Lost in the shuffle of everything else beer related happening at the Capitol, Senator Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio) has filed SB 652, which would allow breweries and wineries to sell their products, in bulk, to distillers to further process into spirits. [Edit: wineries would still be forbidden from selling their wine to distillers because Federal Law precludes it. But if Federal Law changed, Texas wineries would be allowed this activity.]
You may recall, Senator Van de Putte led the Alcohol Working Group in the interim to look at the Alcoholic Beverage Code and recommend changes to the legislature. This bill was one of the items requested by the state’s small craft distillers. Kudos to the working group and Senator Van de Putte for taking this step in making Texas a viable place for craft producers to make unique products within our states borders without unnecessary government restriction. I can imagine a Whiskey distilled from Saint Arnold Amber, for example, being popular.
You’ll notice most of the results of the working group – be it this bill, Senator Eltife’s SB 515-18 (of which Senator Van de Putte is a Joint Author), or any of the others that may follow – are all in the vein of free-market principles and fostering economic development. It’s legislation like these bills (and legislators like Senators Van de Putte and Eltife) that make Texas one of the best places to do business. A huge thank you to them for extending the free-market philosophies that our state is built on to our states manufacturers of beer, wine and spirits.
Contrast this to the anti-competitive SB 639 (which now has a House Companion in HB 1538, filed by Rep. Geren) which was never discussed in Senator Van de Putte’s working group, and it’s clear to see why the competition and free-market encouraging bills are picking up momentum (up to 12 Authors on SB 515-18) and why the self-serving, protectionist, profiteering WBDT bills are drawing ire in the court of public opinion.
This is Texas after all, and Free Markets are one of our core beliefs.