That time state and federal shipping regulations ruined my weekend

A couple weekends ago, I ended up at a local bar near Tumon. Now, Tumon, for those who don’t know, is the more tourist-y, resort-y part of Guam. Lots of fancy hotels and, as a result lots of fancy bars. So of course, I avoided those and ended up at a bar with loud music a pool table and a shuffleboard table (because obviously this place also catered to the elderly “got lost on our way off the cruise ship” crowd). But that’s beside the point. Upon entering into the bar and I prepared to make my choice among the ever-so-common Bud Light, Coors Light and Miller “Lite” for those who prefer phonetics over real words.  Typically, I drink Coors in these situations. After all, when these are your choices, you tend to choose the one that is actually closest to water. However, tonight was different. When I looked inside the case, I was suddenly beckoned by a beautiful brown lager, shipped straight from God’s country.

The Discovery

No joke, while writing this, I had the Hallelujah Chorus playing in my head. That is how much this changed my life.

It was glorious. I had heard this bar had a great selection of beers from all around, but I’d been skeptical. After all, a local resort advertised “Craft Beer Night” at their local bar, which featured such beers as Bud Light, Coors Light and Miller Lite (Seriously, one more letter. I can’t imagine they had a problem with people asking for  “Miller Lift”). But my faith had been restored. Not only that, but I also discovered that the folks I was with enjoyed Shiner as much as I did. It was like discovering family I never knew in a place I’d never been. Again: glorious.

After reconnecting with my love for Shiner throughout the night, I retired from the bar, determined to find a way of obtaining a personal supply in local stores.

The Search

A couple days later, I was desperate. I’d looked throughout grocery stores and couldn’t find Shiner Bock anywhere. But I knew it was here. It had to be. Was I just dreaming that night I had found it? Maybe so. After all, there was an Aggie at the bar with me and we seemed to get along perfectly well. But no, I swore I’d seen Shiner Bock and drank it too!

There was only one thing left to try.

Through Shiner’s site, I decided to go all out. I sent an email to the Spoetzl Brewery to see what I could do. Here’s that email in full, along with any notes to explain or comments to expound upon.

Howdy Shiner Brewery,

My name is Cameron Miculka and I’ve been a proud supporter of Shiner for practically all my life. Not only have I been able to enjoy Shiner’s wide varieties of beer (particularly Smokehaus, Cheer and, of course, Shiner Bock)…

Note the intended exclusion of Ruby Redbird. I have no idea how that got popular, I cannot enjoy grapefruit juice mixed with beer. That just is not a happening flavor combination. Or should I say… “Hop”-pening? (lol beer jokes)

…as an adult,…

Underage drinking is a crime, kids, and Guambalaya does not endorse illegal activities.

…but I also grew up in Weimar, Texas, less than an hour away from Shiner. As a result, whenever we had guests over, my family would take them to the brewery for a tour. As a matter of fact, I believe that at one point in my life, I had memorized y’all’s entire brewery tour.

No joke. I didn’t even get to partake in the “end of tour” beer sampling at the end of each tour. That’s dedication.

So suffice to say, I love Shiner and everything y’all do.

Recently, I moved to the small Pacific island of Guam. Along with my Texas Longhorns (apologies to the Aggies at the brewery), Texas barbecue and a particular orange-and-white-roofed fast food restaurant, Shiner holds a special place among the things I miss about Texas.

My next goal is to open a Whataburger franchise on Guam. I have a feeling the honey butter chicken biscuit would go over well here.

After all, my choices here tend to be limited to large macrobrewery products which, while a good alternative to the seawater that surrounds me, is not what I want to grab from the fridge after a long day at work.

The above statement is likely debatable (The part about seawater, not the fridge).

One fateful day, however, I happened into a bar and, lo and behold, found bottles of Shiner Bock staring back at me. It was as if Sam Houston himself had welcomed me into the bar. Meer nights after I had succumbed to believing that I might forget the true taste of beer, my soul reawakened.

I have a tendency to wax poetic when it comes to beer. Although I feel that’s a common trait in all journalists.

Now I understand that what I’m about to ask is likely a tall order. But I figured if I never asked, I’d be more disappointed than if I had and received the answer I wasn”t looking for. So here it is.

I really wish I’d been there to see their reaction to this. I imagine a mixture of confusion, amusement and pity. They were also likely inspired and awestruck at the previous graf.

Now that I know that Shiner Bock somehow makes its way to Guam, be it by
boat, plane or floated on the backs of angels…

That’s what music in word-form looks like.

I’m curious about if there’s anyway I can procure some for a private stock. I wouldn”t need a large stock, I’d even be willing to treat myself to the very, very special occasion if need be. So, is there anyway that I could obtain a very small (6-pack) inventory? It would honest-to-God make me your biggest fan and y”all the greatest institution of beer on the planet.

Did I have any hope for a positive response or even a response at all? Not very much. But few revolutions were ever started by not sending an email. [citation needed]

So whaddya say? Help alleviate a Texas expatriate’s homesickness?

Sincerely,
Cameron Miculka

I really wanted to use the term “Tex-patriate” but wasn’t sure how Spoetzl Brewery responded to puns.

PS If that”s not possible, are there any plans to sell to local grocery
stores? I know of a few Texans  here who miss Shiner as much as I do and
would love to see it on the shelves. Or you could just tell me and
we”ll all arrange a secret code for delivery and pick-up…like “The
Bock Stops Here.”

I really like puns, though.

A day later (big ups to Shiner for getting their act together!), I got this response.

Hi Cameron,

We appreciate your interest in our Shiner Beers. State and Federal laws
restrict us from shipping or selling beer directly to a consumer. The
only Shiner beer that we ship overseas is to the military. At this time,
it is only Shiner Bock 6-packs. AAFES coordinates the movement of the
beer to various overseas airbases. We are now shipping to the Army Air
Force Exchange Service (AAFES) in the following overseas locations:

In the Pacific:
Inchon, Korea
Yokohama, Japan
Okinawa, Japan

In Europe:
Geissen, Germany
Ramstein, Germany

In Central America:
Honduras

In the Caribbean:
Puerto Rico

We load Shiner Bock into overseas containers, ship them to either
Houston or San Diego, and they are routed overseas to their various
destinations for our troops. Are you in the military?

If you’re ever in Texas, come on by…we’ll save a cold one for you!

Anne [Last name and other personal info deleted]

Because I’m not in the military, I cannot benefit from Shiner’s shipments overseas. I do however, appreciate them “saving a cold one for me.” Go ahead and keep that one in the fridge, Anne. I don’t want to come back to a warm beer. In fact, sell that one. I’ll pick up a fresh one that hasn’t been sitting in the back of a fridge for a couple years.

So that’s that. However, Anne’s email said Spoetzl can’t ship overseas. So how did my bar get it in the first place? This sounds like a job for an investigative reporter. An investigative reporter who likes beer. Hey, I think I know a guy.

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2 thoughts on “That time state and federal shipping regulations ruined my weekend

  1. Marlo Francisco says:

    Shiner beer… Awesome.. I have a good tip for you.. Down in the wet press or printing area at the pdn, look for a guy from Texas.. Jaime Rios.. He’s been with pdn for a few months now..He’s like the total Texas BBQ master and I’m sure he has the hookup for shiner beer and other Texas treats..

  2. Florence Pangelinan says:

    If what Shiner Brewery is claiming, maybe this is the job of the AF investigative unit to see who’s selling Shiner beer on the black market…

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