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Good beer, good times

Nice to know that quality still matters.

Saint Arnold Brewing Co. increased production by 22  percent last year, continuing a streak of double-digit annual growth even as the U.S. beer industry stagnated.

The Houston brewery, founded in 1994, expanded capacity by about 80 percent in 2010 with a move into a larger plant and the purchase of seven new fermentation tanks. Despite startup hitches that led to the dumping of several batches and retail shortages, Saint Arnold produced a company-record 31,445 barrels of beer.

Once the hiccups were solved, shipments soared 38  percent during the second half of the year, said founder Brock Wagner.

In the fall, Saint Arnold began distributing in Louisiana, the company’s first foray outside of Texas. That expansion, remaining capacity for an additional 16,000 barrels and sustained interest in locally made craft beer have the brewery poised for continued growth.

“I don’t see anything slowing it down,” Wagner said.

That includes the recent openings, and planned openings, of several craft breweries in Texas. Rather, Wagner said, established breweries should benefit from any increased market interest.

This makes me happy. The Saint Arnold brewery is one of the best things about Houston. Keep up the great work, y’all.

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