Long before the introduction of legal distillation of whiskey in Texas, pioneers were making whiskey illegally, known as white lightning. Laws from the late 1800s forced many establishments to close and this was before the passage of the national Prohibition law in the 1900s. Many of the earlier laws were made by local jurisdictions who were allowed to decide if they were “wet” or “dry.”
According to the Texas Distilled Spirits Association,the first distiller permit was granted by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission in 1995. Thirteen or so years later the Commission issued only 11 more licenses. By 2016 more than 90 licenses have been issued to distillers in Texas.
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