COME FOR SXSW, STAY FOR THE BOOZE: AUSTIN’S HIPSTER CACHET IS BEING GREASED BY A CRAFT LIQUOR BOOM
To the probable delight of revelers attending this year's annual South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, craft distilleries are becoming a growing feature of urban culture.
As of August 2016, there were 1,315 active craft distillers in the U.S., according to a joint study released last year by the American Craft Spirits Association and the International Wine and Spirits Research. According to the report, those distillers account for approximately 12 percent of cases of spirits sold each year.
As it happens, more than 70 of those establishments are located in Texas — and several are concentrated in and around the rapidly growing Austin area. The craft liquor boom is partially an exponent of Texas' strong reputation for cultivating small business and entrepreneurship.
Austin, a university town with offbeat appeal and an entrepreneurial spirit, provides spirit makers with a ready-made customer base of young customers and hipsters — many of whom are known to gorge on artisanal foods, coffee and liquor.
The city's motto, "Keep Austin Weird," is reflected in its burgeoning craft distillery industry. Recently, CNBC took a look at some of the more noteworthy establishments that have sprung up around Austin, and regardless of one's preference — be it whiskey, gin, tequila, moonshine, or even mead — there's something for practically everyone.
The Treaty Oak owns an important place in the history and folklore of Texas, with its namesake partly derived from a landmark treaty in the 1830s between local Native Americans and Texas' first colonists.
Located just outside of Austin, the spacious property includes a tasting room, a gift shop, a bar and a restaurant in addition to the distillery. The brand's primary products include a range of vodkas, rums and gins that include Graham's Texas Tea, a sweet tea vodka; Starlite Vodka; Red-Handed Bourbon; and Waterloo Gin. In addition, Treaty Oak markets an experimental brand of spirits produced in limited quantities and only available in Austin.