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Mar-21-2017 11:39printcomments

Is it the Time for Texas Brewery Sales?

The lone star state is undergoing "the popularity of brews" growing pains.

Texas breweries
Texas breweries are fighting for the right to sell their products.

(SALEM, Ore.) - Texans have sure come to love their craft beers. Maybe it’s all those immigrants from California, but customers are not so quick to order Shiner or Lone Star. At least that’s true of the new urban Texans. Texas beverage law is having some trouble keeping up with all the changes. But, so far, Texas Beer defines:

  • A brewery is defined as a traditional brewer who packages their beer for retail sale, like bottles, cans or kegs.
  • A brewpub is defined as a brewer who produces beer for sale on-site, such as in an associated pub or restaurant.
  • Amateur home brewing clubs organize and operate across the state, and many serve as a vehicle for education, training and consulting for brewers who eventually turn pro.

How does Texas regulate beer?

Well, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has pages of rules on the creation, storage, distribution, and sale of alcohol. But, to keep this focused, according to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission:

  • A Brewer is permitted to manufacture ale and malt liquor and to sell the ale and malt liquor only to wholesale permit holders in Texas and qualified persons outside Texas.
  • A BrewPub license allows holder to manufacture, brew, bottle, can, package and label malt liquor, ale, and beer; sell or offer without charge, on the premises of the brewpub, to ultimate consumers for consumption on or off those premises the product produced by the holder in or from a lawful container. Total production cannot exceed 5,000 barrels for each licensed location.

When breweries become bars

Austin, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston, and San Antonio all have guided tours to breweries in those cities and the countryside nearby. It’s the latest thing, you see, but you won’t find such trendy tastings in East or West Texas, no matter how dry your thirst is. Not even top pr firms have been able to get past local prejudices.

But, Texas breweries had not been permitted to sell their product to visitors or walk-in customers.

Consequently, the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, the organization that advances the interests of the state’s craft brewers, have been pressing for TABC permission to be able to sell beer to-go from their taprooms.

Texas law permits brewpubs, but not production breweries, to sell beer in bottles, cans and growlers to-go from their facility, production breweries are shooting for similar privileges. Distilleries and wineries can sell their goods as well.

And, so it stands before the 2017 Texas Legislature. After all, the state’s beer distributors are not happy with the direction the craft brewers want to go. And, all the interested parties are watching the outcome of a lawsuit filed by John Reardon of Deep Ellum Brewing.

Other social forces in Texas are opposed to the sale and consumption of alcohol with many counties dry as late as the turn of the 21st-century. Consumers can take some comfort in the failure of Senate Bill 1386 to see the light of day.

That law would have complicated brewery interests by limiting sales to consumers on the brewer’s premises for off-premises consumption to one purchase per consumer per month and limiting that purchase to 576 fluid ounces.

What’s the option?

Craft brewers, customers, and anyone interested in the business should see the complexity of Texas’ laws. It’s a challenging course with many obstacles needing a TABC expert.

Texas legislators may put this issue to bed in 2017, but this particular issue has been trying to get their attention for years. So, it will be interesting to see what happens.

Michael F. Carroll, Contributing Writer

Mike Carroll is a freelance contributor to Towering SEO and OutreachMama who helps businesses find their audience online through research, content copy, and white papers. He frequently writes about management, marketing, and sales with customized outreach for digital marketing channels and outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.


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