Something Different: A Rare Pearl

There he sat, summer after summer, unshaven, sporting a dingy wife-beater and baggy work pants, sitting in front of the window air conditioning unit with a cold Pearl in hand.  Often, his other hand gripped a Camel cigarette and he rarely smiled.  These are the early remembrances of my Grandfather.   For years, whenever an individual or an advertisement would speak the words PEARL BEER, I would think of him.

Fortunately, a recent visit to the new Pearl Brewery site in San Antonio has left a far better impression…and I plan to return to the site as often as possible…especially on Farmer’s Market Saturdays.

The original Pearl Brewery was founded in downtown San Antonio in 1881, and by 1916, it was the largest brewery in Texas.  But, prohibition set in around 1919, and the brewery was reduced to producing a product called “near beer,” soft drinks, dry cleaning, and ice cream.  It would be another fifteen years before wagons of beer once again left the brewery for distribution. 

Competition finally drove Pearl from the shelves, but creative innovation has kept the area alive as developers opened a multi-use complex with that warehouse –type aesthetic found in many cities. Aveda Institute was the first tenant opening in 2006.  Now, there are condos, apartments, restaurants, the Culinary Institute of America, boutiques, a park, bike trails, and the Saturday Farmers Market.  I loved my visit there…the walk along the San Antonio River in this area is just beautiful. 

Hope you find a new discovery this weekend where you are!

Happy Weekend!!


  1. Wonderful pictures, Pam. Our son's college roommate was from San Antonio and would tell us about the river walk and festivals. And what a great redevelopment of the brewery! I'm putting San Antonio on my travel "life list." Thanks.

  2. Terrific reporting, Pam! These photos make me want to visit asap. You know, my images of my grandfather are not very different — he was a rugged truck driver, not much of a communicator, and wore very similar clothing to yours.

  3. What a fun redesign of the brewery! Near to us there's an old bakery (Helm's) that had a nifty redesign a few years back into a retail/restaurant complex, featuring lots of art and interior design stores.

  4. Pam, we were there Saturday and ate at La Gloria — boy do they have delicious food! Your pictures are great — I took some but they don't look as good as yours.

    Have a great weekend and Happy Mother's Day!

  5. You never know, Pearl Beer may make a comeback.
    I lived in Minnesota for awhile and we'd buy Leinenkugel because it was the cheapest.
    The other day I was at the beer store in my area, buying hubby some brew, and there it was, and it's not the cheap stuff anymore.

    Sounds like your Grandfather was a working man. Have you found him in the 1940 Census? If you know where they lived they're likely listed.

  6. Oh Pam! You make me want to go back to San Antonio soooooo bad! I remember one time driving by the Pace Picante Sauce factory with my window rolled down. The air around the factory held heavy the scent of cooking tomatoes and onions. It just such a GREAT city! How wonderful that you get to live there! One of these days, we're going to get down your way and you and I can go shopping together!!! Happy Mother's Day my friend!!! Hugs! ~Serene

  7. What a neat place, with great public art. It's nice when a city uses a historical building as a feature rather than teaaring it down to make way for modern buildings. We have an old flour mill, of all things, that marks the center of the historical district of one of the towns nearby. Makes for a very nice walking, shopping, and eating area.

  8. Could you tell if the boot birdhouse was inhabited? This looks like a fun part of town. I hope your Mother's Day is fabulous.

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