A Thang About Twang

Twang's beer salt empire is a true Texas success story

Twang's beer salt empire is a true Texas success story

Twang Beer Salt
Twang was founded in San Antonio in 1986. Photo courtesy of Twang
Twang Beer Salt
After a short lived partnership with Anheuser-Busch, the company took off.  Photo courtesy of Twang
Twang Beer Salt
Twang Beer Salt

You know how some people identify strongly with a brand? Like, they only wear Nike or drink Topo Chico or drive Chevy? That’s how I feel about beer salt. Specifically, Twang beer salt.

From way back, I’ve been Twang's unofficial ambassador, carrying it on my person at all times. If there’s beer drinking going on, you better believe I'll be liberally dousing my Modelo Especial in the salty stuff, all while discussing the virtues of each flavor.

As you can imagine, meeting the mastermind behind Twang was like meeting my ultimate celebrity crush. And like most celebrities, it turns out he's just a real person doing what he loves.

Roger Trevino founded Twang in San Antonio in 1986, inspired by the South Texas tradition of adding lime and salt to beer. Though already popular in border towns, it wasn't until Trevino launched his company that anyone was able to market this savory addition throughout the Lone Star State.

In the early days, Trevino was a one-man show, making account calls, packing product, delivering orders, and providing customer service on the back end. It wasn’t until 1998 — more than a decade after Twang got its start — when Anheuser-Busch came calling and the brand found national success.

In partnership with the beverage giant, Twang launched Tequiza (remember that?) and though the product didn’t last long, a beer salt star was born. In response to a massive influx of retailer interest, the company moved all production, from mixing to packaging to development, to a warehouse west of downtown San Antonio.

Over the decades, Twang has expanded their offerings into a number of new product lines: Twangerz salt blend for adding to snacks; Twang-A-Rita for rimming your margs; Zas!, a larger format spice blend; a specialty Clamato Chili Lime Salt; and Cafe Zuca, a sugar topping with flavors like caramel, vanilla, and hazelnut.

As the company has grown, they make it a point to give back to his community including organizing donation drives for Toys for Tots, hosting a drive for the local food bank, helping with hurricane relief through the Red Cross, and donating to Trinity University and University of Texas at San Antonio student-led organizations.

This is the kind of American success story we all love: guy has a great idea, builds a thriving family business, and gives back to the community that fostered him. But unlike the current narrative that posits viral media as the surest way to success, it’s also a story of how years of hard work can pay off. Trevino put in more than a decade of blood, sweat, and lime salt tears before his product saw national interest.

So sure, one of the big reasons we love Twang is that it makes our summer beer taste that much better, but we also love it because it's representative of Texas' vibrant entrepreneurial spirit. Cheers to that.