Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Texas’ oldest craft brewery, in downtown Houston, celebrates its 20th anniversary
Saint Arnold Brewing Company was founded in 1994 in Houston, Texas by Brock Wagner and Kevin Bartol. The two friends chose Houston because, other than living there, this was the largest city in the country that did not have a microbrewery at the time. They were committed to building this local business and believed they could educate Houston locals about alternatives to the then-popular, mass-produced light lagers that dominated the are. Now twenty years later, Saint Arnold is Houston’s largest craft brewery with national awards and recognition for its distinctive portfolio of 17 different beers.
Brock Wagner has a long history with beer that actually starts before he was born. His great-great-great grandfather came from Alsace in the mid 1800’s and opened Wagner’s Beer Hall in San Francisco (it’s now the oldest existing bar in the city and has since been renamed The Saloon). Brock grew up in Cincinnati and Brussels, which were both big beer brewing towns, where he was exposed to many of the world’s best beer styles.
While in college at Rice University, he took up home brewing and hoped one day he would open a microbrewery. After graduating, Brock spent six years in investment banking working on corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions projects, but in the mid 1990’s, decided it was time to follow his dream of mid 1990’s, decided it was time to follow his dream of brewing and teamed up with Kevin Bartol to establish Saint Arnold Brewing Company.
Saint Arnold was originally located on the far northwest side of Houston, a location that held for more than fifteen years before the brewery moved to its current larger facility in the Northside district of downtown Houston. Here, the brewery offers tours every weekday and pours a selection of Saint Arnold beers, all of which are inspired from Brock Wagner’s home brewing recipes. Saint Arnold Brewing Company currently brews over 20 beers and many have earned medals at national beer competitions. Even more impressive is that Saint Arnold was recently ranked #48 on the Brewers Association list of Top Craft Breweries in the Country.
Saint Arnold Brewing Company was named after the patron saint of beer brewing, Saint Arnulf of Metz, which in English is Saint Arnold. Each of the large brewing vessels in the brewery is named after the lesser patron saints of brewing and many of the beer labels depict a modernized image of the Saint.