The legislative session is in full swing and bills are pouring in. Two such bills were filed that would legalize to-go sales from craft breweries. If this were to be legalized it would affect everyone in the industry from brewers down to Travis County DWI attorneys.
Currently it is illegal for craft breweries to sell directly from the brewery. This is because the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission doesn’t permit breweries from selling beer-to-go.
The Craft PAC, a craft brewery political action committee, is fighting to change these laws and has been lobbying at the capitol. Texas State Senator Dawn Buckingham, Republican, and State Representative Eddie Rodriguez, Democrat, filed companion bills in both legislative chambers, SB 312 and HB 672. These bills are hoped to change these restrictive laws.
“To-go sales are now legal for craft breweries in 49 other states! In other words, Texas breweries do not get to compete on a level playing field with breweries in the rest of the country and over 90 percent of Americans get to enjoy a right that Texans who value direct access to locally manufactured goods do not,” according to the Craft Pac’s website.
The bills would add off-premise consumption to the current law allowing breweries to sell their canned beer, growlers and crowlers. This is already legal for Texas distilleries, wineries and brewpubs.
“As the Senate bill sponsor of the “Beer To-Go” bill I am very excited to join House Bill author Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, and other lawmakers, in officially announcing a historic agreement to allow consumers to purchase products to take with them from Texas breweries,” Senator Dawn Buckingham said in a statement on Facebook.
Texas beer distributors are adamantly against allowing breweries to sell directly to customers because it would cut in to their business. The Beer Alliance of Texas is the PAC that represents distributors and they actively lobby against these laws every year.
“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. 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,” Representative Eddie Rodriguez said in a statement.
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