Lone Star Brewing Company
|Headquarters||Woodridge, Illinois, United States|
|Owner(s)||Pabst Brewing Company|
The Lone Star Brewery, built in 1884, was the first large, mechanized brewery in Texas. Adolphus Busch, of Anheuser-Busch, founded it along with a group of San Antonio businessmen. The castle-like building now houses the San Antonio Museum of Art. Lone Star beer was the company's main brand. It was marketed as "The National Beer of Texas." In 2000, the brewery was closed. Production of Lone Star is currently contracted out to non-Pabst owned breweries (e.g. Miller Brewing Company in Fort Worth). The Lone Star name is used in the Philippines under license to Asia Brewery for a brand of light beer.
The original Lone Star Bottling Works opened in San Antonio in the 1890s and by 1903 was selling 65,000 barrels of beer annually. With the end of Prohibition in 1933, a new Lone Star brewery was built under new owners. The plant first produced beer under the Sabinas brand name and then the name Champion beer. In 1940, the name Lone Star was first used to market a beer from the brewery. The brewery also produced Lone Star Light, low-calorie Lime Lager (1970) & Brut Super Premium (1969).
It wasn't until 1940 that brewer Peter Kreil from Munich created the formula for the first beer to actually be called Lone Star beer. In 1949, under the leadership of Harry Jersig, Lone Star went public. By 1960, the brewery had 651 employees and by 1965, annual sales exceeded 1 million barrels.
Detroit-based Stroh Brewery Co. then bought Heileman and closed the San Antonio brewery in 1996 moving beer production to Longview, Texas and signaling the end of San Antonio as a major brewing town. Milwaukee-based Pabst bought most of the Stroh brands, including Lone Star, in 1999, and began brewing Lone Star at the San Antonio Pearl Brewery to great fanfare. In 2000, the Pearl Brewery was closed because it was outdated and would have been too expensive to continue to operate or to bring up to date. Production of Lone Star is currently contracted out to non-Pabst owned breweries (e.g. Miller Brewing Company in Fort Worth).
In 1956 the Lone Star Brewery purchased the Buckhorn Saloon & Museum collection. Harry Jersig, President of the brewery and a friend of the Friedrich’s, continued to add to the collection and had a special building erected on the Lone Star grounds to house the collection.
In the '70s, Lone Star's sales benefited from Jerry Retzloff, former marketing and promotions manager for Lone Star Beer and his close association with Willie Nelson, the Austin music scene and their Giant Armadillo. The beer is mentioned frequently in the title track of Red Steagall's 1976 album "Lone Star Beer and Bob Wills Music". In 1999, the company began to sponsor Texas singers and musicians, such as Two Tons of Steel, with the beer's "It's a Texas Thing" advertising campaign.
The 1933 brewery smokestack has become an iconic landmark in San Antonio. It is prominently visible from Interstate 10 and is used in daily traffic reports as a relative traffic indicator. The brewery has been vacant since 1996 and was recently purchased by B. Knightly Development & Construction for a mixed use urban renewal project including an extension of the River Walk along the river to where it connects with The Lone Star Brewery complex. The B. Knightly plan includes preserving the original architecture, the iconic smokestack and historic landmark status for the brewery.
Due to similarites, it is believed that Alamo Beer pictured in the television series 'King of the Hill' is an homage to Lone Star.
Actor and Country Singer Christian Kane references Lone Star Beer in his song, American Made.
Lone Star Beer is a central theme of the one-act play "Lone Star" by James McLure.
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (March 2009)|
- Lone Star Beer - Lone Star's Official Site
- Pabst Brewing Company - Current owner of the Lone Star brands.
- 1958 Brewery tour
- The ruins of Lone Star's second brewery
- Photos of Lone Star Hall of Horns circa 1996
- Solutions to Puzzle Caps
- The Lone Star Brewery B. Knightly Development and Construction's website for revitalization of the second brewery.
- The Beer That Made Armadillos Famous