As a craft beer lover and advocate, you may have heard a bit about Texas’ battle against antiquated laws that hold back Texas breweries and distributors alike. This year, two bills that would give more leniency for brewpubs and microbreweries have been squashed; House Bill 660 and HB 602.
House Bill 660 would have given Texas brewpubs the right to sell their delicious beer off-premises. The bill was not passed, so these businesses can still only sell beer from their pubs. The worst part about this is that out-of-state brewpubs are allowed to bottle their beers and have them distributed to stores in Texas, while Texas’ own brewpubs cannot. Why would a state not want to give their own brewpubs an equal chance?
House Bill 602 would have given Texas microbreweries the ability to (in a way) sell their beers on-premises. Technically they still couldn’t sell their beers, but they would’ve been able to give visitors up to 12 bottled beers at the end of a paid tour. This bill would’ve gone into effect for breweries that product 75K barrels or less per year. Sadly, not even this bill was passed, leaving these small businesses in an antiquated lurch.
Enter Open the Taps. According to Leslie Sprague, Open the Taps’ Secretary/Media Relations, "the recent demise of [the two bills] that would have significantly improved the horizon for the Texas craft beer industry, coupled with the outdated restrictions on the industry, led a few citizens to band together to garner real change in our state laws to benefit the craft beer community."
The grassroots organization hopes that "by approaching legislative change from the consumer side, as opposed to from within the industry, [they’ll] reach more Texas residents on a personal level in order to bring change from the ground-up, unifying voters and consumers into one voice."
Cheers to Houston citizens banding together for change in craft beer and best of luck to them in spreading awareness of their efforts across the state!
[techtags:OPEN THE TAPS, TEXAS BEER LAWS, CRAFT BEER]