Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Direct Sales Bill Introduced

Representative Lon Burnam of Tarrant County has introduced legislation to the Texas House of Representatives that would legalize the sale of beer directly from the brewery. Filed February 4th, the bill known as HB 1062, or the Texas Brewers Parity Amendment, includes the language
The holder of a brewer's permit whose premises is located in an area where the sale of ale and malt liquor is legal and who produces at least 1,000 barrels of ale or malt liquor a year may sell ale and malt liquor manufactured or bottled on the permitted premises to ultimate consumers: (1) in unbroken packages for off-premises consumption in an amount that does not exceed 35,000 gallons annually; and (2) for consumption on the brewery premises if the brewery is located in an area where the sale of ale and malt liquor for on-premises consumption is legal.
An identical bill SB 754 was filed today in the State Senate by Senator Wendy Davis, also of Fort Worth.

Current TABC law requires that brewers sell only to distributors and prohibits any direct sales to the public. The direct sales of wine from Texas vineyards was legalized several years ago with no negative consequences to winemakers, distributors or retailers.

Similar legislation was sponsored by Brock Wagner of Saint Arnold two years ago but was defeated.

Update: A slightly modified competing bill, HB 2094, has also been filed by Representative Jessica Farrar of Houston. Farrar sponsored the previous similar legislation that was defeated two years ago.

13 comments:

Lee said...

Also note: The twin version of the bill in the Senate is SB 754 by Wendy Davis, also from Forth Worth.

assurbanipaul said...

Ah, just filed today. Thanks for the catch.

Rob said...

Why are they restricting this to brewers who brew over 1,000 barrels/year? This shuts out the brewpubs and small start-up breweries. It appears that the large micro-brewers are using their leverage to benefit themselves at the expense of their weaker competitors.

How is this any different from what the distributors have been doing to them? If you're truly aiming to give the customer freedom to purchase beer on premise then there shouldn't be any size restrictions.

Lee said...

Rob: It doesn't shut out brewpubs at all. Brewpubs are already allowed to have sales out the door. Without actually taking the trouble to look it up, I'd guess that brewers under 1,000 is currently the cutoff to allow out-the-door sales, so this bill is expanding it.

However, your basic premise is correct: The distributor lobby will be the biggest opponent of this bill.

Jeffrey said...

Thanks for the heads up. Time to write my Legislator.

beerdiablo said...

If this keeps coming up yearly, it will gain momentum and eventually pass. Hopefully, sooner rather than later.

Lee said...

Well, every other year — the Lege only meets for 140 days every two years (odd numbered years).

bloggermouse said...

Just wrote my tx senator and rep urging them to support the bills.

Lee said...

Awesome! You're in Richardson — so who are your legislators?

Josquin said...

Done. Will post again if I get a response.

By the way, I noticed that the sponsors were both Democrats. I'm totally represented by Republicans. Might that present a problem? If there's anything I know about politics, it's that anything can be spun as positive or negative with a little politicization and press time. I'd hate for that to happen with this bill.

Lee said...

Josquin: I doubt that this bill is too much of a partisan thing. Obviously, the conservative religious element is a bit stronger in the GOP than Democrats, but heck, even lots of religious conservatives like a drink now and then. More likely, it comes down to which legislators have gotten campaign contributions from the distributors' lobby, a problem that afflicts both parties.

Lee said...

Oh, and out of curiousity: who is your rep and senator?

Josquin said...

I'm represented by Sen. Florence Shapiro (District 8) and Rep. Sam Johnson (District 3).