The Texas Supreme Court today declined to hear a constitutional challenge brought by three craft breweries to a 2013 state law that stripped beer companies of the ability to sell their distribution rights to wholesalers. The Institute for Justice, a law firm representing the three craft breweries, called the Supreme Court’s refusal to review the case today “a blow to the economic liberty of all Texans.”
Texas craft brewers’ efforts to legalize beer-to-go sales is closer to passage than ever before. On Wednesday, Texas Senators unanimously passed sweeping legislation to maintain operations of the state’s alcohol regulatory body, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), along with several changes to the state’s alcoholic beverage code, including an amendment that would permit a majority of the state’s manufacturing breweries to sell their offerings for off-premise consumption.
The Texas Craft Brewers Guild’s effort to legalize beer to-go sales inched closer to reality this week, when powerful lobbying group the Wholesale Beer Distributors of Texas (WBDT) agreed to back a measure that, if passed, would allow consumers to purchase up to a case of beer a day from the Lone Star State’s manufacturing breweries.
Texas’ craft brewers and wholesalers have agreed to a compromise in the years-long debate over to-go beer sales at manufacturing breweries. A “stakeholder agreement” announced Wednesday evening by the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, which represents the state’s nearly 300 craft breweries, and the Beer Alliance of Texas, a powerful wholesaler lobbying group, has the potential to finally legalize off-premise sales at the Lone Star State’s manufacturing breweries.
Nearly a month after Diversified Metal Engineering (DME) entered into receivership, a Texas craft brewery that paid the Canadian brewing equipment manufacturer more than $1 million in deposits is ceasing operations. In a December 21 social media post, Big Bend Brewing Co. announced it would “suspend operations” after six years, and shutter its taproom effective December 31.
The owners of two Texas craft beer companies are encouraging the state’s wholesalers to work with them on modernizing alcoholic beverage laws that bar manufacturing breweries from selling beer to go. During a Brew Talks panel discussion, held last week in conjunction with the National Beer Wholesalers Association Next Generation conference in Austin, Texas, Hops & Grain founder Josh Hare, who also chairs the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, argued that the “marriage” between suppliers and wholesalers should work more like a partnership and less like “a parent-child relationship.”