The Brew-haha (Plus Other News and Events)
The Spoetzl Brewery, which is owned by San Antonio-based Gabrinus Company and produces the Shiner brand of beer, took a shot this week at Houston-based Karbach Brewing Co., which is owned by Anheuser-Busch Inbev, for what it feels is an invasion of its space.
On Wednesday, Spoetzl posted an open letter "to our friends in Shiner" on the Shiner Instagram. The letter responds to rumors about "three billboards and a concert sponsorship" that claim "There's a new Bock in Shiner."
That refers to Crawford Bock by Karbach, which Spoetzl said in the letter is "seeking to force its way into our town." The letter also alleges Crawford Bock tries "to imitate our iconic Shiner Bock."
"But it can try again," continues the letter. "It won't be the first time some local Texans faced unbelievable odds."
In response, Karbach and representatives for AB-Inbev told Houstonia that this issue stems from a sponsorship of the Shiner Music Fest, an annual event that took place Oct. 19 in Shiner.
“When the Shiner brand decided to no longer sponsor the Shiner Music Fest supporting the local Lions Club, we were given the opportunity to sponsor the event with dollars and merchandising as we do for many events across our 17 county footprint," said Jeffrey Wheeler, director of marketing for Del Papa Distributing, which distributes Karbach and other AB-Inbev products in Texas. David Graham, brand manager at Karbach, said Wheeler then called him to partner on their sponsorship, specifically by having the festival beer be Crawford Bock.
"The statements made by Shiner seem a little silly when you consider the truth," Wheeler told us. "The three billboards we placed in Shiner, Texas, simply promoted the event and included none of the verbiage described in the 'open letter.'"
A Karbach representative sent Houstonia a photograph of one of the billboards in question, which shows the Crawford Bock can along with the text "Come Join Us At Shiner Music Festival."
A representative for the Shiner brand told Houstonia that claims from Karbach and AB-Inbev are inaccurate, adding that Shiner did sponsor the festival (the Shiner Music Fest website shows Shiner beer as a sponsor). Moreover, the representative said that while she wasn't sure of the language of all three billboards, signage at the music festival promoting Crawford Bock read "There's a new Bock in town." The representative sent Houstonia a photograph showing the signage, though we can't republish it here because the photo credit is unknown.
The Shiner representative concluded that the perception of Karbach's actions amounts to "a PR stunt," and that the issue is playing out like a David vs. Goliath battle.
And that's what's going on with Shiner and Karbach.
In case you missed it, Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. has opened its new facility at Summer Street, which includes a restaurant, multiple tap areas, and a third level beer garden offering a view of the skyline, and this writer thinks it's a hit.
Hollerpalooza III (Holler Brewing's third birthday party) is 11 a.m. Saturday. Hear music from Quinn the Brain, Blood Red Sky, and Second Lovers, plus get special releases and merch.
Great Heights is celebrating its second-year anniversary party at 11 a.m. Nov. 16. Get new beers, plus a lot of older beers, glassware and can releases, live music, and more.
Spindletap's four-year anniversary party is scheduled for Nov. 23. Along with beer releases, there'll be live music, DJs, kids' activities, and more.
Saint Arnold has tapped a limited-release beer called Noble Haze. Yes, it's a hazy. It's available at the beer garden and restaurant, plus in some bars across the state and in Louisiana.
B-52's newest include GEODE 6.3 Orange Julius, a barrel-aegd saison with tangerine, orange, and vanilla beans; and GEODE 6.4 Tropical Sangria, a barrel-aged saison conditioned on passion fruit, pinot noir juice, and pineapple.