Everything is bigger in Texas, including the craft beer scene. The $2.3 billion dollar Texas industry rated second in the nation in 2013 according to the Brewers Association, a national non-profit trade association. The Lone Star State accounts for 16 percent of overall U.S. sales. Perhaps even more notable is that there are no signs of slowing down as Texas is the third-fastest growing state when it comes to independently owned craft breweries.
Much of this growth can be found in the Houston-area, currently home to 12 breweries—many expanding, and several more in the making. How do Houstonians celebrate such an abundance of great beer? With the first annual Big Brew Houston: The Craft Beer Celebration. This major new event was created to shine a spotlight on Houston as a leader in the craft brew industry.
The weeklong event, October 20 to 26, is expected to draw more than 10,000 people from across the region. Smaller events will be held across the city such as pub crawls, beer dinners, educational seminars, all leading up to the main event at the George R. Brown Convention Center Thursday through Saturday.
Designed for beer lovers in Houston and across the nation, participants will enjoy more than 1,000 featured beers, meet the best and brightest brewers in the craft beer industry, and quench their thirst on never-before-tasted brews and rare finds.
The best news? The weeklong beer fest is only the beginning for brew enthusiasts. Demand for locally made beer has inspired new breweries in the area to open including Town in City Brewing in the Heights area, 8th Wonder Brewery in East Downtown, B-52 Brewing in Conroe and Galveston Island Brewing in Galveston.
Other brewing favorites, like Saint Arnolds Brewing Company, Southern Star and Karbach Brewing, are continuing to expand. Karbach, which opened in October 2011, is currently undergoing a major $15 million, 19,000-square-foot expansion and was deemed by The New Yorker magazine as the second-fastest-growing craft brewery in the U.S.
As for Southern Star, land is currently being cleared to make way for a new $5 million brewery that will expand capacity and open up opportunities for visitors to enjoy additional tours, special events, and at a future date, overnight stays in an adjacent bed-and-breakfast.
Meanwhile, Houston's Saint Arnold's brewery may be the oldest brewery in Texas, but has no trouble keeping up with the younger crowd. Saint Arnolds celebrated its 20th anniversary this year with an expansion to increase brewing capacity. Completed this month, the brewhouse now includes a fourth brewing vessel to keep up with demand. The brewery also secured the lot across the street to the east of the brewery to make room for future expansion.
Eager to get the party started? Check out Visit Houston's Beer Nut itinerary for all of the hops and barley you can handle in the Bayou City.