Texas tourism boosted by distillery destinations

New data shows that distilling tourism created jobs, generated consumer spending, and is creating millions in tax revenue for Texas.

A new study released by Tourism Economics, a subsidiary of Oxford Economics, has revealed that Texas distillery tourism is making a major impact on the state. According to the study, 188 distillers generated a total economic impact of US$831.7m in 2022. 

“The booming growth of Texas distilleries in the last decade has contributed significantly to local and state economies,” Michael Mariano, head of economic development at Tourism Economics, said. 

“Texas distillers are playing a critical role in the state’s economy not only by generating sales, but by increasing tourism and the many industries positively impacted by visitors.” 

In addition to the economic impact, the study discovered that 2,089,000 visits were made to distilleries in the state, US$459.4m in total on-site and off-site spending was made by non-local distillery visitors, 7,700 total jobs were created, and US$42.5m in total state & local tax revenues was generated. 

The study estimates non-local distillery visitors spent US$112.8m, on food and beverage, US$106.9m on lodging, US$91m on retail, US$78.7m on entertainment and recreation, and US$69.9m on transportation including gasoline purchases. These figures represent a return to from following pandemic-related setbacks.

“The Covid-19 pandemic was tough on Texas distillers and the Texas tourism industry as a whole,” Mike Cameron, president of the Texas Distilled Spirits Association said. “Still, Texas makes terrific spirits and that draws visitors from near and far to the state. We are ecstatic that consumers are visiting our distilleries, sampling our products and falling in love with Texas distilled spirits. Supporting our local distilleries by supporting laws that help us compete in the marketplace has great benefit for the state.”

The state has a vibrant craft whiskey scene that includes Balcones, which was purchased by Diageo in 2022, Garrison Brothers, Treaty Oak, Milam & Greene, and more. It is also home to Tito’s Handmade Vodka and the Deep Eddy Vodka Distillery.  

“This study makes clear that continued growth of the Texas distilling industry presents great opportunities for the state, and that the collective economic contributions of these small businesses could be even greater if antiquated laws restricting spirits sales were updated,” Andy Deloney, senior vice president & head of state public policy at the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (Discus), said. 

“Unfortunately, there are many obstacles Texas distillers face when operating in the state with less market access, restricted sales days and higher taxes. Given the popularity of Texas distilleries and their important role in the state’s economy, these outdated laws simply don’t make sense. It’s time to modernise Texas alcohol laws to help support this growing industry and spirits consumers throughout the state.”

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Author: Ted Simmons