Springtime in Austin is fading quickly into summer, and with warmer weather comes the release of delicious, refreshing summer seasonal beers from local breweries. However, we noticed recently that a summer standby of the past several years is missing from grocery store shelves: Shiner’s previous summer seasonal, Prickly Pear.
Last month, Shiner unveiled its new summer seasonal: Strawberry Blonde. According to the brewery, it’s brewed with strawberries from Poteet, Texas.
The beer sounds delicious (and my colleagues on the web desk at the Statesman say it is). But in the comments on that Instagram post, you’ll see beer lovers lamenting the loss of Prickly Pear. Someone even said, “As long as we still get some prickly pear!” and Shiner responded, writing, “Not this year, sorry,” and they responded later on, saying, “We’re taking a break from Prickly Pear this year.”
We decided to get to the bottom of it. We reached out to McGarrah Jessee, a local firm which represents Shiner, and a spokesperson for the brand explained:
Shiner Prickly Pear started out as one of our Brewer’s Pride selections. Those are limited-run beers that only come in our Family Reunion packaging and in bombers. It proved popular enough that we made it our summer seasonal. It’s been replaced in that role this summer by Shiner Strawberry Blonde. We do like to mix things up from time to time, to try out new styles and sometimes bring back old ones. At the same time, like all breweries that make multiple styles, we struggle with the problem of limited available shelf space. There simply isn’t enough room to stock every beer we’d like to make. And that can lead to hard decisions, like which of two very capable beers will take the seasonal slot.
So, there you have it. No Prickly Pear this year. Before Prickly Pear, the Shiner summer seasonal was Ruby Redbird, which, let’s face it, is a pretty perfect summer beer. It’s sweet and tart and refreshing. Since the beer was so popular, the brewery decided to make the tangy beer available year-round. Here’s hoping Prickly Pear is next.
The good news? There’s a new fruity Brewer’s Pride selection coming soon from the Texas brand.
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