When it comes to describing just how unique Beverly Sanders’ Antiques, Art and Beer business in Shiner is, the right words are hard to come by.
But make no mistake: whatever words do come to mind rest assured Antiques, Art and Beer is one of the coolest and most unique stores in all of Texas.
“I have to be honest: when I opened the business in 2001, I wasn’t sure what I was going to put in here,” Sanders said a few weeks ago. “I actually bought the building without a solid business plan because I was in love with the building and the architecture ever since I moved here from Hawaii. Joe Overton was the owner at the time and I didn’t think he would sell. After asking him about the property a few times, one day I made him a low-ball offer and to my surprise he took it.
“My kids thought I was nuts because I was going out to estate sales, yard sales and auctions (without ever having done that before) and buying everything under the sun and putting it in storage. Then I bought the building and their response was ‘Mom, what are you doing?’”
Beverly laughs at the memory. “Honestly I didn’t know what I was going to do with all the stuff I had bought and what I was going to do with this place. But it’s a God thing—God was preparing me for the journey I was about to embark on. I just didn’t know what his plan was when I started.”
After buying the property, Beverly and her son attacked the inside of the building and started cleaning. The building had been vacant for 11 years, and according to Beverly, “the building was filthy.”
“As we were cleaning the place out, I considered putting antiques in at the beginning,” she said. “Then I thought I would put some of my own art in here, but I wasn’t 100 percent sure my art would sustain the business,” she laughed.
As Sanders slowly started to put things into the building, the idea came to her to also sell beer.
“The upstairs of this building has an interesting history,” Sanders smiled. “The upstairs used to be a brothel. There are four rooms up there and for a long time that was what was going upstairs.”
As Sanders continued to wrestle with what to call her business that was selling antiques, art and beer, she had a conversation with her credit card company that clinched the naming of the business.
“I didn’t know what to name my business in the beginning,” Sanders recalled. “I was on the phone with Chase Manhattan and they told me they could not insure my business because they had no history of insuring antiques and beer together.
“The agent and I were discussing this and he told me he needed at least three different lines of business in order to issue a policy. When I told him what I was selling he said ‘that’s it! We can insure Antiques, Art and Beer because it fulfills our requirement.’ I have kept it ever since.”
Sanders claims she has over 400 different types of beer on the premises, in addition to 300 different types of wine. She also has at least 15 different flavors of fudge available in the store. The store features a unique tin ceiling, and now has an outside patio (2007) and a back room. Every other Saturday, she sells brisket and sausage out back. When asked what the most popular request she has in the store Sanders joked: “Well, the men always tell me I should reopen the brothel!”
“I am proud of how the store has evolved over the years, but there are some things I am especially proud of,” Sanders said. “I was one of the first — if not the first — to integrate my business in Shiner.
“My store was the first of its kind ever in the world (that accepted charge cards according to my credit card company) that sold products of this nature where you could also buy a cold beer and/or have a nice glass of wine.”
At the end of the day, Sanders has come to believe that it was God’s will that she open and operate Antiques, Art and Beer.
“Over the years, I’ve had lots of troubled people visit and they come in and cry over their beer,” Sanders said. “I listen, then I get out the Good Book and I read scripture to them. Many of those people have found God in my store, and I am forever grateful to the Almighty that I am able to mentor and counsel those troubled souls. Many of them have come back to tell me how they have turned their lives around and how they have found God.
“I guess I came to Shiner to start my own little ministry,” she laughs. “Come to Antiques, Art and Beer and I’ll sell you a beer and save souls.”