By Moses Leos III
Local distillers and brewers have taken an interest in Buda and city leaders are starting to take notice.
As one brewery is slated to open in Buda this winter, Ann Miller, Executive Director of the Buda Economic Development Corporation, said she’s seen an increased interest from small craft brewing and micro distillery operations on possibly setting up in Buda.
“It’s a growing industry in Central Texas,” Miller said. “Buda is attractive. It’s close to Austin and the Hill Country…and it’s a lot less to locate in Buda than in Austin.”
Miller said as the craft brewing market grows, the city has seen many people who have home brewing operations wanting to open their own businesses.
She cited Two Wheel Brewing, which is slated to open this winter, whose owner, Mark Woffenden, went from being a former teacher to a home brewer.
Two Wheel would be the second alcohol production business to take root in Buda. Remington Family Distillery, which produces coffee liqueur, currently operates on Precision Drive.
Miller said there is a possible distilling operation, which is currently under the code name “Project Bourbon,” that has expressed possible interest in being located in Buda, but could not go into further detail.
She said the project is “on the table” and that no agreements have been reached.
Buda Mayor Todd Ruge said the sparked interest from brewers and distillers is “very positive.” Rules in Travis County and in Hays County are “restrictive,” Ruge said. He added the city offers a “very low tax rate” and the EDC could offer incentives “if they see fit.”
“It’s an emerging business type. Often, these smaller brands end up becoming national brands,” Ruge said. “To have the possibility of a small brewing company come in and make it big, it brings a positive light to your city.”
Ruge also cited impacts on property and sales tax, depending on the kind of operation. Miller said the projects could also see an increase in value of property depending on facilities they need and any possible future build out.
Two Wheel’s direct impact to Buda over ten years is estimated to exceed $80,000, Miller said in an emailed response. The business is also projected to create 18.4 permanent jobs over the course of ten years.
The business could also generate roughly a net benefit of $72,646 to Hays CISD over that ten-year period, with $94,718 to Hays County.
Buda residents could potentially see any future distillery or brewery business set up in properties zoned industrial along South Loop 4 and Robert S. Light Blvd., Miller said. She said such businesses must develop on property zoned as industrial, per Buda zoning laws.
It could allow for any potential businesses to have a tasting room near the downtown corridor, while also having a production facility.
Ruge hopes to see not only an increase in economic impact, but also the growth of business.
“It’s our hope and dream, not just with alcohol businesses,” Ruge said. “Seeing a business thrive and become part of the community and expand and grow with us.”
Giving Buda brand recognition is an attribute for Miller.
“I’m excited to see breweries and distilleries here,” Miller said. “If they locate here, it not only gives us economic revenue and traffic, but it also gives our city brand recognition.”