Craft Beer Legislation Signed Into Texas Law

Craft brewers in Texas should have an easier time selling beer in the Lone Star State now that Gov. Rick Perry has officially signed five bills that promote the business efforts of small producers.

Last Friday, Gov. Perry signed off on bills SB 515-518 and SB 639, which make it easier for craft breweries and brewpubs to do business with distributors, retailers and consumers.

Together, bills 515-518 allow the breweries the ability to sell product directly to consumers for on-premise consumption while giving brewpubs the right to self-distribute (up to 1,000 barrels) and sell their products to wholesalers. They also adjust the state’s self-distribution laws, allowing breweries that do not exceed 125,000 barrels annually to sell up to 40,000 barrels themselves. SB 639 protects the three-tier system by prohibiting “reach-back pricing” and preventing breweries from selling distribution rights to wholesalers.

However, while craft breweries will now be able to sell visiting consumers a pint over the bar, they won’t be able to sell them beer to go. Legislation that would permit the sale of beer for off-premise consumption, something that both Texas-based wineries and distilleries are allowed to do, failed to pass.

The Texas Craft Brewers Guild — which promotes the interests of small, Texas-based breweries and brewpubs — applauded the legislation, saying that it was a “progressive step forward in making Texas the epicenter of craft beer development and growth.”

Austin-based Jester King Craft Brewery was also pleased with the decision. In a blog post published this morning, the company said it believes the signing of bills 515-518 into law, represents a “major step forward for beer in Texas.”

“With time, these changes will do wonders for the diversity and quality of the beer scene in our state,” someone from Jester King wrote. “Our beer culture will improve with the opening of new breweries and easier avenues to commercial success for existing breweries.”

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