AUSTIN (Austin Business Journal) — Elevated alcohol sales in 2022 showed a strong return to entertainment in Austin, with beer, wine and liquor tabs surpassing pre-pandemic levels across the Texas capital.

In 2022, total alcohol sales at bars, restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues within city limits reached $1.13 billion, according to an Austin Business Journal analysis of data from the Texas comptroller. That was up 28% from nearly $883 million in total sales in 2019, prior to the pandemic.

For its analysis, ABJ pulled from the comptroller’s database of mixed beverage receipts. The state’s mixed beverage tax is only paid by businesses that sell beer, wine and spirits for what is known as “on premise consumption,” meaning it’s drunk on site. The data do not include businesses that sell for “off premise” consumption, such as grocery stores, convenience stores and liquor stores. The analysis used taxpayer name, so many businesses with multiple locations were calculated as a single total.

Read the full story at Austin Business Journal.