Galveston County has a rich history of brewing beer dating back to 1895 with the purchase by Adolphus Busch of property at Post Office and 34th on Galveston Island. The Galveston brewery (named Galveston Brewing Company) was under construction in 1896 and completed in February of 1897. One of the more prominent products was called “High Grade” and its slogan was “The beer that’s liquid food”.
In 1918 prohibition forced the end of the brewing business and a new company was formed, Southern Beverage Company. This new company focused on brewing Triple XXX Root Beer and Ginger Ale until 1927 when the Triple XXX Company bought out Southern Beverage.
In 1933 Triple XXX Company sold once again and in 1934 it became the Galveston-Houston Breweries, since Prohibition had just been repealed. The signature beer was “Magnolia” and advertisements claimed it was “Fully Aged”.
Galveston-Houston started brewing under the name Southern Select and their phone number was 7441. In 1940 Southern Select sold 228,439 barrels of beer, second only to Grand Prize and Pearl in the state of Texas.
By 1954 ownership had changed again and so did the phone number, it was now 5-6311. In 1956 the brewery became Falstaff Brewing Company. Falstaff continued to operate, even packaging for Pearl Beer, until its closure in 1982.
The building is rundown but still stands, operational for almost 100 years as a beverage production facility. It survived the Great Hurricane of 1900, two world wars, prohibition and the Great Depression. All things that would have been made a little easier with a nice cold brew.
Some of the equipment you see at Galveston Bay Beer Company is from a brewery in Louisiana called Rikenjaks. That brewery started in Jackson, Louisiana and moved to Lake Charles. The current owners of Galveston Bay Beer bought out Rikenjaks in 2005 and moved the brewery here in 2008. Unfortunately, Texas was a few years away from allowing craft breweries to start small and grow. That opportunity came in 2013 and plans started to reopen the brewery.
The Taproom offers small batch versions of unique and unusual brews, some only available here. We also promote the history of brewing in Galveston County through artifacts from the last 120 years.
Galveston Bay Beer Taproom is open 4:00 to 8:00 pm Monday through Friday, Noon to 8:00 pm Saturday, and Noon to 6:00 pm Sunday. The brewery is available Monday and Tuesday for special events by reservation.