also, don’t let billboards and signage fool you, Lone Star is not some kind of Texas-exclusive product. Heck, I had a friend order one in New York City. It’s all over the country. Drink what tastes good and is authentically Texan, not what a false marketing campaign tells you.

Shiner is owned by a foreign and/or non-Texan company.

I’ve heard this one thrown out by some folks before, and the thought that the Spoetzl Brewery is owned by some far-off entity (like Lone Star) is not true. What is true is that it is owned by the Gambrinus Company, which is based in San Antonio. Given, Gambrinus was founded by Carlos Alvarez, a Mexican national, and originally served as an importer/distributor for Grupo Modelo. However, the business that actually owns and runs the operation in Shiner is still in Texas. Gambrinus purchased Spoetzl in 1989 from a group of investors, so Shiner’s independence has been long gone. However, their slogan still holds true that “Every drop of Shiner is brewed in Shiner.”

As a side note, Gambrinus also owns Bridgeport Brewing in Oregon whose beers are also available in Texas.

Zeigenbock is real Texas beer.

This one is laughable, and unfortunately, most people find Zeigenbock and Shiner Bock interchangeable. Understand this: If you’re in any way proud of Texas products and being a Texan, please avoid Zeigenbock. Created by Anheuser-Busch as a “category killer” to directly compete with Shiner Bock, Zeigenbock is about as authentically Texan as John Wayne and the Chilean flag. Don’t let a big beer company come here and try and convince people it’s selling some kind of authentic product to Texans when they’re simply charading a dumbed-down version of Michelob Amber Bock to you. There is a bountiful amount of true Texas choices to land on before choosing this fake-local sham.

You can’t afford to drink Texas craft beer.

I hear this one from a lot of drinkers of Bud Light/Miller Lite/Coors Light, and it’s certainly not true. Nobody is telling you to completely abandon your bulk beer. Just mix in something tasty and Texan every now and again. If you can afford a $10 12-pack of Miller twice a week, you can afford a $7.99 sixer of Firemans #4 now and again. Or Fancy Lawnmower. Or any other host of Texas beers that come in around $8 for a six pack. Saint Arnold, Real Ale, Rahr, Southern Star, Shiner and Independence all sell various six packs for at or below $8 a sixer for their year-round offerings.

Additionally, look for specials; and if you shop at somewhere like Costco or Sam’s Club, keep your eye out. Some now sell six packs (I’ve bought a six of Firemans #4 for just over $6 at a Sam’s recently) and many will sell cases of craft beer. Some Sam’s Clubs in the DFW area even sell the Rahr Pahrty Packs for $24.98. Heck, for barely over a buck a beer, you can’t beat that. And it’s something good. Quit looking for excuses.

Drinking Texas craft beer makes you less of a man.

This might be the dumbest one out of all, yet I hear it from people all the time. It’s a small-minded way of thinking, and largely comes from marketing over the years. “Man up to great taste,” “Man laws,” and “The King of Beers” are just a few slogans over the years that have promoted Bud, Miller and Coors products as masculine (and quite deftly). Not to mention the endless parade of half-naked ladies on promo products and the insinuation that if you drink a certain beer, chicks will dig you, big beer has sold an image.

Craft beer, by contrast, typically doesn’t have these things. Craft brewers tend to be smaller operations with little money to spend on advertising, much less big slogans with large-breasted women. Instead, by focusing on creating a quality product rather than trying to convince you that the beer is good for every reason BUT the actual taste of the beer, craft beers are somehow seen as less manly.

You know as well as anyone that this is dumb and makes no sense. Much less, why would drinking a product of (typically) higher alcohol volume and bolder flavor make you less of a man?


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