Texas beer industry experiences major growth

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In this July 7, 2012 photo, Tanks are in place in preparations for the Texas Big Beer Brewery to open in Buna, Texas.
In this July 7, 2012 photo, Tanks are in place in preparations for the Texas Big Beer Brewery to open in Buna, Texas.

Looking for a way to increase job creation, innovation, economic growth? Texas seems to have found a way to make these tough times easier by generating huge profits through its craft beer industry.

According to the Texas Craft Brewers Guild Economic Impact Study, craft brewers contributed $608 million to the state’s economy in 2011. Craft beer sales increased 13 percent compared to 2010, and the number of barrels produced increased 46 percent.

TCBG defines a craft brewery as a business that produces no more than 75,000 barrels each year.

The number of breweries has also increased during the last four years, from 35 to 78. Our alcohol purchasing readers have no doubt encountered the increasing presence of local beers sold in establishments across Austin.

It’s no wonder that beers from Real Ale, 512, Austin Beerworks and Live Oak are becoming more popular. They offer varieties that the macro-breweries simply fail to provide, and are also an attractive option for locavore beer drinkers.

The study found that while craft beer consumption amounts to less than one percent, the percentage of craft brewery jobs is 51.2 percent of all brewery jobs in the state.

That percentage is set to increase, and the TCBG study found that craft breweries plan to invest $29 million during the next five years.

Not only have the numbers shown craft brewers to play an important economic role in Texas, the TCBG suggests that there is enormous potential for the industry, which is currently off limits due to restrictive beer laws.

Currently, Texas law prohibits brewers and manufacturers from directly selling their beer to customers at the brewery, and are only able to sell to authorized permit holders (bars, stores, etc.). In addition, brewpubs like Black Star Co-op are only allowed to sell their beer on-location.

If Texas’s regulations on beer sales were comparable to that of wine sales, the TCBG estimates the craft brewing industry in Texas would contribute $5.6 billion and 52,000 jobs to the economy during the next 10 years. The state should take note of the potential for revenue, since craft breweries have contributed $16 million in taxes, according to the report.