It’s that time of year again where I take a look at the Texas Craft Beer scene for 2016 and review what has happened with Texas breweries over the last year. Needless to say, Texas has come a long way over the last couple of years. Here is a breakdown of where we are currently.

A couple of notes on the numbers below:

– I have taken out any macro approval (AB-InBev, Pabst, etc.).
– These are only the approvals that came through this year.
– The numbers should be right as of 12/21 – it may change before the year’s end.

At the time of this article, there are 257 licensed craft breweries in Texas. This does not include licenses for breweries that are contract brewing or that are major macro producers.


TABC brewpub licenses in Texas: 150
Brewpub licenses approved in 2016: 40
Brewpub licenses approved in 2015: 32
Brewpub licenses approved in 2014: 25
Brewpub licenses approved in 2013: 10
Brewpub licenses approved in 2012: 3

Newcomers this year (note: not all have opened, but have TABC approval to do so):

Alstadt – Fredericksburg
Amarillo Beer Company – Amarillo
Bankhead Brewing – Rowlett
Black Page Brewing – Houston
Brass Tap Brewing – Austin
Cactus Land Brewing – Adkins
Chikilla Brewpub & Garden – Victoria
Denton County Brewing – Denton
El Paso Brewing – El Paso
Eureka Heights Brewing – Houston
Flying Man Brewing – Austin
Fredonia Brewery – Nacogdoches
Great Heights Brewing – Houston
Idle Vine Brewing – Austin
Künstler Brewing – San Antonio
Lazarus Brewing – Austin
Lazy Beach Brewing – Corpus Christi
Neches Brewing – Port Neches
Platypus Brewing – Houston
Ruggedman Brewing – New Braunfels
Saloon Door Brewing – Webster
Sockdolager Brewing – Abilene
St. Elmo Brewing – Austin
Suds Monkey Brewing – Austin
Texas Beer Company – Taylor
Texas French Bread – Austin
The Shade Tree Saloon and Grill – Spring Branch
Two Wheel Brewing – Buda
Walking Stick Brewing – Houston
Weathered Souls Brewing – San Antonio

st-elmo Texas Craft Beer Scene 2016 - A Year In Review
(Picture via St. Elmo’s Facebook)

Switched from a Brewer’s (or Manufacturer’s) Permit to a Brewpub:

Adelbert’s – Austin
Audacity Brew House – Denton
Boerne Brewing – Boerne
Branchline – San Antonio
Busted Sandal – San Antonio
Fetching Lab Brewery – Algoa
O’Neil & Sons Brewing – Port Lavaca
Seguin Brewing – Seguin
Shannon Brewing – Keller
Spindle Tap Brewery – Houston

While the numbers are still higher than last year’s, a good number are still switching over from brewery licenses. Along with this, a much larger number of brewpubs are now operating in Texas than breweries. If you are curious on what the differences between a brewery and a brewpub (and why places would switch licenses), you can view an article I wrote earlier on this here: Brewpubs versus Breweries: A Basic Look at the Laws in Texas


TABC Brewery Licenses: 107
Brewery licenses approved in 2016: 24
Brewery licenses approved in 2015: 28
Brewery licenses approved in 2014: 12
Brewery licenses approved in 2013: 17
Brewery licenses approved in 2012: 12

Newcomers this year (note: not all have opened, but have TABC approval to do so and I am not including ones that received approvals to contract brew at a second location):

160ft Beerworks – Houston
BCS-Zoigl – Bryan
Athens Brewing – Athens
Bearded Fox – Tomball
Beta Brewhouse by Osmo’s Daughter – Elgin
Comfort Brewing – Comfort
Deep Ellum Barrel House – Dallas
Dej Buh Stesti – Lovelady
ETX Brewing – Tyler
Family Business Beer Company – Dripping Springs
Friends & Allies – Austin
Hemisphere Brewing – Rockwall
Hi Sign Brewing – Austin
Hopfusion Ale Works – Ft. Worth
Legal Draft Beer Company – Arlington
Orf Brewing – Austin
Oskar Blues Brewery – Austin
The Manhattan Project Beer Company – Addison (Joint Proprietorship at Bitter Sisters Brewing)
The Plains Beer Co – Lubbock
Thirsty Bro Brewing – Royse City
Toddy Brewery – Katy
Treaty Oak Brewing and Distilling – Dripping Springs
Whistle Post Brewing – Pilot Point

hi-sign-brewing Texas Craft Beer Scene 2016 - A Year In Review
(Picture via Hi Sign’s Facebook)

The number of brewery approvals has actually slowed down from previous years. This does not surprise me all that much as a large percentage of the places opening are not going to be close to the production limits on brewpub licenses.

