Tomorrow marks the 1/7th mark of the session, so if the session were a week long we are about done with Sunday. We have made amazing progress so far.
Yesterday, a couple of HB 660 supporters and craft beer drinkers emailed me to tell me their HB 660 stories.
The first comes from Freetail fan (and notably the first person to get a serving of the 2010 version of La Muerta) Scott Thor.
Scott works at a high profile golf course in San Antonio, who recently hosted an outing from a certain Texas based distribution company. Scott got to talking to one of the gentleman and specifically if had heard of me or Freetail (he hadn’t) or HB 660 (he most certainly had). As they got to talking, it turned out this gentleman was in fact the president of said distribution company who though HB 660 would be good for the state and good for his company, which are strong supporters and carriers of craft beer. I’d also been working hard to get an audience with this gentleman, and I’m sure that Scott’s work will help pave the way in getting that audience. You never know when the “on-the-ground” work is going to pay massive dividends.
The second comes from Carlo Longino, who you can find on twitter @caaarlo. Carlo lives in Representative Naishtat’s District 49 in Austin, who many of you have reported is in full support of both HB 660 and HB 602 (working on a scoreboard where we can keep track of this, more at the end of this post). I thought Carlo’s letter to the Representative was excellent, and I asked him if it was okay to share it as an example of what you can say to your reps.
Dear Rep. Naishtat,
I am a constituent of yours from Austin and am writing in support of the recently proposed House Bills 602 and 660, which would expand the business opportunities for small breweries and brewpubs in Texas.
Over the past several years, the number of small breweries in Texas has increased dramatically, in spite of the restrictions on how small brewers can operate their business. This is a thriving Texas industry that is creating jobs and tax revenues, and it deserves the support of the Legislature.
Two major barriers exist in the regulations governing small brewers: brewpubs cannot sell beer off-site, and brewers can’t sell beer on-site. This means that my good friend Amos Lowe can’t sell the fantastic beer he brews at Uncle Billy’s brewpub on Barton Springs Road (also in your district) in bottles at Whole Foods, while the folks at 512 Brewing (just east of your district) can’t sell their great beer directly to consumers, either for off-site consumption or at a brewpub. These caps limit the growth of these local businesses and hamper their ability to further create jobs.
Bills seeking to reduce or eliminate these barriers have been introduced in many past sessions of the legislature, but have fallen victim to the lobbying interests of beer wholesalers and large brewers. While it is very early in the session and these bills have not yet been referred to a committee, I hope that you will support them, and Texas brewers in their effort to grow their businesses and become a significant and thriving contributor to our state’s economy.
Thank you for your time,
As mentioned earlier, I’d like to start a scoreboard where we can keep track of what Representatives have said they will support the bills. If you’ve heard back from your Reps, post in the comments or send me an email!