Today, Senator Kevin Eltife (R-District 1) introduced bi-partisan legislation along with Co-Authors, Senators Brian Birdwell (R-District 22), John Carona (R-District 16), Eddie Lucio (D-District 27), Leticia Van de Putte (D-District 26), Kirk Watson (D-District 14), and John Whitmire (D-District 15) to modernize the state’s alcohol regulatory system to make more competitive Texas’s small, craft brewers.
Senate Bills 515, 516, 517 and 518 expand the rights of the state’s craft breweries and brewpubs to provide parity versus what brewers in other states are allowed to do.
From a Press Release put out by Senator Eltife’s office:
“Government shouldn’t be involved in picking winners and losers in private industry. Texans believe consumers make the best choices about products in the free market,” said Senator Eltife. “These four bills will level the playing field for the small business segment of Texas brewing industry.”
“Legislators should encourage entrepreneurial spirit by creating a climate for small business development opportunities that leads to capital investment and job creation in our state,” added Senator Eltife. “This legislation will provide the proper regulatory framework for these businesses to operate and grow.”
What the Bills Do
- Increases the production limit for a brewpub from 5,000 to 12,500 barrels annually
- Authorizes a brewpub to sell their products to the wholesale tier for re-sale
- Authorizes a brewpub to self-distribute up to 1,000 barrels annual to the retail tier for re-sale
- Authorizes a production brewery under 225,000 barrels of annual production to sell up to 5,000 barrels annually of beer produced by the brewery to ultimate consumers for consumption on the premise of the brewery
- Authorizes a production brewery under 125,000 barrels of annual production to self-distribute up to 40,000 barrels annual of beer, ale and malt-liquor to retailers. (Note: this right currently exists but is being adjusted. Currently, a brewery under 75,000 barrels of annual production may self-distribute up to 75,000 barrels. These bills increase the size of a brewery that may self-distribute while reducing the amount they may self-distribute. There are two bills because it affects both the “Manufacturer” license – Ch. 62 of the code – and the “Brewer” permit – Ch. 12 of the code.)
- Eliminates discrimination against out-of-state suppliers.
What Happens Next
Next, the bills will be referred to the appropriate Senate committee, where they will be heard and voted on whether they should go before the full senate.
This is very exciting, and as I’ve said before I’m very thankful for the hardwork of our Legislators but also the open-mindedness and willingness to find common ground by distributors and large brewers. Without them, we wouldn’t be in the position we are in now to make positive reform for the craft beer industry in Texas.