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Texas Independence Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program

Shiner


HANDCRAFTED HISTORY

Home of the oldest independent brewery in Texas, a Chamber of Commerce housed in a former cigar factory, and a historic church that was lifted off its foundation by a tornado, Shiner was established in 1887. Named for Henry B. Shiner, who donated land for the town site to the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad, the community grew as a trade center for Czech and German farmers. To meet their thirst for “the old country,” Shiner established a brewery in 1909 and hired Bavarian brewmaster Kosmos Spoetzl to make it authentic. His legacy survives in the Spoetzl Brewery name, and in handcrafted Shiner beer. The brewery is open weekdays for tours and tastings. 


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Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Sts. Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church began as a wood-frame structure in 1891. A year later, a twister moved it 11 feet off its foundation. The church was rebuilt, then replaced in 1921 with a Romanesque Revival style church constructed of red brick and cut stone. Designed by architect James Wahrenburger in the Romanesque Revival style, it features stained glass windows from Germany and a glorious, painted interior, including a mural of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane overlooking the altar.

Shiner’s secular heritage includes the 1895 former Ehlers Cigar Factory—now home to the Chamber of Commerce — which made the “Becky Brown,” “Katy Lee” and “Good Company” brands. More local history is found at the Edwin Wolters Memorial Museum in a 1915 former residence. Displays include an old-time country store, antique guns, furniture, utensils and Shiner memorabilia. In the mood for entertainment? Catch dinner and a play at the Gaslight Theatre. It’s located in the revitalized Shiner Opera House, the town’s social center from 1895 until 1927 and a warehouse for decades afterward. Thanks to a local nun, her drama students and community support, the theater was reborn in 1975.