Yeah, I was bitching just yesterday about how Texas' archaic beer laws are holding back Texas' craft brewers and making it hard to grow their businesses. Thankfully, however, some Texas brewers are swimming against that tide and expanding nonetheless. Just imagine how well they could do if our laws were more like those of California or Oregon.
Here's a press release from my favorite Houston brewer (glad to see that note about the popularity of Weedwacker — that is an absolutely marvelous beer, and I want to continue seeing on store shelves. If you haven't tried it yet, hunt some down):
HOUSTON, July 27, 2011 – Saint Arnold Brewing Company (www.saintarnold.com), the oldest craft brewery in Texas, today reported record first half production of more than 17,000 barrels of beer. The Houston brewery is due to expand production in the second half of 2011 with the addition of four 240-barrel fermenters to keep pace with increasing demand throughout Texas and Louisiana.
Overall, shipments from the brewery were up 22 percent with the brewhouse limited by fermentation capacity for much of the period. Sales of Saint Arnold brand beers were up 50 percent from the same period in 2010 at the distributor level as distributor inventories were depleted severely. Shipments related to the brewery’s brands that are sold primarily at BJ’s restaurants decreased as the brewery shifted more of its capacity to its Saint Arnold brands. By market, sales of Saint Arnold in San Antonio surged 102 percent over the same period in 2010, followed by Dallas/Fort Worth, up 66 percent. Houston was up 51 percent, while Austin was up 44 percent.
“We are seeing a long-term shift in people’s perceptions of what beer is and what beer can be,” said Brock Wagner, Founder/Brewer of Saint Arnold Brewing. “People in their 20s and 30s now expect a wide spectrum of flavor and diversity from their beers and they get it from Saint Arnold and other craft beers.”
Production % Growth
2011 (1st Half) 17,018 barrels 22 percent
31,445 barrels 22 percent
25,710 barrels 13 percent
22,749 barrels 28 percent
17,811 barrels 30 percent
The big surprise of the first half was the enthusiasm for Saint Arnold Weedwacker, which was introduced as a year-round beer during the second quarter. Early sales of Weedwacker have rivaled Saint Arnold’s top-seller Saint Arnold Fancy Lawnmower Beer.
The first half of 2011 has also been notable for Saint Arnold’s efforts to promote community. The recent Feast of Saint Arnold Week raised $15,000 for Texas Children’s Hospital IBD Clinic, the brewery’s team in the BP MS 150 raised more than $262,000 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the brewery donated $10,000 from the sale of Saint Arnold Elissa IPA to support the preservation of the 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA.
About Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Saint Arnold Brewing's ten brews are made and sold by the company’s staff of 32 dedicated employees. The brewery was listed by USA Today as one of the “10 great places to see what’s brewing in beer,” and Smart Meetings magazine named it among the “Top 5 breweries to host an event.” Saint Arnold is located at 2000 Lyons Avenue and its brewery tour and tasting is offered every weekday at 3:00 P.M. and Saturdays starting at 11 A.M. For more information on Saint Arnold's five year-round and five seasonal beers as well as root beer, log on to www.saintarnold.com.