City of San Antonio Economic Development

The Culture of Business

San Antonio’s Beer Industry is Becoming Stronger, You Might Even Say its Turning From a Light to a Lager.

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Craft Beers: Photo Courtesy of Nuvo.net

San Antonio’s beer industry is booming. While larger beer producers are building offices in San Antonio, smaller, craft breweries are expected to double in the city by the end of next year and with the help of biotechnology, the craft beer industry will be competing on another level entirely.

Breweries such as Busted Sandal, Alamo Beer Co. and Branchline Brewing Co. are just two of seven breweries that are planned to open over the next two years. These openings pave the way for San Antonio to compete with the craft brewery mecca of Texas, which is Austin. Austin houses more than 12 breweries and brewpubs while, as of now, San Antonio houses just six.

All of this news comes after the Texas Legislature voted in favor of allowing brewpubs to sell their own, independent beer on the premises. Brewpubs, like its name suggests, are pubs that brew their own beer onsite while still allowing patrons to sit and consume the beer on their property. Before the newly passed series of bills, brewpubs could not sell beer to-go but now are allowed to distribute bottled beer to customers as long as they stay under the previously allotted annual limit.

While these new bills have provided growth for already established breweries, a new, different brewing company by the name of “Alamo Yeast Labs”  has also recently opened for business in San Antonio. Alamo Yeast Labs provides a service that only 4 others in the U.S. offer and as of now it will be the first in Texas. Their goal is to combine biotechnology with the art of brewing to improve the brewing process and to create a better craft beer. Simply put, their changing the game.

Sena Rayos, who is the President of the company, once worked for a Biotechnology company herself in Austin, where she came up with the idea. According to Rayos “Brewing encompasses many aspects of science: biochemistry, microbiology, engineering, chemistry, by understanding the science behind brewing, I think many people will appreciate all the hard work and thinking that goes behind making that bottle of craft beer.”

Rayos went on in her press release to tell why she chose San Antonio to be home for her business, “San Antonio is a great place to start this business because the craft beer culture is really starting to take off” She said. “The people in San Antonio have been overwhelmingly supportive and I think that’s what makes SA stand out and possible for me to start this company.”

Biotechnology is one of San Antonio’s prime industries and an industry, it seems,  that has exponential uses.

While Alamo Yeast Labs has announced the opening of their first brewery, the already established Alamo Beer Company is on track for the creation of a 1.69 acre microbrewery downtown at the intersection of Lamar and North Cherry St. Because it would be a microbrewery it would have the right to brew and distribute up to 75,000 barrels annually. Although, unlike a brewpub, it would not have the authority to distribute and sell beer on the premises. Alamo beer company has expressed the idea of a restaurant/beergarden opened on the rooftop of the brewery in order to sell their beer to patrons. To avoid legal complications the restaurant would be owned by a third party and be leased by Alamo.

Microbreweries are smaller-scale breweries but can also be seen as a tourist venue, with some people driving from different cities to enjoy a good, local craft beer.

Larger-scale companies see San Antonio as a thriving market too it seems, Constellation Brands inc. (NYSE: STZ and STZ.B), which includes such popular imported beer names as Corona Extra, Modelo, Pacifico and much more, have decided to establish a management office in San Antonio to house their new operations upon buying the Mexican brewery Compañia Cervecera de Coahuila adding imports to the list of beers that San Antonio helps produce.

So it must be true, beer business is booming in San Antonio.

Alex Raisch

Economic Development Intern, City of San Antonio

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One comment on “San Antonio’s Beer Industry is Becoming Stronger, You Might Even Say its Turning From a Light to a Lager.

  1. Zac Harris
    June 27, 2013

    Great job covering a great industry.
    Have you seen us yet ? http://www.MonksToolbox.com
    We are a local startup at Geedom that is focused on crafting apps for the craft beer industry. We are happy to talk craft beer anytime. We also host Fermented Friday every Friday here at Geedom so come on by and see us! http://www.FermentedFriday.com. Spread the word!
    – Zac Harris
    Chief Monk

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This entry was posted on June 19, 2013 by in Uncategorized.

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