One of Texas’s most sought after exports is finally landing in the Big Apple. On April 15, Shiner Beer will begin flowing from taps in New York City. Shiner posted this announcement on its Twitter last week:
After 104 years, Shiner Beer is coming to New York. Prosit!
— ShinerBeer (@ShinerBeer) April 11, 2013
Shiner stated that their amber brew will be served on tap and in bottles in all five boroughs as well as in a handful of upstate New York counties. The Northeast was one of the few remaining regions in the country that didn’t have distribution for the flagship bock or any of the other beers made by the Spoetzl Brewery, according to Culturemap Houston. The six New England states will also soon serve Shiner, leaving Oregon and Idaho as the only states without our ambrosial bock.
The Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas is the oldest independent brewery in the Lone Star state and it’s the fourth-largest craft brewery in the nation. In December—four months before Shiner made their announcement—the Huffington Post spoke out about how desperately New Yorkers need this Texas staple. “So, why do we love it so much? It’s sort of hard to explain,” wrote Rebecca Orchant. “Shiner is just great drinking beer. It goes perfectly with barbecue, has a deep, malty flavor but never feels overpowering or heavy.”
In case you don’t realize how important this import is for New Yorkers, the venerable New York Times wrote about Shiner kegs being tapped at Hill Country Barbecue Market in Manhattan, the first location in the city to have the beer available for sale. The restaurant’s owner, Marc Glosserman, had been pestering Shiner since 2007 to bring their beer north. “I really wanted to bring from Texas certain iconic brands, things you couldn’t get in New York,” said Glosserman.
In New York, Shiner serves as a salve for homesick Texans or else it’s an exotic taste of the unknown for native New Yorkers. Glosserman told the Times that he received up to 30 customer requests a day for Shiner. “Half of our guests are either from Texas, have lived in Texas, or know people in Texas,” he said. “It’s symbolic of Texas.”
Some Texas expats living in New York will surely rejoice at the sight of the iconic yellow ram-headed label. But to be fair—while excellent—the beer isn’t the only game in town. “I prefer Lone Star, but Shiner’s OK,” one Texan-turned-Broolynite named Justin Storms told Texas Monthly. “I‘ve been coming across Lone Star more and more these days when visiting bars in [Brooklyn]”—the ones that “have a honky-tonk feel.” “I also had it this weekend at a local barbecue place,” Storms said.
New Yorkers recently started getting the big idea that they can smoke meat, which is, well, adorable. Having Shiner at hand to wash down their Yankee briskets may just reinforce that idea, but hey, who could blame them for wanting to ape one of Texas’s best commodities?
It seems New York has taken an ever-increasing interest in Texas treats, and Shiner is a good ambassador for Texans’ attention to craft and quality. We are a generous people who are happy to share our bounty, but if New Yorkers start importing Blue Bell ice cream or Whataburger, we might just get our feathers ruffled.