There’s no denying Texans like beer; on average, we each drank 22 gallons of beer in 2010, according to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. We also drank 1.1 gallons of distilled spirits, AKA liquor. At 1.5 ounces a shot, that equals 94 mixed drinks for each of us last year.
Not me, you say? Check out our interactive map of per capita mixed beverage taxes to see where Texans are going out for drinks.
Texas collects revenue from the sale of alcohol in two ways. Wholesale distributors are taxed a set rate per gallon of alcohol they sell to retailers. Retailers — bars, restaurants, stadiums, hotels — are taxed 14 percent of the price of alcoholic drinks they sell to customers. Consumption estimates are based on tax collections, because all of the alcohol distributed in the state is taxed this way. Mixed beverage taxes don’t include grocery or convenience stores, so looking at where this revenue comes from regionally only points to where Texans go out to drink the most — Austin’s 6th Street — and where drinks are pricier — urban areas.
A sizable chunk of the state's general revenue — $635 million — in 2010 came from the mixed beverage tax. In terms of total revenue, the top five grossing counties in order of population size are Harris, Dallas, Tarrant, Bexar and Travis. Harris County alone raked in more than $135 million from the sale of mixed drinks.
But in per capita rates, Travis County takes the cake. The average person paid $62 in taxes to drink at bars, restaurants or football games in 2010. Could that have something to do with a major university located smack-dab in the middle of the county? Dallas County residents paid the second-highest, $40 on average, Bexar and Tarrant county residents paid $38 and Harris residents paid $35.