We the People

Texas Craft Brewers Seek State Assistance

The Lone Star State's largest craft beer organization has rolled out a petition.

By Timothy Malcolm April 10, 2020

We may be missing our flights, but a Texas Craft Brewers Guild petition is calling for easier accessibility to local beer.

Like their counterparts running restaurants, brewery owners and brewmasters have been walloped by the impact of COVID-19's spread in Texas.

According to the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, craft breweries are experiencing, on average, a 71 percent decline in revenue since closing their taprooms for regular service and pivoting to to-go-only sales.

That's per a survey from the Brewers Guild. Other findings: 90 percent of the respondents have shifted to a beer-to-go-only model, while 67 percent have reduced production.

"We can't count on keg distribution sales right now," Great Heights Brewing co-owner Patrick Christian told Houstonia two weeks ago. "Brewing full batches on our system will produce more volume than we probably need for just to-go sales."

Because of the decrease in production and sales, breweries have had to furlough or lay off employees. According to the Brewers Guild survey, 63 percent of breweries had to go that route, and those breweries laid off about 65 percent of workers, on average.

It's for those reasons that the Guild is hoping Gov. Greg Abbott takes action to help the state craft beer industry. The organization has launched a petition requesting that the governor enact measures to provide relief to craft brewers. Among the measures requested:

  • Temporarily allow breweries and brewpubs to deliver beer to customers directly.
  • Temporarily suspend collection of Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission excise tax payments.
  • Issue excise tax credits for surplus beer disposed as a result of COVID-19 impacts.

"Our members tell us daily how they are working feverishly to adjust to the rapidly changing business environment during this tragic health and safety crisis, with the primary goal of protecting their employees and customers," Charles Vallhonrat, executive director of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, said in a release. "Giving these small businesses the tools they need to ensure they can protect their own and serve their community is our first priority and we are certain Governor Abbott and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Industry also want to ensure the health and economic safety of this vital Texas industry.”

The petition has more than 16,000 signatures thus far. You can read and sign the petition here.

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