I asked the Brewers Association (the organization for craft brewers) for some stats on Texas brewers and how they stacked up against the rest of the nation. They were kind enough to send me the May/June issue of The New Brewer, the journal of their organization, and it contained some fascinating numbers from 2007.
• In the South Region (Ala, Ark, Fla, Ga, Ky, La, Ms, NC, Okla, SC, Tenn, and Texas), Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner was by far the leader in sales among craft brewers. Their 380,000 barrels (up 9% from last year) was well ahead of the 74,500 of Abita (New Orleans). Also in the top 10, Saint Arnold (Houston) was 5th with 17,811 bbls, and Real Ale (Blanco) was 8th with 11,511. For comparison, note that Saint Arnold's sales would not make the top 10 in the Pacific Region (California and Hawaii) or the Northeast. Also on the South list was Pete's Brewing, but that's a bit misleading – Pete's is really a California brewer, but they're owned by the Gambrinus company in San Antonio (which also owns Spoetzl).
• Spoetzl was the only Texas company in the national top 50 domestic craft brewing companies, a list that includes regional brewers, contract brewers, and brewpubs, coming in 4th. They were well behind the 1.8 million of leader Boston Beer Co. (Sam Adams).
• On the national list of "regional brewing companies" (sales of at least 15,000 bbls) Spoetzl ranked 8th (the "craft brewers" list was more restrictive in its definition, hence the lower ranking on the "regional brewers" list), and Saint Arnold ranked 61st.
• On the national list of "microbrewers" (sales below 15,000 bbls):
11th: Real Ale
79th: Live Oak (Austin) — 4,000 bbls
116th: Healthy Brew (Fort Worth) — 2,500
122nd: Rahr and Sons (Fort Worth) — 2,400
172nd: Independence (Austin) — 1,400
Something called Cerveza Cosaco – Spanish for "Cossack Beer" – was also listed as Texas, but as near as I can tell, it's actually brewed in Mexico and owned by a Colorado company. As for Healthy Brew, I've never heard of them, but Jeffrey had a post about them last year. I can't get their web page, www.healthybrew.com, to load.
(And speaking of Real Ale, their 11,511 bbls is a 106% increase (!) from last year, and that follows increases of 27%, 35%, and 35% in the three previous years. For more on their success, read this great article by the Austin American-Statesman's Patrick Beach.)
• Our brewpub scene has a ways to go on the national list. Tops in Texas was Two Rows Restaurant and Brewery in Dallas — they consistently produce 1,400 bbls a year, putting them at No. 105. Two Rows also has locations in Addison and Houston that produce a little less. After Two Rows was Austin's North by Northwest — 1,250 bbls for No. 132 – and various other Texas brewpubs could be found farther down the list. (The top seller in the nation is Boundary Bay Brewery in Bellingham, Wash., at 5,302 bbls. They must be doing something right up there, because they've almost doubled their sales over the past five years.)
Recap of my trip to Washington
3 hours ago