When we talked to the Texas Craft Brewers Guild (TCBG) Executive Director Charles Vallhonrat last week, he detailed four bills that the TCBG had introduced into the Texas legislature. The Dallas Morning News reported that two of those Senate Bills (SB) — SB 515 and SB 518 — were passed in the Texas Senate on Monday, March 25.
The two bills passed the Senate with a unanimous vote of 31-0. SB 515 increases the production limit for a brewpub from 5,000 to 10,000 barrels (bbls) annually and authorizes a brewpub to sell its products to the wholesale tier for re-sale. SB 518 authorizes a production brewery under 225,000 bbls of annual production to sell up to 5,000 bbls annually of beer produced by the brewery to ultimate consumers for consumption on the premise of the brewery.
The passage of the first two bills through the Texas Senate has craft brewers raising a pint to the legislation. From The Dallas Morning News:
“I’m amazed,” said Scott Metzger, the founder and CEO of Freetail Brewing Co. in San Antonio and a board member of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild. “Four years ago when we started working on this it was hard to get anyone to chat with us. To go from that to 31-0 is pretty amazing.”
The bills help both types of brewers build their brands while protecting the state’s three-tier system of alcohol sales, manufacture and distribution, said Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, the main author.
There are two more Senate Bills that will be voted on this week. The one-two punch of SB 516 and SB 517 authorizes a production brewery under 125,000 bbls of annual production to self-distribute up to 40,000 bbls annually of beer, ale and malt-liquor to retailers. This right currently exists, but this bill will increase the size of the brewery while reducing the amount that may be self-distributed. Currently, a brewery under 75,000 bbls of annual production may self-distribute up to 75,000 bbls. Additionally the two bills also eliminates discrimination against out-of-state suppliers.