Dripping Springs hospitality industry booming despite COVID-19 setbacks – KVUE.com

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DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas — Dripping Springs is living up to its name as the wedding capital of Texas. The hospitality industry there is growing and thriving despite challenges from the pandemic.

“It is, in fact, truly the wedding capital of Texas, according to the Texas legislature. They even agree,” said Gary Kelleher, the co-founder of Dripping Springs Distilling. “Within this area, there are 27 different venues and they are full all the time.”
The high demand for wedding venues is one reason why Kelleher said Dripping Springs Distilling opened its brand-new events center on Saturday. It consists of a distiller’s hall, distiller’s bar, tasting room and an outdoor area.

“Folks want to get married here. And, so, the only thing that made sense to us was to build a space that we can utilize for weddings, for events, really for all kinds of things,” explained Kelleher.
With most weddings put on hold this past year due to COVID-19, Susan Kimball, who is the president of the Dripping Springs Chamber of Commerce, said their economy did take a direct hit.
“Lodging certainly took a hit,” said Kimball. “People weren’t traveling as much as they had been before, so traffic was just down.”
But now, this summer and fall, traffic has been busy as people rebooked their weddings, on top of the other weddings already scheduled.
“I guess it’s pent-up demand because we were getting a tremendous number of wedding inquiries,” shared Kelleher. “You know, before we even opened the doors, we had weddings booked.”
Dripping Springs is not only busy with tourists but more and more people are moving to the area.
“So we’re experiencing, and have been experiencing, exponential growth across the board,” explained Kimball. “So residential, you know, there are the families moving into the area and people moving into the area, our school district is increasing the population year over year, the student population, and we are building new schools and facilities.”
In 2010, there were 1,788 people who called the city of Dripping Springs home. Now, the just-released 2020 Census data shows the population has more than doubled to 4,650.
With the fall wedding season almost here, venues and distilleries in the Dripping Springs area are staying busy. And even with the uncertainty of the pandemic, they hope to continue to grow together.
“All of the folks who are in the business here know each other and we’re all friendly with each other. So it’s actually a great environment,” said Kelleher.
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