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Observations on the Explosive Craft Beer Industry in Houston

Posted by on July 18, 2012

A craft beer fan shows some love.

Much like the BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival itself, the beer scene in Houston and in Texas has evolved dramatically since 2010, when Clifton and Constance McDerby and their team put the tasting event together in Galveston for the first time. There’s been a lot of change and a lot of growth.

As a Houston Chronicle business writer and author of the paper’s Beer, TX blog, I attended and wrote about the first two BrewMasters festivals and plan to be at Moody Gardens again Labor Day weekend for the 2012 event. Since last year’s fest, I have been writing quite a bit about the double-digit growth in the amount of craft beer that is produced and consumed in the area. Another craft brewery has opened and at least three more are in varying stages of development.

This influx of competition so far seems to be helping everyone. The old saw about a “rising tide lifting all boats” seems to fit this instance.

The 18-year-old Saint Arnold, the city’s first craft brewery, is forecast to grow by at least 30 percent this year and Karbach – which had only recently opened as of last Labor Day – is already producing at the level its founders expected in year 3. In Conroe, Southern Star is looking for land for a new and bigger brewery and Katy’s No Label is expanding staff and adding a bottling line. Buffalo Bayou Brewing, the most recent entry into the market, seems to be developing a following as well.

Here’s a Chronicle reading list to get you up to speed on where the craft-beer business stands locally. As further evidence of the topic’s broadening interest, each of these stories appeared on the front page of the newspaper’s Business section:

 In addition to his writing for the Houston Chronicle and the Beer, TX blog on, Ronnie Crocker is author of “Houston Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in the Bayou City” now in bookstores. Keep up at, and


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