Don’t start a “what’s bigger” debate with a Texan unless you have a few hours to spare. Texans are very devoted to their diverse state and take pride in flying their flag at the same height as the American flag. Their state flower, the bluebonnet, is so protected by the law that state troopers are fined if they run over the flower trying to catch speeders. Luckily for them, it only blooms 3 weeks a year.
Due to the size of Texas it is the only state which has almost every terrain on earth including deserts, swamps and coastlines. It is also one of the most culturally and socially diverse states. As an example, Austin and West Texas are very different. Historically, West Texas is known for oil and cattle but Austin has changed its persona by becoming “The Music Capital of the World” & America’s second biggest technology city, just after Silicon Valley.
Texans have a big appetite and love their breakfast tacos, Tex-Mex, BBQ and frito pie, so our list primarily consists of food but there are a few companies in Texas that may surprise you.
Dell Computer, Georgetown, TX
Electronics is the biggest offender of off-shoring but Dell Computers got its start from Michael Dell, a University of Texas dropout, who built the first computer in his dorm room. Despite having factories all around the world they have a huge manufacturing facility in Georgetown, Texas employing 16,000 people locally.
Justin Boots, Fort Worth, TX
There are hundreds of custom bootmakers in Texas with craftsmen using materials from plain leather to exotic animal skins. Justin Boots has a long history beginning in the late 1800s in Gainseville, TX. Like many other companies they began manufacturing their boots overseas but continue to make many of the boots at their Forth Worth facility. If you want to buy Texas boots, stop at the legendary Allens Boots in Austin which sells boots and clothing from all over Texas.
Toyota, San Antonio, TX
In 2003 Toyota opened a new 2,000,000 square foot assembly plant in San Antonio hiring 1,850 people to build the Tundra pickup truck and it was the commitment to creating zero waste that put the plant in the headlines. Their plant has become the model for the most advanced technologies to convert landfill gas and solid waste into fuel.
Dublin Dr. Pepper, Dublin, TX
Many Americans know the Waco-based Dr. Pepper soda but Texans love the variation known as Dublin Dr. Pepper. It is made with Imperial Cane Sugar from Sugarland, Texas instead of high-fructose corn syrup. When the Snapple company acquired Dr. Pepper, various disputes had to be resolved and the Dublin variety had to be renamed Dublin Bottling Works. Now the soda is only available in and around Dublin, TX.
Snickers, Waco, TX
The most popular peanut-packed chocolate bar is made at the Mars Inc. plant in Waco, TX along with Milky Way and 3 Musketeers. Interestingly, all chocolate bars at the plant with more than 250 calories will be discontinued which means the bars made will be smaller. The larger bars will still be made in other facilities outside of Texas.
Whole Foods, Austin, TX
To long-time Austinites from the 70′s and early 80′s, Whole Foods is remembered as a tiny organic store on Lamar that was flooded and nearly driven out-of-business in 1981. However, they recovered and in 1984 they opened stores in Houston and Dallas which was the beginning of their empire during the whole food explosion. In 2002 they expanded into Canada and the UK. Today their headquarters is located just down the road from their original location and is a popular tourist destination. Each store carries products from local artists and companies.
Pace Picante Sauce, San Antonio, TX
In late 2000, salsa became more popular in households than ketchup with Pace Picante Sauce becoming the most popular brand. In 2008 Pace launched a popular commercial comparing its salsa to those made in other parts of the country. This campaign popularized the saying “This Stuff’s Made in New York City!” referring to the competitor’s salsa. Pace was acquired by Campbell’s Soup Company in 1995.
Shiner Bock Beer, Shiner, TX
Choosing a favorite beer of Texas is nearly impossible when you consider that Lone Star Beer and many others are brewed in the state. Shiner has become a favorite beer of Texas with their original brew and seasonal favorites such as Shiner Blonde and Holiday Cheer brewed with Texas peaches and pecans. Shiner is made at the Spoetzl Brewery which in the 80′s had 1% of the Texas beer market and today it’s the fourth largest craft brewery in America.
Blue Bell Ice Cream, Brenham, TX
This little creamery is beloved in Texas and has been around since 1907. If you opened anyone’s freezer in the 70s and 80s there would always be a gallon of Homemade Vanilla inside. Blue Bell was also the first to produce the Cookies ‘n Cream flavor which contained actual Oreo cookies when it launched though they make their own cookies today. Long before other ice cream companies created unusual flavor combinations they were serving up Fruit Special with chunks of candied fruit, Butter Pecan and Texas Peach.
San Antonio Shoemakers (SAS), San Antonio, TX
SAS has been making hand-crafted shoes and handbags since 1976. Primarily known for being the “comfortable” shoe, they are popular among seniors and those with leg injuries.
Are you from Texas? Traveled in Texas? Did we miss your favorites?
What do you love that’s made in Texas? Do tell.
Sherry Holdridge is the co-founder and CEO of OhSayUSA.com, a website featuring American-made products. They describe themselves as the Lewis & Clark of goods, mapping their way across the states looking for companies that have been here since the 1800′s and who are inventing the next great American innovation.
Other guest posts in this series:
Stuff we love, Made in Georgia
Stuff we love, Made in Pennsylvania
Stuff we love, Made in South Carolina
Stuff we love, Made in Wisconsin
Stuff we love, Made in Oregon
Stuff we love, Made in Ohio
Stuff we love, Made in Arizona
Stuff we love, Made in Washington State
Stuff we love, Made in Florida