Oct 3, 2022 - Food and Drink

Craft beer production rises in Texas after dip in 2020

Texas' largest craft breweries
Data: Brewers Association; Table: Thomas Oide/Axios

Texas craft breweries rebounded in 2021, a promising sign after the pandemic crippled the industry.

The state of beer: Of the state's 10 largest breweries, seven increased production in 2021 compared to the previous year, according to an Axios analysis of data from the Brewers Association.

  • Pinthouse Brewing was the state's fastest-growing craft brewery with a 92% increase in sales.
  • Just one Texas brewery — Spoetzl Brewery — saw a year-over-year decline in production, but the Shiner-based brewery continues to see the highest sales in the state with more than 500,000 barrels in sales last year.
  • The state also saw 12 breweries close and 45 open, the data shows.

The big picture: The country's craft beer industry grew 8% in 2021, while the overall market moved up 1%. Texas placed two breweries among the nation's 50 largest.

  • Yes, but: Of the state's top 10 spots based on number of barrels sold, six breweries have yet to reach or surpass their 2019 sales.

Between the lines: The annual data — published for Brewers Association members in the New Brewer journal — is the most comprehensive breakdown of the state's craft beer industry.

Of note: Not all Texas craft brewers are represented in the rankings because some do not submit sales and production data to the Colorado-based Brewers Association, the industry trade group.

  • Our analysis looked at sales from breweries, brewpubs and taprooms, but excluded contract brewers.
  • Also excluded were local breweries that didn't meet the definition of independent.

What's next: The association's chief economist, Bart Watson, who compiled the data, told Axios' John Frank that 2022 is producing mixed results and projected growth is near 4%-5%.

  • Inflation on the cost of raw goods, particularly grain, is hurting the industry. So is competition from other alcohol products, such as canned cocktails and seltzers.
  • "At the brewery, sales are stronger and still growing, so that's a bright spot," Watson said in a recent industry briefing, noting one point of pandemic recovery.

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