So after the group tour, Anne took the three of us on an extended private tour of the brewery. It was awesome getting to see the whole process up close. We got to see everything we viewed from afar upstairs; the bottles going in for filling, capping, labeling, and packaging.
Some cool production facts:
-They have 80 tanks for fermenting
-85% of their production is Shiner Bock
-They make 600,000 barrels a year
-635 bottles are filled a minute
-They produce 1000 kegs a day
-Less than 3% of the bottles are damaged in production
The brewery is very good about being economical and resourceful – if a bottle has a label error, it’s taken to be cleaned and then reused. If a bottle breaks in the process, the glass is kept and sent back to their manufacturer to be recycled. We got to see the bottle graveyard…rest in pieces…
Then we were taken to the packaging area, where the bottles are placed into 6 packs, then put into cases.
Then after a pallet of cases is ready, they are stacked and sent to get wrapped in shrink wrap for safe transporting.
Then we were taken to another section of the brewery where the kegs are produced and stored. It was a very happy place.
The kegs are highly monitored for quality and quantity standards, and once they’re up to par, are sent to packaging and meet the shrink wrap machine too. Anne was telling us how they used to do that part by hand and it was very time consuming, as one can imagine. They would also play around sometimes and a poor brewery employee would end up like a shrink wrapped mummy.
Then we wandered through the shipping/receiving area and headed back towards the gift shop. When guests are done with the tour, they’re given four wooden coins to trade for a small cup of their choice of brew. (don’t worry, they have kid-friendly options too!) So we perused the gift shop and picked up some goodies while enjoying a fresh taste of our favorite beers.
Then, we had a nice surprise – Anne had asked Jimmy, the current brewmaster, to come over and meet us! Jimmy was a pleasure to speak with…he’s been working at the Spoetzl Brewery since he was a teenager. He started at the bottom of the food chain and has steadily worked his way to becoming the brewmaster. That was such a great thing to hear – knowing that hard work pays off and now, he knows all the different aspects of the brewery from experience. He was such a kind man and after asking about any upcoming special brews, we were told of one that’s in the works. I won’t spill the beans, but folks, it sounds amazing!
Jimmy then introduced us to an awesome man named T-Bone, the shipping supervisor. He directed us to bring our car around to the loading area for a special treat. Let’s just say we had several extra passengers for the drive home!
Fun fact: You’ll see a cute little white house on the property too – this is where Cecile Spoetzl, Kosmos’ daughter also known as “Miss Celie”, lived while she ran the brewery after her father’s death.
Then we went back inside to finish our sampling and relaxed in the hospitality room, where they show a video about the history of the brewery. There’s also this cool artwork on the wall, featuring Kosmos Spoetzl wearing that purple and green tie!
We went outside to take some more photos and finally had to say goodbye to the lovely town of Shiner. (I really want one of those benches, by the way!)
Thank you again to everyone we encountered on our trip – yall made it a truly unforgettable experience! An extra special thanks to Anne, Jimmy, and T-Bone: your generosity, kindness, and obvious love of Shiner beers has not gone unnoticed. I hope to visit yall again in the future! Prosit!