Know When to Say When

Jeffrey Stuffings
Jeffrey Stuffings (Photo by Lee Nichols)

Let's be optimistic and assume all these ventures succeed. Can the Austin market really handle a near-doubling of local microbrewers? Could these newbies create too much competition among themselves? None of them thinks so.

"We still live in a state that's 47th in the nation in breweries per capita," says Jester King's Jeffrey Stuffings. "If you look at other cities that have at least some similarities to Austin – your Denvers, your Portlands, your San Diegos – those are cities with over 30 breweries [each], counting both micros and brewpubs. Austin has a long way to go. Obviously there's some exceptional beer being brewed here right now, but I see the potential to become a craft beer destination like Portland or Denver. Texas is just making the leap to really being a great place for craft beer."

"It's the perfect city with the perfect combination of things," says Circle's Benjamin Sabel. "It's a wonderful, vibrant, young city, and everybody loves beer here. You couldn't find a better city for a burgeoning craft beer scene. It isn't completely oversaturated like the Boulders and Portlands.

"Even in the coming years, we still won't hit a saturation point where we're fighting over taps or trying to steal market share away from other craft breweries. I think until we get about 20-plus breweries, then we might have to start worrying about that, but each brewery is going to bring its own unique spin and beers to the scene, and that's great for all craft breweries."

"We have a bigger population than Portland," says South Austin Brewing's Jordan Weeks. "They'll drink every drop we make."

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