Cool as the river
It's about time we have some good news. Lone Star, a Texas beer so famous it seems silly explaining that it's a famous beer from Texas, is releasing its first-ever seasonal brew. Lone Star Rio Jade (pronounced ree-oh ha-day), is a Mexican-style lager available soon wherever Lone Star is sold.
The new beer is designed to pair well with Texas' traditional summer activities (namely anything involving water) and is designed to be drinkable (read: it has a relatively low ABV). The beer itself is described as crisp, with spicy, floral, and citrus notes inspired by "the love of the land of Texas and the color and design is reflective of the natural beauty found in the waters of Texas and Mexico."
To create Lone Star Rio Jade's unique look, the brewery tapped Texas' own Burnt Nopal Creative Studio. The firm, started by famed artist Cruz Ortiz and Olivia Flores Ortiz, was tasked with reimagining the iconic label — a daunting endeavor for any creative team, but especially for a self-proclaimed Lone Star super fan like Ortiz, whose studio is decorated with thrifted Lone Star armadillos.
And so, to begin the process, creative director Ortiz turned to beer's inspiration: the Texas terroir.
"We wanted something cool, hip, of course, so we tapped into what Texas means. And that means understanding what the land means," Cruz explains. "The confluence of cultures and the connection to the land."
The can is a nod to Texas' rich multicultural heritage, with a hand-lettered logo inspired by the Lone Star archives and a design inspired by the Native American tribes and the vaqueros who once roamed the land. Even the final color palette — turquoise, gold, and white — was pulled from Texas' famed rivers and serves as a reference point to Ortiz's past work.
"I think the color is so synonymous with Cruz Ortiz. I refer to it as Cruz Ortiz blue," jokes Flores Ortiz, CEO of Burnt Nopal. (Turquoise also appears in Tomás in an Aztlan Dream, Ortiz's painting acquired by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery in February.)
According to the couple, the project has been in the works for about year, though no one could have foreseen it would launch in the middle of a global pandemic. In keeping with the spirit of the moment, Lone Star, which is owned by Pabst Brewing Company, is also launching Keep the Lights On, a new initiative to support Texas' restaurant and bar industry.
"The independent service industry members affected by this crisis are near and dear to our hearts,” said Lone Star brand manager Daniel Crawford in a release. “They are a huge pillar of our community and the backbone of our brand. They spend their days providing amazing hospitality to us, and we wanted to share that back during these wild times.”
Its first collaboration with Austin-based Texas Humor is a T-shirt featuring the famed Lone Star neon lights that hang in bars across the state (and possibly Ortiz's studio). The shirts are $25, and 100 percent of proceeds will go to Southern Smoke, a hospitality nonprofit based in Houston.
The newest addition to the Lone Star family is brewed in the Hill Country near Austin and will be available beginning in late April through the summer.