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Weird taproom bill gets final passage


A bill that would force Texas breweries, once they’ve grown beyond a state-limited size, to sell and buy back their own beer before offering it in their own taprooms has now passed both houses of the state Legislature.

“To say that today’s outcome was incredibly disheartening would be to put it mildly,” the Texas Craft Brewers Guild said in a statement following a 19-to-10 vote in the Senate.

The House approved the measure May 6.

House Bill 3287 has been blasted as “anti-competitive,” “anti-beer” and a potential job killer by an unlikely coalition that includes Anheuser-Busch InBev and the state’s 200-plus craft brewers, which often find themselves at odds with the global giant. The Texas Association of Manufacturers and the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation also opposed the measure.

The bill was supported by the state’s two distributor groups.

See here for the background. This all basically happened under the radar, when there was no organized grassroots efforts on behalf of the microbreweries. I suppose that says something about the power of the distributors’ lobbyists, but it’s also a reminder that what was won can be lost, and defense is at least as important a offense.

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  1. General Grant says:

    I thought Republicans wanted less government regulation.

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    I agree with the General. Our liquor laws are specifically written for the distribution companies, period. Instead of this piecemeal niche laws dribbling out, the answer is to reject crony capitalism that has been going on under both R and D controlled Texas government and allow any player who wishes to make, distribute, and sell alcohol…just like every other business.

    Do we have laws that prevent thumb tack makers from distributing their thumb tacks to retailers, or prohibiting the thumb tack maker from selling those thumb tacks directly to the public?

    Our liquor laws are an embarrassment, especially because the pro-business R’s are in charge.