BEER BASH // SHINER STYLE
BYLINE: David Vance
PUBLICATION: The Austin American-Statesman
Shiner: it's not just a trendy Texas beer anymore. As beer label readers know, the
unofficial brew of Austinites and others around the state (sorry, Lone Star) has its
namesake town, and lately, its own music festival. The small South Texas hamlet about
90 minutes southeast from Austin is home to the Spoetzl Brewery, which celebrates its
90th anniversary on Saturday with the Sixth Annual Bocktoberfest concert.
Kosmos Spoetzl began brewing beer there in 1914, five years after the brewery
opened. A character and a promoter, he celebrated the end of Prohibition in 1933 by
hiring a bicyclist to ride around town carrying a pony keg. Since then, the brewery has
been sold out of the Spoetzl family, Shiner's distribution area and cache have grown
unabated, and the wacky promotions have gotten wildly larger, though maybe no more
Ah, but you like the haughty hops, the gnarly barley by themselves you say? No quarrel
here, but apparently Shiner thinks we need mobile kegs, seasonal specialties and a
commercial concert to enjoy our beer. Well, if they're going to go to the trouble, who are
we to stop them? Hopefully, the beer will be good and the music loud. So who cares
that the concert, begun in 1994 and known then as the "Thanks a Million" concert, is
being touted as part of a tie-in with Shiner's largest-ever consumer promotion.
Did we say tie-in? Holy Kreuz! There's a tie-in all right. The tie- in comes complete with
an Internet contest, "on premise," "off premise" and "point-of-sale"
cross-merchandising opportunities, and its own language, a marketing concoction
known as "Bocken Talken," whose chief proponents are a couple of commercial
Bavarians, the ad agency-inspired Hans and Hilda, who fall somewhere between Chris
Gaines and Mary Poppins. According to the pair, Hans and Hilda that is, if you are
"stocken bocken," be prepared for a "housen rocken," as you might soon start "hootzen
and hollerin'." Well, uh, OK Hilda, whatever you say.
However you say it, the beer's the thing. And the music. That's what you're "escaping"
for, and to.
For the beer. Authentic, Texas-original beer like Shiner Bock (Spoetzl Brewery is the
oldest independent brewery in the state). Specialty beer like Shiner Winter Ale, making
its "seasonal debut" at the festival.
To the music. Music from headliner Robert Earl Keen, from Austin- connected Marcia
Ball, Junior Brown, and George DeVore and the Roam. From El Pasoans Tito and
Tarantula, Houstonians The Hollisters and statewide Battle of the Bands contest winner
OK, maybe it helps that proceeds will benefit charity, and that a fireworks display will
finish off the festival Saturday night, but really, it's about the beer and the music, isn't it?
So it doesn't matter that the whole thing might seem a little commercial, and it doesn't
matter that you can't bring coolers, pets or cameras, because Shiner is most definitely
a Texas beer and a Texas town, and as part of the more than 30,000 concertgoers
expected this year you will see a musical lineup loaded with Texans, and a little town as
Texan as an immigrant named Kosmos.
Well, maybe a little bit German too, but now you know, as if you ever didn't, that Shiner,
like the T-shirts say, ain't just for breakfast anymore, and it's not just a trendy Texas
beer. It's part of our heritage -- authentic, commercial and all that goes with
When: Noon to 10:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Spoetzl Brewery, 603 East
Brewery St., Shiner
How Much: $20
Info: (800) 5- SHINER or www.shiner.com