In 2014, country musician Robert Earl Keen partnered with a Central Texas brewery to produce a line of proprietary beers. The first one, Honey Pils, was released that same year -- and it was a damn fine brew, if we might add.
But at the end of 2017, that beer and all the others made by producer Pedernales Brewing Co. were in danger of being discontinued as the brewery looked to close. Luckily, a buyer stepped in.
Fellow brewer Uncle Billy's Brewery in Austin acquired the Pedernales brand and will continue to brew and distribute its beers throughout Texas. Uncle Billy's did not acquire the physical brewery located in Fredericksburg, according to managing partner Bob Leggett, so the beers are being contract-brewed at Celis Brewery, also located in Austin. (Terms of the deal were not disclosed.)
Familiar Pedernales recipes drinkers can expect to see at retail stores include the Robert Earl Keen line, which includes Honey Pils, Front Porch amber and River Raft lager; Pedernales' Lobo series, including the lager, schwarzbier, hefeweizen and Oktoberfest; and a pale ale called Bitter Battle.
Those beers were available throughout the state as Pedernales courted buyers late last year; however, there was about a six-week lapse in production and distribution at the beginning of 2018, says Leggett. They should now be back on shelves, he adds.
In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, Lee Hereford, who founded Pedernales in 2012, attributed the brewery's near-demise to declining sales and increasing competition in the craft beer market. Coincidentally, that's the same reason Legget says he wanted to absorb the brand.
"The reality of the marketplace is you need volume, you need critical mass to compete in this marketplace," Legget tells GuideLive. "This Pedernales opportunity allowed for that because their volume is actually little bigger than Uncle Billy's was at the time. It was basically going to allow us to double our volume, add more sales people and do a better job with our distribution network and expand what we were doing."
Find Pedernales brews in six-packs of cans at retail stores throughout Dallas-Fort Worth.