The K. Spoetzl Brewery was founded in Shiner, Texas (population 2,127), in 1909, by Czech and German immigrants brewing beer with old-world traditions and recipes for South Central Texas. Since then, the brewery has grown to be one of the largest independent craft brewers in the country with beers available in all 50 states.
In 2023, the Spoetzl Brewery expanded to include the K. Spoetzl Distillery with its line of Shiner Craft Spirits and announced extensive new onsite sustainability initiatives including solar-powered energy, updated waste reduction procedures and effective recycling processes.
With sustainable energy on the rise, The Spoetzl Brewery has added a significant number of solar panels to the brewery to produce clean energy. The solar panels generate over 2 MW of electricity, powering 30% of the brewer’s electrical requirements. In addition to solar energy, the brewery also uses skylights and super-efficient LED lights to further reduce electricity use.
“At the Spoetzl Brewery, we’re committed to investing in renewable energy initiatives and to minimizing our carbon footprint”, says Tom Fiorenzi, Shiner’s Director of Brewery & Distillery Operations. “We’re proud to have the largest solar array on a brewery in Texas and are hopeful that other breweries and businesses will follow in our footsteps.”
In addition to adding solar panels, the brewery enforces procedures to reduce waste. To date, the brewery recycles 98% of its waste. To further reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, 200 tons of paper and over 300 tons of glass are recycled each year. The Spoetzl brewery also transfers exhaust from its brew kettles to a hot water system that supplies heat for preheating in its brewhouse, cleaning systems and offices throughout the brewery.
With its conservation efforts and procedures, the Spoetzl Brewery is focused on helping the surrounding communities and businesses. Each year, over 13,000 tons of spent grain is sent to local farmers as a source of food for animals. The brewery also uses an anaerobic wastewater pretreatment system that collects all the brewery’s processed wastewater. This apparatus generates a biogas that is cleaned, compressed and then used to supply over eight percent of the brewery’s heating needs. Further, over 33 percent of the brewery’s pretreated wastewater is used to grow hay to support local farmers.