In the early 1970s, a large number of young Texans moved from rural areas and small towns to much larger cities. In Austin, Texas, this migration sparked an energetic music scene dubbed “Progressive Country” where traditional country, folk and western swing music blended with electric instruments and urban attitudes. Looking to capitalize on this music scene, Lone Star beer regional manager Jerry Retzloff established friendships with local musicians and venue owners who voluntarily promoted Lone Star beer to their fans. 

Museum staff member, Joseph Fox, will present “Lone Star Brewing: Beer and Progressive Country in the Texas Mystique” on Sunday, June 9, at 2 p.m. during Sunday Speaker Series at the Museum of South Texas History.

Over the course of this marketing campaign, Lone Star’s efforts extended beyond Anglo markets by enlisting Tejano musicians like Freddy Fender and Sunny and the Sunliners as well as African-American musicians like Freddie King, The Pointer Sisters and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown. As a result, Lone Star beer became synonymous with the Progressive Country scene and propagated a new urban, metropolitan form of the “Texas Mystique” that was not just celebrated by the Austin counter-culture but also by traditional country music fans across the state of Texas. This presentation uses Lone Star beer and its impact on Texas history to outline the intersection of identity, music and consumer products in Texas.

Fox earned a master’s degree in history from Texas State University in San Marcos where he completed a master’s thesis on Lone Star beer and the 1970s Austin music scene. He has written articles for the Handbook of Tejano History, book reviews for Texas Books in Review, a historical marker for the Texas Historical Commission, and is currently conducting further research on Lone Star beer to expand his master’s thesis into a book. Fox joined the museum staff as the associate education officer in October 2017.

Sunday Speaker Series is included in the fee for regular museum admission. FRIENDS of MOSTHistory are admitted free as a benefit of FRIENDship and must present their FRIENDship card at the Admissions Desk.