Brewery guilds are much like the collective voice in your community, supporting breweries in a myriad of ways.
“We are an organized embodiment of the industry as a whole,” says Caroline Wallace, executive director of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild.
And in a state like Texas, with thirty million people—that’s the second biggest by land area in the country—where it takes ten-and-a-half hours to drive from El Paso to Houston, having an organization fighting for your rights and promotion is integral.
There are countless benefits to joining your guild. They are an absolutely invaluable resource doing everything from creating digital resources and providing events to promote your brand and conferences to network and share ideas to directly fighting for better industry laws within your state legislature and making sure you have a reliable, affordable way to ship beer to major out-of-state competitions.
With that in mind, we’re setting out to put the spotlight on guilds across the country, highlighting their missions, initiatives, events, and immeasurable work in their respective communities.
This week, we sat down with Wallace from the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, who will be hosting their Annual Meeting & Trade Show and Texas Craft Brewers Cup in Austin, TX, from Feb. 10, 2023, to Feb. 11, 2023, to chat about what it’s like to support craft beer in one of the biggest states in the country.
What We’ll Cover in This Piece:
What Is the Mission of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild?
According to the Texas Craft Brewers Guild website, the organization’s mission is to “fight for the advancement of independent beer brewed in the Lone Star State. Together, we promote, propel, and protect our collective interests while enlisting our fellow Texans to raise a glass and join us.”
At the end of the day, the Texas Craft Brewers Guild wants to “make Texas the finest state in the nation for craft beer.”
Wallace says, “We have a three-pronged mission: education, advocacy, and promotion. We’re focused on educating brewers to equip them with the tools to run the best business and make the best beer possible; we’re focused on promoting Texas as a craft beer destination and promoting Texas craft beer as world-class products; we’re focused on advocacy, trying to change Texas beer laws to make Texas a better state to do business in for craft brewers and a better state to love craft beer in if you’re a craft beer fan.”
Because, make no mistake, Texas is a huge state when it comes to craft beer, often ranking in the top ten in terms of barrels brewed, sheer number of breweries, and economic impact created by those breweries.
Ones like 8th Wonder Brewery, Austin Beerworks, Celestial Beerworks, Ghost Note Brewing, Good Line Beer Co., Hold Out Brewing, Jester King Brewery, Live Oak Brewing Company, Meanwhile Brewing, Oskar Blues, Roughhouse Brewing, Saint Arnold Brewing Company, Vista Brewing, Whole Foods Market Brewing Company, and so many more.
All told, 330 breweries and breweries in planning make up the entire state guild with another 220 or so considered allied trade or retail members.
And in a state like Texas, where everything is bigger, that’s a pretty impressive number.
But interestingly enough, Wallace says there is still plenty of room for growth.
Because, with so many people living in the Lone Star State, Texas only ranks 47th in breweries per capita.
“We have a lot of room to grow,” says Wallace. “There are still good opportunities out there, there are still mid-sized cities in Texas with one, two, or no breweries.”
At the end of the day, the Texas Craft Brewers Guild has big plans for all those breweries.
What Are the Goals of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild in 2023?
Recently, the Texas Craft Brewers Guild completed a five-year strategic plan with the first steps falling into place in 2023. Coincidentally, the guild’s goals this year fall into those three aforementioned buckets: advocacy, education, and promotion.
From a legislative standpoint, the Texas Craft Brewers Guild will mainly be focusing on pushing direct-to-consumer delivery and shipping for breweries and brewpubs.
“We’re really focused on mobilizing brewers and craft beer fans to get behind this [during] this session,” says Wallace, noting that since the Texas legislature only meets every other year, 2023 will feature a big legislative focus for the guild.
On the education front, the guild will bring back their expanded multi-day summer conference called the Texas Brewery Roundup. In addition to an annual meeting in February in Austin, this extended version meets in July in Houston and includes a dual-track business and technical portion. There is even a day just for breweries-in-planning.
“We’re excited to bring that back for the second year,” says Wallace.
From a promotional perspective, the guild highlights this year will be continuing to promote the Texas Brewery Passport app, which people around the state can use to find breweries, as well as the Texas Craft Brewers Festival.
The biggest event the Texas Craft Brewers Guild holds every year, this beerfest invites 90 breweries to pour for over 5,000 attendees.
And next week, the guild will release all the winners of the now-annual Texas Craft Brewers Cup, a professional beer competition introduced for the first time last year where statewide breweries strut their stuff.
According to Wallace, breweries entered 850 beers in this year’s competition.
“Between all that, we’re always focused on creating value for our members, creating opportunities for members to connect and share their expertise, experience, and leadership with one another,” says Wallace. “I never want to lose sight of that, because that’s what guilds are all about. Our job as guild staff and guild board is creating those opportunities, steering the administrative ship so our members can come together and mutually learn and grow with the benefit of each other.”
What Are the Benefits for Texas Craft Brewers Guild Members?
