Mark Haggenmiller was ahead of his time when he started brewing hand-crafted beer on the Island in 1995. Since then he has been mixing hops and barley for a family of premium beers available only at the Padre Island Brewing Company. Because of his foresight and his dedication to the craft of brewing beer, Gov. Greg Abbott awarded Haggenmiller withThe Governor’s Small Business Award.  Haggenmiller was recognized at the Governor’s Small Business Forum held Oct. 20 at the Brownsville Event Center.

“I was thrilled to find out I was nominated and to find out that I won the award. It makes the 22 years of being in business really worthwhile — with a pat on the back.” He said the number of years the brewery has been in business is a testament to what it means to operate the second-oldest small business brewery in the state. When the Padre Island Brewing Company opened its doors in 1995, theValley debate about beer didn’t extend past choosing between Budweiser or Miller. Though it took some time forValley beerdrinkers to become beer aficionados — that time has now arrived, thanks in large part to the beer Haggenmiller has been brewing and serving at the Padre Island Brewing Company for the past 22 years.

“It just amazes me to see so many people visit our brewery when they visit South Padre,” Haggenmiller said.“It’s an honor to be a part of that tradition.” He said a lot of the success of the business has come from word of mouth, customers recommending the beer. The Padre Island Brewing Company prides itself on being a place conducive to families. You won’t find glow-in-the-dark jello shots there, just a cool dining room filled with sunlight and an impressive craft-brewing laboratory. There’s also no juke-box — the restaurant is filled instead with the chatter of its patrons. “It’s been a fun 22 years and I’m looking forward to the next,” Haggenmiller said.