Compared to last year, Texas has actually seen a slight increase in the number of breweries and brewpubs getting approvals compared to last year. Combined, there were 60 last year, and 64 this year. I do not really see this as a big jump, but we may have reached a more stable growth rate.

Map of Breweries Approved in 2016:

Really, not a big surprise on this front. It still seems that a bulk of the approvals are coming form the DFW metroplex and the Austin/San Antonio corridor. Houston, seems to still be hanging in there, but not growing as rapidly based on these approvals. I was expecting to see more small town approvals, which I still expect to see in the form of brewpubs, but it has yet to really happen. Basically, most of the growth is just in large cities.


Brewery Closures:

I may not have this number exact, but these are the ones that I know about.

Rogness Brewing – Austin – They will be reopening under a new name in a new location sometime in 2017
Chikilla Brewpub and Garden – Victoria
Ironsight Brewery – Cedar Park – Location has reopened under the new name of Thousand Oaks Brewing
Bindlestick Brewing – Cedar Park
Smoke’n Hops – Dripping Springs
Texas Big Beer Company – Buna
Red’s Roadhouse – Kennedale – Restaurant is still open but they did stop brewing.
Old Omen Brewery – Tyler

These numbers are reminiscent of last year. Eight breweries have shut their doors this year while another 64 were approved. Last year, there were around seven shutting down with 60 getting approvals. We have yet to see any sign that there will be massive shut downs. Even with this, two of the ones that shut down have either opened up under a new name or are in the process of opening up under a new name.

Beer Distribution:

The best way that I can easily put this into numbers is by using the number of breweries that are actively getting approvals for their products in Texas. So, basically any brewery that has received a label approval in each year is counted on this. This includes all of the Texas breweries, as well as macro breweries.

Breweries receiving label approval in 2016: 363
Breweries receiving label approval in 2015: 381
Breweries receiving label approval in 2014: 279
Breweries receiving label approval in 2013: 244
Breweries receiving label approval in 2012: 192
Breweries receiving label approval in 2011: 146
Breweries receiving label approval in 2010: 118

While label approvals are one way to look at distribution in Texas, another way is to look at who is getting approved to even sell in Texas. This year, Texas saw a number of new breweries seeking to start selling in here. These include:

Absolution Brewing Company – California
Amager Bryghus – Denmark
Baja Brewing Company – Mexico
Battered Boar Brewing – Oklahoma
Bell’s Brewery – Michigan
Birradamare – Italy
Brasserie De La Senne – Belgium
Brasserie Trois Dames – Switzerland
Brouwerij Van Steenberge – Belgium
Cigar City – Florida
Coop Ale Works – Oklahoma
Coronado Brewing – Californiay
Four Peaks – Arizona
Gigantic Brewing – Oregon
Great Raft Brewing – Louisiana
Joseph James Brewing – Nevada
Moody Tongue Brewing – Illinois
No Coast Beer Company – Iowa
Sound Brewery – Washington
Stony Creek Brewery – Connecticut
Tallgrass Brewing – Kansas
The Bruery – California
The Orkney Brewery – England
Tractor Brewing – New Mexico
Urban Farmhouse Brewery – Oklahoma
Wicked Weed – North Carolina

What to Look for Next Year:

I am hoping for the year of great taprooms. Looking at all of the Austin breweries expanding or building new locations (Austin Beerworks, Thirsty Planet, (512), Friends & Allies, and even Oddwood), I think we may finally start seeing a taproom “culture” that other beer cities have. Being able to go to these taprooms on any day of the week will help “beer tourism” in Texas. In the past, only a limited number of places were open six or seven days of the week. In the last year, that number has increased and I expect that to continue. More and more places are opening their taprooms as basically your neighborhood hangout.

Along with this, more money seems to be being pumped into the taproom experience. If you have not seen pictures of the new Lazarus Brewing taproom, take a look. It has a great look to it and that is exactly what some places have been missing. As more money is being pumped into craft breweries, I expect to see more taprooms like this open.

(Picture via Lazarus’ Facebook)

Another trend is more onsite bottle releases. With places like Jester King pioneering that for the Texas market, we have new breweries like Oddwood that will continue that trend for the state. Future can and bottle releases for one off beers is going to start bringing a lot more money into smaller brewpubs around the state.

I am excited for what 2017 will bring us for the Texas beer scene.

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