Texas is leading the nation in adding billions to the state economy and creating jobs by producing incredible craft beer.
A study by the Brewers Association found that in 2012 craft breweries contributed $2.3 billion to the state economy and ranked fourth in the nation for employees involved in the microbrewing industry.
Those figures are expected to grow due to this year's legislation reforming previous regulations on small breweries. According to a report by the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, craft breweries could have an economic impact of $5.6 billion within the next few years.
Read more about Texas' growing microbrewery industry after the jump.The Brewers Association, a nonprofit with a membership of small breweries and homebrewers, reported that Texas craft brewers generated more income that 48 states. California took the top spot for 2012 output.
In the past few years, dozens of Texas microbreweries have become staples of the national craft beer market. The industry boom has fostered a community of brewers, beer fans, and even a few bitchin' bloggers, not to mention a selection of quality beers that rivals Germany's.
But prior to the 83rd, strict Prohibition-era regulations prevented brewpubs like Whip In from bottling and selling beer and breweries from selling beer on the premises.
The outdated laws often stifled small breweries' ability to expand. In many cases, Texas breweries would have been able to sell their beer to Texans more easily if they moved out of state.
Before the legislative session began, a craft beer working group consisting of industry stakeholders was formed to evaluate legal regulations on microbreweries. Groups like the Texas Craft Brewers Guild and Open the Taps were heavily involved in researching and creating the legislation.
The package of bills passed in the spring allows breweries to sell beer for consumption in their taprooms and self-distribute a small amount of their beer.
The intent of the legislation was to allow microbreweries to generate more revenue and add jobs to the Texas economy, and the recent economic reports show that the laws are already making a noticeable impact.
Natalie tweets from @nsanluis.
Image courtesy of the Austin Chronicle.