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Alamo Brewing Breaks Ground At Hays Street Bridge Location

Ryan Loyd
TPR News
State Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio (left) and Eugene Simor, founder of Alamo Brewing, drink the signature Alamo Golden Ale at the brewery's groundbreaking Friday.

The Alamo Golden Ale's motto is "Brewed with a fiercely independent spirit," and that's what it took, almost literally, for Eugene Simor to see the groundbreaking on his near-Eastside brewery.

The location is symbolic. Alamo Golden Ale, along with German lagers and seasonal selections, will be brewed about 12 minutes from the site of the sacred grounds of the Alamo.

"For the last 10 years I've brewed just one single product, which is Alamo Golden Ale," Simor said. "So considering that I just have one beer, we've actually done pretty good with our sales."

During that time, he's had his beer brewed at Real Ale brewing in Blanco.

"When you have just one it better be good, so I think we've kicked it off right and I'm looking forward to the rest of the styles coming out," Simor said.

The construction will cost an estimated $8 million, but for Simor, it's much more than that. He helped pave a new way for not only his business, but for craft brewers all over the state.

Roadblocks got in his way, many times, including those who opposed his building being so close to the historic Hays Street Bridge. But he told the crowd gathered for the ground breaking ceremony Friday that he's a fighter.

"You know, a lot of folks said that it'd be a cold day in hell before there was any development on the east side," he said to laughter. "Well, it's a cold day and we've come a hell of a long way!"

Credit Alamo Brewing
Alamo Brewing will be located beneath the historic Hays Street Bridge.

Part of his battle included changing Texas laws to get here. State Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio, carried the torch in the legislature.

"The enthusiasm that Texans have for beer should never be underestimated. It's amazing," Villarreal said to the crowd.

The city is providing a $794,000 incentive, a forgivable loan to include restaurants and shops around the brewery, and the 2012 bond package is providing $2.6 million in improvements to Cherry Street nearby.

The brewery is located in City Council District 2 on the near Eastside, which is why Councilwoman Ivy Taylor wanted this investment because it meant improving the perception and reality of the Eastside.

"It's going to bring people over here who probably haven't been to this part of San Antonio," Taylor said. "And I have to admit, I'm not a beer drinker, but when this thing is finished I'm going to drink a beer. I'm going to drink a beer. I'm going on the record, I'll let my pastor know, I'm going to have a beer." People exploded in laughter.

Simor will initially double his brewing capacity when he opens up shop next October.

Ryan Loyd was Texas Public Radio's city beat and political reporter. He left the organization in December, 2014.