The battle for Texas manufacturing craft breweries to sell their products in their taprooms has reached a historic moment, as the two largest opposing lobbying groups in the fight have reached an agreement that could bring to-go sales to taprooms more quickly than expected.
The Texas Craft Brewers Guild, a trade association that represents nearly 300 Texas craft breweries, and the Beer Alliance of Texas, a trade association representing malt beverage distributors across the state, reached a stakeholder agreement on Wednesday to file committee substitutes on current bipartisan bills in the Texas Legislature that support to-go sales at manufacturing craft breweries.
According to the agreement, SB 312 and HB 672 would call for allowing patrons at manufacturing craft breweries (such as Saint Arnold Brewing Co., Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co., and 8th Wonder Brewing Co.) to purchase up to 576 ounces (or 48 cans, or two cases) of beer per day for take-home consumption.
Sen. Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway) and Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin), who authored the Senate and House bills, respectively, endorsed the agreement Tuesday.
“I am proud to be part of a win-win agreement for every level of the three-tier system,” said Buckingham. “This is a big step forward for small Texas breweries and the consumers who enjoy their products. I am grateful to both the Beer Alliance of Texas and the Texas Craft Brewers Guild for their willingness to reach a fair agreement for both sides of this important issue.”
"Allowing ‘beer-to-go’ sales is a common-sense issue that both Republicans and Democrats agree on because it’s good for small business and has come to be expected by consumers,” said Rodriguez. “Texans are incredibly excited about ‘beer-to-go’ as the public support for HB 672/SB 312 has shown, and I am glad that the Texas Craft Brewers Guild and the Beer Alliance of Texas have come to the table.”
As part of the agreement, any product for sale in a taproom that doesn't have an approved label must have a posted alcohol content available, and breweries must report to TABC on a monthly basis the total amount of on-premise and off-premise sales. Plus, the sides will also refrain from lobbying to raise or lower the allowable cap of 5,000 barrels on Texas malt beverage for 12 years.
As for the current bills in the Legislature, the Senate bill is already in committee, while the House bill has yet to reach committee.