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140 Days To Texas Beer Indpendence: Day 1.

Today began the 82nd Session of Texas Legislature with the re-election of San Antonio Republican Joe Strauss as House Speaker.  The biggest item on the agenda for this Legislature will be a budget shortfall ranging from $15 to 27 billion over the next two years, depending on who you talk to.  As an educator (I do more than just make beer for a living), I’ve already been informed by the University to expect budget cuts around 33%.

One new item on the agenda will be a bill to allow Texas brewpubs to sell their product into the distribution system.  In other words, you’ll be able to buy North by Northwest beer in Houston, Uncle Billy’s in Dallas, Blue Star in Austin or anywhere else one of the 20+ brewpubs in Texas chooses to ship their product.

I will make details of this bill (who is introducing it, what it entails) available as soon as possible.  I will say I believe in the bill and I think it will be crucial in Texas Craft Beer’s development into national prominence.

This isn’t a bill crafted by career politicians who think it might be good idea – this is a bill written personally by me and industry peers.  It is crafted to be fair to all parties involved in the Texas beer industry.  It helps our state’s small businesses grow by increasing their production; it adds additional potential sales volume for wholesalers and distributors; it offers retailers the ability to highlight local products; it gives consumers access to the products they desire; and–as a special added bonus feature–it creates more jobs and more tax revenue for a state facing a massive budget deficit.

Throughout the next 140 Days, I will be blogging daily to update you on what is happening with the bill.  Your support will be vital to its eventual success.  It will be an uphill battle.  The proponents are numerous, but the opposition is firmly entrenched in an antiquated system.  These opponents do not have the best interest of Texas at heart, and only seek to protect the status quo and their mandated position within the industry.  While I am hopeful that common sense will prevail, I know for some it will fall upon deaf ears.  Nevertheless, we must continue to spread the word and fight.

Lastly, special thanks to my friends in the industry Chip McElroy (Live Oak Brewing Company), Davis Tucker (North by Northwest Restaurant and Brewery), Joey Villarreal (Blue Star Brewing Company) and everyone in the Texas Craft Brewers Guild.  Their help has been instrumental in getting us to this point.

1 Down. 139 to go.

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5 responses

  1. Awesome comrade! Saw Blue Star and thought you were referring to Black Star Co-op. Lots of stars in Texas!

    January 12, 2011 at 2:08 pm

  2. Michael Head

    Keep me posted! Once the bill is in committee, I’d love to submit letters to the editor of Texas newspaper to encourage Texans to contact their representatives and make this bill happen!
    Or whatever else I could do to get the word out. This needs to happen. 2,400 microbreweries in the country, around 10 in Texas. Thats not good enough, and the legislature needs to pay attention to the barriers of entry and remove them.

    January 12, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    • Absolutely Michael – that’s absolutely what we need too: people writing, making the voice heard.

      Cheers!

      January 13, 2011 at 10:33 am

  3. Jaime Robles

    Reform is much needed. Best of luck!

    January 13, 2011 at 9:49 am

  4. Chad Montgomery

    Scott,

    I fully support your efforts in this bill. Here in Dallas we do not even have 1 brewpub in the Metroplex producing ‘true’ craft beers, and I’m certain one of the reasons is their inability to distribute which would help make a much larger return on investment.

    Without question, Freetail is one of the very brew brewpubs in the state, and it’s my personal favorite. Anything that will help you guys succeed I am fully in favor of. If there is anything I can do to help foster support, please let me know. I’m looking forward to your updates!

    Cheers,
    Chad Montgomery

    PS: I mean that. If you can think of anything I can do to help please let me know. You have my contact info.

    January 17, 2011 at 11:04 am

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