BYLINE: David Vance
  DATE: 10-14-1999
  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