by: Collette Orquiz
Photos: Madeline Ritter
Depending on who you ask, some of the dumbest or best ideas are contrived when you’re drinking. In this case, we’re going to go with best ideas because there’s a chance that Seguin Brewing Co. would have never existed if it wasn’t for a little overindulgence.
Brian Wallace and Shawn Washington are the owners of Seguin Brewing Co. and a beer brought them together (obviously). Wallace had been homebrewing for a awhile (for how long he can’t remember). He used to be an adjunct professor and baseball coach at Texas Lutheran University, but the job that he did for love, not money, started to wear on him. “The homebrewing was really my escape, if you will, from that world. It was something different that was really challenging, and exciting,” Wallace said. “I found it to be extremely fun.”
It was an Oktoberfest beer that united them, one that Wallace had brought to a friend’s engagement party. Approached by a drunken Washington, he said to contact him if he went into business with the beer. The rest is history. They scraped together equipment, almost none of which was designed for beer. Instead, dairy and wine equipment produced their first beers, which Wallace noted was less than efficient. “There were a lot of things we had to learn. It was fun, it was stupid,” Wallace said. “We probably should have given up about 10 times along the way, but we’re just kind of stubborn that way.”
Seguin Brewing Co. started on Wallace’s family’s property, where the rent was good and they had a 1,500 square-foot warehouse. The brewery sold their first case of bombers in November 2014, though Wallace said it wasn’t a “true operation” until early 2015. “It was just Shaun and myself, literally like bootleggers driving around with beer in our car and stopping in and sampling people, and telling them about ourselves,” Wallace said.
The best move Wallace ever made was to surround himself with Shaun because he’s “so much smarter” than him. Even though Wallace started as a homebrewer, Washington brews 99.99 percent of the beer. “I basically taught him the basics, and he’s sort of taken it to the next level. He does 99.99 percent of all production here,” Wallace said. The 00.01 percent is Wallace’s contribution as he occasionally chips in, but he primarily wears many other hats on the business side of the operation.
Seguin Brewing Co. has four core beers: Honey Pecan #5, a cream ale with—you guessed it—honey and pecans; Lake Breeze Blonde, an homage to the lakes in the area; 9-Pin Kolsh, named after German 9-pin bowling, and Bock-n-Röhl (which had other names such as Bock That Ass Up and Rock Out With Your Bock Out).
Other beers include an Irish Dry Stout called Pog Mo Thóin, which is Irish for “kiss my ass,” Pale Dorado, a pale ale dry-hopped three times with El Dorado hops, Oktoberfest, Black Rye IPA, and Face Plant IPA.
Wallace’s driving force behind the brewery was to be in downtown Seguin, to give the people something to do and somewhere to go. They were told it would take three years to afford the downtown location of their dreams, and they did it in half the time. “I got a little tired of hearing you can’t do anything in Seguin and I was kind of like, you can, you just have to do it right. It’s no different than any other town,” Wallace said.
Located at 111 West Gonzales St. since October 2016, the brewery occupies a building from the early 1900s that was literally falling apart. Wallace is convinced they saved the building from collapsing. “I wanted to be a part of the revitalization of our historical downtown, which comes with its own challenges because then you have to find the right building with the right floor space,” Wallace said.
Terri Nelligan-Davis (Beertender turned Chief of Event Planning) agrees that people needed somewhere to go and said events are a priority for the brewery. “We try to switch it up and think about what fun thing we want to go to, what would get us out of the house and to the brewery to hang out with people,” Nelligan-Davis said. As such, they frequently partner with nonprofits and businesses in the community. She recently created Market Days, an artisan and farmers market to be held once a month, all while trying to make their other events such as Oktoberfest, St. Patty’s Day, and Gumbo Fest better than ever.
Greg Midkiff brings a lot of beard to the brewery and left his job in manufacturing to work at Seguin Brewing Co. Wallace said Midkiff’s helped develop quality control with a tap tower and maintenance while taking great care of the lines. “This place, everybody is welcome,” Midkiff said. “I think that the quality for the beer is great, the quality of the conversation is great.” This also makes the brewery a worthy stop or day trip destination if you don’t live in Seguin.
Expansion is next on the list for the brewery, and they recently got the keys for the space next door. A kitchen, private event area and more square-footage will be added. Nelligan-Davis said more fermenters equals more beer being made, which also means more opportunity to get their beer out into the market. “We get busy and we have to put those staples out and we don’t have as much time to experiment. Where we expand and we have more fermenters to experiment with, we have the potential to grow,” Nelligan-Davis said. Still in the design phase, it’ll be a while before the addition is complete. Wallace said they’ve need the space since “like yesterday, the sooner the better,” as they are bursting at the seams.
Welcome news, indeed.
Seguin Brewing Co. is open 3 to 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, noon to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.