The Texas Craft Brewers Guild is constantly fighting for the evolution and growth of craft beer in the Lone Star State.
Wallace picked out some of the biggest benefits of joining the guild.
In addition to hosting seventy networking gatherings throughout the state each year, other guild membership highlights include a listing in the Texas Brewery Passport app, which has over 12,000 active users, access to a free job board (which Wallace says is the second-highest trafficked page on their site), and a group health insurance plan.
The guild also provides discounted refrigerated group shipping for three major competitions through the year: the Texas Craft Brewers Cup, Great American Beer Festival, and World Beer Cup.
“That’s the one tangible ROI example that a lot of members benefit from,” says Wallace.
Membership to the Texas Craft Brewers Guild is $300 a year and includes all the following benefits:
- List your brewery in Texas Brewery Passport™, the official app of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, an exclusive benefit only available to operating Guild member breweries
- Plug into your local Guild region within the state (Central Texas, North Texas, Houston, San Antonio, East Texas, and South Texas) and attend monthly Guild Gatherings hosted by rotating breweries in each region
- Lend your voice to the Guild’s craft beer advocacy activities at the state capitol by joining the legislative committee and getting involved with CraftPAC
- Access the member dashboard and add staff users to your account for free to maximize your connections and use of resources within the Guild
- Access a members-only forum where brewery owners and staff trade/sell ingredients, discuss equipment, share vendor recommendations, problem solve, share brewery promotions, find help with TABC issues, post job opportunities, and more; use the forum to connect with and learn about Allied Trade members who offer products and services to craft brewers
- Access customized, comprehensive, high-quality employee benefits programs for as few as two employees through a partnership with WinStar Insurance Group
- Register to attend the Guild’s conferences and educational events including: Annual Meeting (members-only), Texas Brewery Roundup (substantial member discount available), webinars, etc.
- Identify a Voting Member at your brewery to participate in official Guild action and Board member elections
- Stay up to date on industry news with Guild email updates and monthly newsletters
- Create ticketing for your brewery events at no direct cost through a partnership with Ticket Sauce
- Participate in Guild-run beer festivals and consumer-facing Texas craft beer promotions like the Texas Craft Brewers Festival and Small Business Saturday Keep-the-Glass event
- Get your brewery listed on the Guild’s online member listing
- Pay less for secure, refrigerated group shipping for your brewery’s World Beer Cup and GABF beer entries
- Receive a Guild logo tin tacker and window cling for your taproom
- Network with fellow brewers from all over the state and contribute to the craft brewery community
- Access pathways to becoming an industry leader by serving on committees and running for the Guild’s board
Beyond all these benefits, here are the big events the Texas Craft Brewers Guild has planned this year.
The Four Texas Craft Brewers Guild Events You Can’t Miss This Year
The Texas Craft Brewers Guild has a whole slate of amazing events planned for 2023.
Texas Craft Brewers Cup
This statewide professional beer competition returns for its second year.
In 2022, 131 Texas craft breweries submitted 755 beers in 150+ beer styles and 27 medal categories.
Eighty-one beers picked up medals from fifty-seven different breweries.
Such as Live Oak Brewing, who nabbed a gold for their pilsner, curiously also named Gold!
Or Real Ale Brewing Company who won a gold medal in the “Strong German & Czech Lagers” category for their River Baptism.
See all previous winners here.
This year, 147 breweries entered 852 beers in the Texas Craft Brewers Cup. Winners will be announced during the Texas Annual Meeting & Trade Show on Feb. 11, 2023.
UPDATE 2/13/22: This past weekend, the Texas Craft Brewers Guild awarded 81 medals in 27 medal categories covering 150+ different beer styles to 54 small and independent breweries from across the Lone Star State.
View this year’s winners here.
Texas Brewery Roundup
An annual conference designed for a weekend of education and networking, the Texas Brewery Roundup includes a robust trade show and various seminars.
The Texas Craft Brewers Guild just introduced this event last year in order to expand the opportunities for breweries across the state to participate.
Texas Craft Brewers Festival
The largest annual celebration of small and independent Texas craft breweries, Texas Craft Brewers Festival features ninety of the state’s finest breweries.
Taking place this year on Sept. 30, 2023, at Fiesta Gardens, a historic public park in East Austin, this beer festival promises to reach the Texas Craft Brewers Guild’s goals to promote and propel local breweries.
Small Business Saturday
Breweries throughout the state support this Saturday in November, encouraging consumers to come and drink at the eighty-five-plus small and independent craft breweries and retailers in Texas.
Each year the guild finds a different local artist to design a glass that is available for purchase at any participating brewery across the state.
Last year, Wallace says, the event had a great reception. “We had a few breweries that sold out within minutes,” she says. “We’re excited to keep building support around that event.”
In general, because once again Texas is such a huge state, the guild hopes to invest in more events like this in the future. “We’re trying to think of things that, instead of getting people out to a festival, get them out to breweries all across the state,” says Wallace.