Texas Craft Brewers Rally for Change to Antiquated Beer Laws

Over the course of a three-day weekend at the tail end of February, the Texas Craft Brewers Guild rallied with craft beer enthusiasts, hosted its largest annual gathering of members, and lobbied legislators for positive change to one of the state’s most antiquated beer laws.

Rally for Beer-To-Go

The weekend began with a Rally for Beer-To-Go at Austin Beerworks where state Senator Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway) and state Representative Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) spoke to Texas craft beer enthusiasts about SB 312 and HB 672. If passed, this bipartisan, companion legislation would make Texas the final state in the country to permit beer-to-go sales from manufacturing brewery tasting rooms. Currently, Texas wineries, distilleries, and brewpubs are permitted to sell their products for take-home consumption, but manufacturing breweries are prohibited from doing so.

Texas Craft Brewers Guild Annual Meeting

The next day, hundreds of brewers gathered for the 2019 Texas Craft Brewers Guild Annual Meeting, which featured presentations from the Brewers Association’s (BA) CEO Bob Pease and Diversity Ambassador Dr. J Nikol Jackson-Beckham, as well as stewardship updates from the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, and panels and presentations on tasting room management, marketing practices, collaboration beers, legislative updates, and the Guild’s health and wellness plans. The meeting’s accompanying trade show featured 40+ allied trade members of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, including equipment manufacturers, ingredient suppliers, and professional service providers.

Hill Climb

On February 25, approximately 60 brewers and Texas-based allied trade suppliers visited the state capitol building to meet with their elected representatives. The group conducted over 50 formal meetings, and dozens of office visits before heading to the House Chamber where Representative Eddie Rodriguez (Author of HB 672) introduced a resolution declaring it Texas Craft Brewers Day at the Capitol. The day ended with a reception for legislators and staff featuring (what else?) Texas craft beer.

Texas Craft Brewers attend annual hill climb in Austin, Texas (Photo @ Jason Youngblood)

The Texas legislative session runs through May 27. The Texas Craft Brewers Guild, along with its political action arm CraftPAC, will continue to advocate for passing beer-to-go this session. Though the companion bills still have a long way to go to pass both chambers and make their way across the governor’s desk, there have been several wins already, including reaching a historic stakeholder agreement with one of the wholesaler groups in Texas to secure their support of the bill, and, at last summer’s party conventions, both the Republican and Democratic parties actually went on record with their support for beer-to-go.

“The fact that both parties expressed unequivocal support for beer-to-go in their 2018 party platforms demonstrates the bipartisan, grassroots momentum surrounding this issue.” –Texas Craft Brewers Guild Executive Director Charles Vallhonrat

For more information on Beer-To-Go (including how you can help) visit CraftPAC.org/action.

Acacia serves as Brewers Guilds Manager on the Brewers Association Government Affairs team. Acacia's focus is on supporting organizational development of small non-profit U.S. state and regional brewers trade associations (also known as brewers guilds). Currently based out of Missoula, Montana, Acacia’s roles include crisscrossing the country participating in guild member and board meetings, climbing Capitol Hill, contributing to various national and international beer conferences, attending association management and regulatory conferences, and of course, reveling at beer festivals nation-wide.

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