Distilleries in Texas experiencing tremendous growth

Uncle Billy's Bourbon (2)_1524673119289.jpg.jpg

Whether you like wine, beer or spirits, in Texas, all of those alcoholic beverage options are growing at a rapid pace. 

“The industry growth has really exploded over the last decade. The number of distilleries alone has increased by 1,200 percent since 2008, and there’s triple-digit growth for nearly all of the other manufacturing permits,” says Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission spokesperson Chris Porter.

In 2008, there were nine distillery permits in the state of Texas; in FY 2017 that number jumped to 117. Another six permits have been approved just this year bringing the total number of distilleries to 127.

While most distilleries are standalone businesses, there are five breweries that also make spirits. One of the newest brewpubs to get into the liquor market is Austin’s Uncle Billy’s Brewery.  The company now has a bourbon whiskey and vodka on the market. 

GOING IN-DEPTH | Distillery Permits in TX
  • 2013: 15
  • 2014: 12
  • 2015: 20
  • 2016: 33
  • 2017: 27
  • 2018 YTD: 6
  • Total current permits: 127

“We’ve expanded from a small-batch brewpub into a production brewery last June, hired a new head brewer, Stephen Wagner, in November, acquired Pedernales Brewing Co. in February, and now we are releasing Uncle Billy’s Spirits,” says Bob Leggett, managing partner of Uncle Billy’s. “We are thrilled to make these big advances, and have even more growth planned soon.”

Uncle Billy’s joins two other breweries in Central Texas that also have a distilled spirits line: Real Ale Brewing in Blanco and Treaty Oak Brewing in Dripping Springs. Ranger Creek Brewing in San Antonio started the combo business model back in 2010. 

Winery permits still outpace all the manufacturing permits issued by TABC with nearly 450 permits at the end of 2017. Brewpub permits come in at a distant second with 180 permits. 

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