Brew News

Craft beer bills, both good and bad, pass through Texas House

Craft beer bills, both good and bad, pass through Texas House

Beer sampler
The craft beer bills passed through the Texas House and now await Gov. Perry's approval.  Courtesy photo

The sudsy five-some of beer laws that entered the state legislature earlier this spring passed through the Texas House on May 20. Now they are just waiting for Gov. Rick Perry to shoot off his gun to make it law, as is custom.

The bills' journeys have been covered here, particularly for the controversial SB 639, which was introduced after SB 515-518.

SB 639 raised eyebrows when State Sen. John Carona (R-Dallas) introduced the bill in February, because it would take away brewers’ ability to sell their distribution rights.

Local brewer Michael Peticolas blasted it as “anti-capitalistic” and “terrible,” and Deep Ellum Brewing Company thought that brewers “got hosed.”

The bill passed through the House with a vote of 122-26.

The four other bills, SB 515-518, faced even less resistance, garnering only 14 nay votes total. Those bills were viewed as more beneficial to brewers.

A quick look shows they allow some freedom to brewers and brewpubs to sell limited quantities of beer onsite and to retailers. 

  • SB 515 says that brewpubs can produce up to 10,000 barrels annually and sell up to 1,000 barrels (for individual brewpubs) and 2,500 (for multiple brewpubs under the same owner) annually to any person or company that someone with a general class B wholesaler’s permit or a general distributor could sell to.
  • SB 516 lets in-state brewers who have a barrel production under 125,000 self-distribute up to 40,000 barrels of their beer annually to anyone that someone with a general class B wholesaler’s permit could normally sell to.
  • SB 517 has the same stipulations as 516 but concerns selling to those that a general distributor could sell to.
  • SB 518 allows brewers that produce less than 225,000 annual barrels to sell up to 5,000 barrels to consumers for onsite consumption.

So, some good laws, one bad law and incremental change in the ever-growing craft beer world in Texas. Exciting times.