Craft breweries in Texas could soon be allowed to sell beer directly to consumers for off-site consumption.
A pair of companion bills introduced into the Texas Senate and House of Representatives would give manufacturing breweries producing less than 225,000 barrels annually the right to sell as much as two cases (576 oz.) of beer, every month, to a single consumer. Currently, only brewpubs are allowed to sell beer packaged for off-site consumption.
Introduced by Texas Senator Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler), Senate Bill 1386 builds on legislation he introduced in 2013, which, at the time, gave breweries the ability to sell beer to visitors to drink on-site in taprooms.
Along with a companion House Bill 3086 introduced by Rep. Jim Keffer (R-Eastland), the legislation is aimed at bolstering the state’s “reputation as a craft beer destination,” the Texas Craft Brewers Guild said in a press statement.
“Texas craft brewers continue to bring economic growth, jobs, and national recognition to the state,” Senator Eltife said in the release. “This legislation is designed to finish what we started last session and bring people from around the country to this state which is rapidly becoming the epicenter of craft brewing quality.”
Charles Vallhonrat, the executive director of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild told Brewbound that it plans to make a “big push” behind the two bills.
“It is a major component of our overall legislative agenda and is one that has the most public support,” he said.
If passed, the proposed legislation would benefit more than 90 current and planned Texas breweries and could be signed into law as early as Sept. 1.
“We are working very closely with our legislators and their staffs to make sure they understand the economics of beer and the benefits to the state,” Vallhonrat said.
According to a press release, beer production from Texas breweries making less than 225,000 barrels per year grew 44 percent in 2013. Those companies also delivered an economic impact of $2.3 billion in 2013.
Vallhonrat said he is hopeful the two bills will pass through committee and be heard on the Senate and House floors in May.
“This gives Texas breweries the same rights already enjoyed by wineries, distilleries and many of their out-of-state competitors,” Representative Keffer said in a press statement. “Most important, it gives consumers greater access to Texas-made beer.”