There it stands,
The remnants of a Texas flagship,
With red and white smoke stacks
Still gracing the San Antonio skyline.
Its entry gates are forever closed,
An empty guard shack a solemn reminder
Of an era permanently locked away
In the hearts and minds of its former workers,
Once and forever proud of the niche they carved
Upon the ever-growing landscape of Texas legend.
The brand itself was the drink of legends,
Guzzled by the likes of Willie Nelson
And millions of his favorite fans,
While also being immortalized in song lyrics,
Along with prominent placement in well-watched movies.
It also had a cool factor,
Clearly conveyed by the brewery’s iconic swimming pool,
Now empty and rotting away,
A symbol of prosperity and leisure from a bygone age,
When what we drank here was made here.
We still drink the beer, of course,
Which presumably tastes the same,
Though it’s brewed somewhere else
By some big name conglomerate
With no real connection to the product’s history.
Perhaps the brewery will live again,
States the occasional headline,
The media falling all over itself
Every time a potential investor raises an eyebrow
In the direction of the crumbling complex.
Sure, it might be converted into high-dollar apartments,
Or possibly a trendy shopping and restaurant district,
With maybe even a park or museum of sorts,
But what once was will never return,
The glory years of hometown manufacturing,
Where pride flowed
While people made a decent living.
Now all we have to remind us of those times
Is a bottle or can bearing a familiar label,
Or a bike ride past a dilapidated piece of nostalgia
Along the banks of the San Antonio river,
Where a giant once stood.
*Featured/top image: A faded billboard near the San Antonio river directs would-be visitors to the Lone Star Brewery. Photo by David Roberts.