Texas Breweries Get Boost on First Day of Legislature
Today, the first day of the 2019 Texas Legislative Session, bipartisan, companion bills were filed in both chambers supporting beer-to-go sales from Texas craft breweries.
State Sen. Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway) and state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) filed SB 312 and HB 672, respectively, which adds language permitting licensed beer manufacturers the ability to sell their packaged beer to customers from their taprooms.
Currently, manufacturers (like Saint Arnold, Southern Star, 8th Wonder, and Buffalo Bayou) can sell up to 5,000 barrels annually of beer to tasting room visitors for on-site consumption; to sell to-go, breweries must be licensed as brewpubs, which means their total production cannot exceed 10,000 barrels. Texas is the only state in the country that doesn't allow breweries to sell their product to-go.
Basically, craft breweries are limited in the number of options they have in getting their product to consumers. Beer producers across the state are hoping the Legislature's move today is the first step to loosening the beer laws.
“The fact that both parties expressed unequivocal support for beer-to-go in their 2018 platforms demonstrates the bipartisan, grassroots momentum surrounding this issue,” said Texas Craft Brewers Guild Executive Director Charles Vallhonrat. “This is something Texans care about and the more they continue to make their voices heard, the harder it gets for big beer distributors to ask lawmakers to defy the will of their constituents and vote against something that both major political parties, the brewing industry, and consumers support.”
The Texas Craft Brewers Guild, through its lobbying arm Craft PAC, is asking for signatures to an online petition urging state lawmakers to support the legislation.