This summer, SAMA looks back at the Museum’s heady past as the Lone Star Brewery in Still Brewing Art. The exhibition will feature Belle Époque large format brewery posters as well as rare pre-Prohibition Lone Star Brewery objects, historic photographs, and SAMA site plans dating to 1976 that were used during the brewery’s renovation. In addition, the exhibition will explore San Antonio’s history as a brewing city and the ways in which the San Antonio River is at the heart of this story.
SAMA’s history, like most in the city, is intertwined with water and industrial growth and, perhaps most importantly, the combination of the two—beer. The late nineteenth century saw the Golden Age of American Brewing. It was a time in which technological advancements and railroad expansion paved the way for beer barons such as Adolphus Busch of the famed St. Louis, Missouri, brewery to make their mark as leaders in a growing national industry. It wasn’t long before Busch set his sights on San Antonio, first serving as an investor and advisor for the newly established Lone Star Brewing Association, then as owner of what we know today as the old Lone Star Brewery—SAMA’s home.
The Lone Star Brewery was the first large, mechanized brewery in Texas, having opened in 1884. During its heyday, the brewery produced some 65,000 barrels but ceased operation with the advent of Prohibition. In 1981, SAMA opened in the renovated complex with the slogan “We’re Brewing Art,” and today, we’re Still Brewing Art.