Tito’s boss stakes Manhattan-sized claim in Texas

Vodka billionaire amasses 13,000-acre land portfolio near Austin

Tito's Handmade Vodka founder Tito Beveridge (Tito's Vodka, Getty)
Tito's Handmade Vodka founder Tito Beveridge (Tito's Vodka, Getty)

Not content with his liquor empire, the Tito’s Vodka founder has been quietly amassing a Texas land fortune that’s now almost as big as Manhattan.

Entities tied to Bert Butler Beveridge II — better known as Tito Beveridge — have been stockpiling land outside Austin since 2020, the Wall Street Journal reported. Property and court records show holdings of about 13,000 acres — just 1,600 less than New York’s best-known borough.

Tax authorities recently appraised land holdings associated with Beveridge in the Austin area — at least some of it in Bastrop County — at more than $220 million. Due to the generous tax abatements Texas gives owners of ranch land, however, the taxable value is just $6.4 million, according to public records. Agricultural tax breaks are one of main drivers behind a billionaire land rush in Sunbelt states, according to the Journal.

If all of Beveridge’s 13,000 Texas acres are included in that valuation, his land would have an appraised market value of about $17,000 an acre. That’s a little below the $18,000 per acre Land.com reported as the average sales price for undeveloped land nationwide in the second quarter of 2022.

A 546-acre film studio and entertainment district with an estimated cost of $40 million is slated to open nearby in Bastrop County, 30 miles east of Austin, in 2023.

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Beveridge worked in the mortgage business and the Texas’ oil and gas industry before founding Fifth Generation, the company that produces Tito’s Handmade Vodka, in the mid-1990s. He began distilling under a license in 1995 and opened Texas’ first legal distillery in southeast Austin in 1997. The company had about a one-quarter share of the U.S. vodka market and $1.4 billion of revenue in 2020, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index. His net worth is $5.2 billion, Forbes reported.

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— Cindy Widner