AUSTIN - Jester King has filed a motion in federal court for summary judgment against the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC).
Along with two other co-plaintiffs, Jester King is challenging the TABC Code requirements regarding the content and wording contained on beer labels, such as the arbitrary "ale" or "malt liquor" legal designations and prohibited terms that may reflect alcoholic strength. Such unnecessary requirements have long been problematic for out-of-state breweries seeking label approval for their products to be sold in Texas.
Another change sought is the restriction on brewers in advertising or communicating retail locations where their products may be purchased, a legal holdover from a stricter three-tier interpretation. Jester King is seeking the elimination of both these current restrictions on the basis that they violate the right to free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment to the US Constitution.
Jester King is also challenging the restriction of breweries from selling direct to the public and that of brewpubs selling to retailers or distributors, both changes that were pushed unsuccessfully in the last legislative session. The claim against the TABC Code here is violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
A third challenge involves the requirement of foreign breweries to obtain a separate licence to sell their products in Texas, an additional burden that is not requried of foreign wineries or distilleries.
A ruling on this case is expected sometime later this year.