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HB602 clears Senate committee

One more step forward for microbreweries and their ability to let customers bring their product home after a tour, as HB602 gets voted out of the Senate Business & Commerce Committee.

HB 602 is a compromise – it still bans true retail sales, but would allow small breweries to give away up to 144 ounces of their product to a brewery visitor at the end of a paid-admission brewery tour.

Language was added limiting the privilege to only breweries producing less than 75,000 barrels per year in order to get WBDT on board, but last Wednesday, Anheuser-Busch objected to that amendment, saying it unfairly discriminated against big breweries. And as one of the world’s largest breweries, including a facility in Houston, you can guess what kind of clout A-B carries. The bill, which had already passed the House, was pulled down by its Senate sponsor for further discussion.

The bill, including the production cap, has now been recommended for the “Local & Uncontested” calendar in the Senate.

“I thought the bill was dead,” said Brock Wagner of Houston’s Saint Arnold Brewing, one of the leading proponents of HB 602. “I’m cautiously optimistic. I hope it continues moving forward with no baggage to weigh it down.”

See here for the earlier drama. Here’s the text of the bill as it passed out of committee. This is definitely encouraging, but we’re very late in the session, and the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bills, with the differing lobbyist perspectives, means there will be no guarantees. If someone wants this dead enough, it can be killed. Keep your fingers crossed, and keep calling your legislators to let them know you want to see this bill passed. Via I Love Beer.

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One Comment

  1. byron schirmbeck says:

    this is just stupid. If they can sell it at a table why can’t they sell it to take it with you? Guess if I brew a batch at my house and my friend offers me $5 for a couple of bottles ATF is going to kick in my door.