These days, you wouldn’t have enough fingers to count up all the production breweries in Texas. Although Texas is still very far from being what it has the potential to be, this is still a great problem to have. Even the smaller towns like New Braunfels, are getting in on the action. However, one city in Texas seems to be rising above all others in its numbers of brewpubs and production breweries to the point that comparisions to Denver, Colorado and San Diego, California have been mentioned. Austin, Texas has become a hot spot for craft beer these days, but is there too much?
Strange, I know to even ask much question. Too much craft beer? Isn’t this what we want? It is indeed what we want, however, Austin’ population is only around 800,00 after all. Seems like enough doesn’t it? Texans do have quite a a thirst for this fine malted beverage, but depsite the increase in craft breweries lately, Texas remains mainly a Budweiser, Miller and Coors state. The question becomes, can Austin and its surrounding towns able to over come this and support the craft beer boom?
There are now around thirteen brewpubs and breweries in the Austin area, fourteen if you consider Real Ale in Blanco, with more seemingly opening every few months. Jester King Craft Brewery opened within the last six-months, as well as Black Star CO-OP and Circle Brewing, and many more are slated for sometime this year. This adds to an already extensive list in Austin.
Slightly more veteran breweries in Austin are continuing to grow too. NXNX recently opened their new location in Northwest Austin, Uncle Billy’s has opened a second location and Independence Brewing is looking to build a new brewery, doubling their current production.
The concern is that although many breweries are doing well initially and many are expanding, will craft beer in the Austin area get to the point that the city can not sustain what it has? Will there be more beer available than folks can consume? I hope not, but it needs considering. If it gets to that point, and some breweries have to close, what effect will that have on Austin’s economy and for the future of craft beer in Texas?
As far as Texas itself is concerned, I think we’re far from The point of saturation. Although Texas ranks 48th in consumption of craft beer, it ranks only second behind California in overall beer consumption. If we can increase the beer palet of the states population, craft beer has so much room to grow.
Austin isn’t quite the size that Houston, San Antonio and Dallas are and yet is almost as many breweries and brew pubs than those cities combined, so is there a point where despite the college crowd, Austin could see brewery closings? Eric Braun, who writes the beer column in the San Antonio Express-News, said that in regards to Austin area craft breweries and brew pubs that ” they can distribute widely and Texas has a lot of room to grow. When the other cities catch up it could be trouble.”
Although some cities in the U.S., like San Diego, Denver and Portland, could see an issue with saturation, Austin seems to be more than able to support craft beer for the forseable future and if the laws change soon, it’s no holds barred for Texas craft breweries.