The Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner has been knocking a lot of beer styles out of the park in recent years, but not everything can be a winner from a marketing or style standpoint with consumers.
Shiner Light has been on the market for several years now, but at 120 calories it just wasn’t light enough to compete with beers spending massive marketing dollars to convince you that somehow a beer with 64 or 55 calories is going to keep the lonjas off.
Just in time for warming temperatures in Texas, Shiner is coming out with a lighter beer called Shiner Light Blonde. The 99-calorie beer is riffing off the success of Shiner Blonde, which old-timers remember as Shiner Premium.
While the marketing riffs are new, this is the same brew that was introduced as Shiner Spezial Leicht in 2008. I recall a bit of a cornflake and butter character, but taking the Czech route on the name is more likely what kept light beer consumers away. That kind of thing tends to go over better with craft drinkers, who would rather drink water than light beer.
I hope it works out for them this time around if it helps finance brews like the anniversary series, including this year’s Shiner 102 Double Wheat and the Spring Ale.
Will summer’s Shiner Light Blonde mean the discontinuation of the mesquite-smoke helles Shiner Smokehaus? Given the love-it-or-hate-it nature of smoked beers in general, the brand may go on the backburner for now. As a smoked beer lover, it was often my beer of choice for getting smoked on the inside while getting smoked on the outside during a 12-hour session with brisket and pit.
Faust Brewing Co. in New Braunfels will have its official debut of the first beer made there in more than two years on March 17. As Irish luck would have it, Ray Mitteldorf made small batches of Irish Stout and Irish Red ales that are expected to run out quickly.
Next up will be bigger batches of some brews with a German flare, including an alt and a schwarzbier, that could become staples for the brewery. I’ve had a bottle of each from test batches and both are tasty examples of the style.
Freetail Brewing will reintroduce its Danny Mijo ale and the naturally green spirulina wit for St. Patrick’s Day. The algae doesn’t make it quite shamrock green, but it tastes better than food coloring.
Travis E. Poling writes about beer weekly for the Current and is author of Beer Across Texas: A Guide to Brews and Brewmasters of the Lone Star State. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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