If you’ve been reading SATXtoday since our launch, you might recall our story on the history of the Pearl Brewery — check it out for a good Throwback Thursday. However, Pearl is not the only beer manufacturer to etch its name in the beverage tapestry of San Antonio.
With the “national beer of Texas” having deep roots in the Alamo City, it’s only appropriate to share the history of Lone Star Beer in honor of #DrinkUpWeek.
1884 — Original Brewery
Lone Star Brewery, the first large mechanized brewery in Texas, is built on Jones Avenue under the ownership of beer baron Adolphus Busch of Anheuser-Busch. The building featured two great towers, crenellated parapets, and outbuildings for copper + blacksmith shops, bottling facilities, stables, and railroad access.
1921 — A bit of a dry spell
After the adoption of Prohibition, the once thriving brewery is forced to cease operations. The building inevitably opens its doors to brief commercial endeavors like a cotton mill, ice factory, auto repair shop, and uniform storage business.
1933 — The Texan Beer Renaissance
Upon the ratification of the 21st Amendment, Lone Star Brewery opened a new complex along Mission Road. However, it wasn’t until 1940 that it produced Lone Star Beer due to a prolonged copyright acquisition. Approximately 39,000 barrels of beer were produced in the first year alone.
1956 — The Oldest Saloon in Texas
The brewery purchased the famous Buckhorn Saloon, displaying its impressive collection of exotic animal taxidermy. A separate facility was constructed to feature a hospitality and sampling room. The Buckhorn Saloon & Museum still stands today and remains a popular tourist attraction. Pro tip: see the rattlesnake rattles that were once accepted as currency for drinks.
1970 — From beer to Basquiat
The original Lone Star Brewery complex was acquired by the San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA) to house the museum association’s growing art collection (exceeding the capacity of the former Witte Memorial Museum).
1981 — A second chance
San Antonians are finally able to step foot inside the building once more following a $7.2 million renovation of the historic former brewery. Following the dissolution of the San Antonio Museum Association, SAMA became an independent nonprofit organization, housing over 5,000 years of culture + stories through art.
Present — What’s next?
Ever since the brewery closed in 1996, multiple offers have been brought forth to develop the area into a mixed-use development (similar to Pearl’s revitalization by Silver Ventures). While the future of the Mission Road complex seems uncertain, there is hope for future development plans with support from the City of San Antonio.