Texas State Senator Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway) and State Representative Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) have filed SB 312 and HB 672, for consideration in the 86th Legislative Session. These important companion bills propose to legalize beer-to-go sales from Texas craft breweries, an issue which the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, along with its political action committee arm, CraftPAC, have strongly advocated for as a means of supporting small businesses, increasing consumer choice, and creating more quality manufacturing jobs for Texans.
As the only state left in America that doesn’t allow beer-to-go sales, the Texas Craft Brewers Guild applauds Senator Buckingham and Representative Rodriguez’s commitment to bringing Texas on par with the rest of the nation and setting craft brewers on a more equal playing field with other Texas alcoholic beverage producers.
“HB 672 corrects a glaring disparity in the state’s alcohol laws and gives Texans the freedom to purchase beer-to-go when they visit a local brewery…just like they can when they visit a Texas winery, distillery, or brewpub,” said Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin). “The fact is, 49 other states already allow consumers to purchase beer-to-go when they visit a local brewery…Texas should be a leader when it comes to supporting small businesses, not the last horse to cross the finish line.”
Current law states that Texas manufacturing brewers who produce less than 225,000 barrels of beer annually can sell up to 5,000 barrels annually of beer produced on the premises to tasting room visitors for on-premises consumption. SB 312 and HB 672 propose a simple addition to the current law to allow for on-premises “or for off-premises consumption” of these products. This change would not impact the overall quantity of beer brewers can sell from their tasting rooms annually, but would give patrons more freedom to enjoy that beer either in the tasting room setting or back at their homes.
“As a promoter of a fiscally responsibly limited government, I believe Texas craft brewers should have the right to sell beer and ale to consumers for off-premise consumption — a privilege the state already provides to wineries, distilleries and brewpubs in Texas,” said Senator Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway). “Senate District 24 is home to many craft breweries, and with Texas being the only state in the country that does not permit off-premise sales at production breweries, I have filed SB 312 to encourage further economic development in my Senate District and to eliminate this unnecessary government overreach.”
In 2018, at the Texas Republican Party Convention in San Antonio and the Texas Democratic Party Convention in Fort Worth, both political parties included for the first time, rare, bipartisan support for beer-to-go sales in their respective party platforms.
“The fact that both parties expressed unequivocal support for beer-to-go in their 2018 platforms demonstrates the bipartisan, grassroots momentum surrounding this issue,” Texas Craft Brewers Guild Executive Director Charles Vallhonrat said. “This is something Texans care about and the more they continue to make their voices heard, the harder it gets for big beer distributors to ask lawmakers to defy the will of their constituents and vote against something that both major political parties, the brewing industry, and consumers support.”
So far, over 7,000 people have signed an online petition to urge the Texas Legislature to legalize beer-to- go sales. Texans who want to get involved in the fight to #FixTexasBeerLaws can visit craftpac.org/ action.
The Texas craft brewing industry has a $4.54 billion dollar economic impact on the Texas economy, the equivalent of 53,000 full time jobs.