Oh Happy Day....Beer-To-Go Passes the Texas Senate!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

TABC SUNSET BILL PASSES TEXAS SENATE WITH BEER-TO-GO!

Comprehensive Bill Which Has Now Passed Both Legislative Chambers

Contains Historic Gains for Texas Craft Brewers and Consumers

AUSTIN, Texas (May 23, 2019) — In a landmark victory for the Texas craft brewing industry and craft beer

consumers, substantial modernizations to Texas beer laws, including the ability for manufacturing craft

breweries to sell Beer-To-Go, passed the Texas Senate Wednesday evening with a unanimous vote.

Contingent upon the House concurring and the Governor’s signature on the bill, Beer-To-Go sales are

expected to begin September 1, 2019.

“This legislation represents the most comprehensive and positive reform of the Texas Alcoholic

Beverage Code in a generation, while serving the entire industry from the manufacturer down to the

consumer,” Texas Craft Brewers Guild Executive Director Charles Vallhonrat said. “Brewers will see

reduced regulation, the elimination of redundant licensing, and the ability to get product to market

faster. Distributors and retailers will see a stronger market with even greater brand choice. And most

importantly, consumers will enjoy the fruit of these improvements, including the ability to buy Beer-To-

Go from their favorite brewery.”

Under the final Senate bill, patrons will be able to purchase up to 288 fluid ounces of beer per calendar

day from a brewery’s tasting room. The allotment is the equivalent of one case of 12 oz bottles or cans—

or—nine 32 oz crowlers.

Texas is currently the only state in the entire country to prohibit manufacturing breweries from selling

Beer-To-Go. State Representative Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) and State Senator Dawn Buckingham (RLakeway)

set out to change that this session by authoring companion bills HB 672 and SB 312,

respectively. After both bills stalled in committee without being granted a hearing, the authors

successfully attached Beer-To-Go amendments to the broader reforms of the TABC Sunset Bill,

narrowly passing the House on April 25 before yesterday’s passage in the Senate.

Unanimous passage of both the Beer-To-Go amendment and the overall Sunset Bill in the Senate came

after a stakeholder agreement was reached between The Texas Craft Brewers Guild, the Beer Alliance

of Texas (BAT), and the Wholesale Beer Distributors of Texas (WBDT) compromising to reduce the perperson

Beer-To-Go limit from two cases to one case per day. Texas craft brewers owe a debt of gratitude

to Senator Brian Birdwell, Senator Dawn Buckingham, Representative Eddie Rodriguez, and Representative Chris Paddie for their work bringing the industry, and in turn, the legislature, to

consensus behind Beer-To-Go and other key aspects of the larger Sunset bill.

“For the first time in Texas, you will be able to take a little bit of your favorite craft beer home from a

brewery to share with friends,” Senator Dawn Buckingham said. “This is a huge win for craft beer

enthusiasts and also for the tourism it brings. This legislation will help Texans celebrate our great

products and share them with the world!”

While not codified in the bill itself, the three trade groups also agreed in writing to a 12 year moratorium

on lobbying to raise or lower the allowable malt beverage barrelage caps currently in code to ensure

stability in the market and security in business models.

“This enshrines some of our most important rights and lets brewers plan their businesses without the

fear of capricious policy change at the hands of other industry stakeholders,” Texas Craft Brewers Guild

Legislative Committee Chair and Austin Beerworks Co-Founder Adam DeBower said.

Some of the additional modernizations to Texas beer laws included in the TABC Sunset Bill which will

most impact craft brewers include:

• Harmonization of “Beer” (currently specified in the code as a malt beverage under 5% ABV) and “Ale”

(over 5% ABV) into the single category of Malt Beverage. Eliminating this old-fashioned distinction

allows for permit consolidation for manufacturers and one set of rules for marketing practices,

storage, taxation, reporting, etc. rather than today’s disparate rules for the two categories.

• Adoption of the lower, “Beer” excise tax for all malt beverages. This harmonization will result in an

excise tax reduction for craft brewers currently paying the “Ale” excise tax on the beers in their

portfolios over 5%.

• Self-distributing breweries gain the right to have out-of-county warehouses for malt beverages

which will allow them to serve greater areas of the state. Prior to this change, out-of-county

warehousing of Ale (over 5%) has been prohibited.

• Comprehensive label approval reform so the federal COLA (Certificate of Label Approval) is

accepted on the state level (as is currently allowed for wine and spirits in Texas, but not malt

beverages). This streamlining will allow brewers to get fresh beer to market faster by reducing long

wait times.

These reforms are poised to go into effect between 2019 and 2021.

Texas craft brewers have been advocating for Beer-To-Go and the other reforms contained in the Sunset

Bill for over a decade. The movement to #FixTexasBeerLaws gained tremendous steam in the run up to

the 86th Legislature with the formation of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild’s political action committee,

CraftPAC. Overwhelming grassroots advocacy led to over 15,000 petition signatures in favor of Beer-

To-Go and thousands of Texans reaching out to their legislators directly via calls, emails, and social

media to demand progress on this critical issue. This victory belongs to the thousands of Texans who

have fought so hard for this moment.

 
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What's On Tap Radio

What’s on Tap Radio is an award winning radio show hosted James Simpson and Chad Pilbeam, Sundays from 3-5PM on 950 KPRC and on IHeartRadio. WOTR covers news stories from around the world related to beer and brewing, presents content in a upbeat... Read more

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