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Old 11-17-2012, 04:21 AM   #1
estricklin
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Default My response from Shiner/Spoetzl Brewery

I recently tried to send a letter via snail mail to the Spoetzl Brewery about cloning their delicious Shiner Ruby Redbird seasonal beer, the discussion about this clone can be found in another thread. After searching for half an hour on the internet I sent the letter to what I thought was the correct address, only to find out a week later that it was only the physical address, apparently they have a P.O. box and don't want anyone contacting them via snail mail, so I would advise anyone that wants to, give up!!

I decided to send them an e-mail through the "contact us" option on their what I found to be poorly made website. The following is our correspondence:

"Hello, I have been trying like crazy to clone your Ruby Redbird Beer. Any information would be greatly appreicated, such as hop schedule, recomendation for lager yeast, FG, grapefruit juice ratio, anything!! The batches I made were great but not even close to what you guys brew!! I brew 5 gallon batches. Thanks in advance, Eric"

"Hi Eric, Thank you for your interest in Shiner Beers. We are very excited that you chose to use to clone Shiner Ruby Redbird. Because we are a privately owned company, any and all information is proprietary. We appreciate your understanding and wish you good luck with your home brewing. If you haven't already visited the Spoetzl Brewery, come and see us....we'll save a cold one for you!! Anne Raabe Public Relations Representative"

I know I know before anyone says so, what business do I have asking a professional brewery how to make a beer that THEY make? Well, I thought it couldn't hurt to ask. I write letters to companies all the time and you'd be surprised at how eager some are to reply and help with any questions I have. I would have gone on to tell Shiner how much I love their beers, and how I buy them on a regular basis and have since I was of drinking age, but the text box was so small I had to choose my words carefully.

I feel let down, disappointed even. Come and see the brewery? Ya I'm really excited about that now. Pfff.

Anyone else ever ask a brewery for help cloning a beer, or just wrote in to say thanks?

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Old 11-17-2012, 04:26 AM   #2
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shiner isn't about to tell any of their secrets. i live in texas, and even in-state, it's still considered (and priced at) an import. my neighbor, when he can't get my brew, buys shiner at $10 a 6 pack just a few miles up the road in the same state as the brewery

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Old 11-17-2012, 04:29 AM   #3
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Ya here in Arkansas it's higher than a cat's back too.

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Old 11-17-2012, 04:29 AM   #4
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Don't take it personally. It's cool when the pros share their recipes with the amateurs, but I don't think it's fair to expect it. If anything, I bet a far greater fraction of the pro brewers would respond with advice than almost any other food industry.

Shiner in particular is big enough that I can't say I'm surprised that they declined to comment. I'd give them a point for at least reading your email.

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Old 11-17-2012, 04:34 AM   #5
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not talking bad about them for not divulging secrets. it's their recipe/process, so they can keep it secret. what i still can't understand is why they are forced to price it as an import (yes, i've read the regulations)

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Old 11-17-2012, 04:43 AM   #6
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shiner was once a great company. i've been not at all impressed by them for a long time now. as much as it pains me to say, i look forward to watching their downfall.

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Old 11-17-2012, 04:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estricklin View Post
I feel let down, disappointed even. Come and see the brewery? Ya I'm really excited about that now. Pfff.
Your expectations are too high and it makes you sound like a jerk.
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Old 11-17-2012, 05:00 AM   #8
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I wrote Vinnie Cilurzo at Russian River asking for his excellent Consecration recipe. I got a long email with all the ingredients and process.

My local brewery, Cigar City, helped me make a clone of one of their Humidor Series IPAs. They even gave me the Spanish cedar spirals to do it (thanks to Wayne Wambles the head brewer).

I'm really surprised at how giving the breweries are. The industry is mostly exceptionally open.

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Old 11-17-2012, 06:02 AM   #9
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Shiner is owned by Gambrinus. They aren't exactly the tiny brewery they like to portray.

Shiner was one of my gateway beers and it's not a terrible option when it's Shiner, SA, or BMC somewhere (which is very common). The black lager is actually pretty good and some of the annual beers were quite exceptional. They even used to make a great kolsch. So, I don't have any hate for them but it's definitely the worst brewery tour ever. They give you like a five minute explanation of the beer, tell you not to touch the kettles and show you the bottling line from behind glass windows. You don't even go in the brew house. You just see the kettles from the chimneys that come through the guest area above the brew house where they let you hang out. Then they kick you out and give you samples. So that's the good part. The building itself is interesting, there's a chapel but I couldn't figure out what it's used for. The gift shop/tasting room has some interesting Shiner stuff you can buy. Oddly enough you can only drink in one place in town and it's a bar/antique shop. The owner is very nice. Sadly Shiner is not sold any cheaper at the stores in town than it is anywhere else in the state.

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Old 11-17-2012, 11:50 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by passedpawn View Post
I wrote Vinnie Cilurzo at Russian River asking for his excellent Consecration recipe. I got a long email with all the ingredients and process.

My local brewery, Cigar City, helped me make a clone of one of their Humidor Series IPAs. They even gave me the Spanish cedar spirals to do it (thanks to Wayne Wambles the head brewer).

I'm really surprised at how giving the breweries are. The industry is mostly exceptionally open.
This was my impression.

Here is what I'm thinking, I'm going to write some other breweries just to see what happens. Maybe I'll get the same response, won't cost me anything but a stamp to try.

Anybody got any ideas on what breweries I should start with? The smaller ones are probably more likely to help. There is a small one in Arkansas called Diamond Bear, think I'll give them a try. I will start a new thread called "Brewery Responses" when I, if I get a reply back from any and I will link this thread in it.
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