ALERT: THIS SATURDAY SATURDAY SATURDAY, turn out to Flying Saucer in Houston at 3 p.m. for an informal meetup with Scott Metzger, one of the biggest proponents behind HB 660 and owner of the revered Freetail Brewery. He says he’ll just be there to drink beer, but he’ll no doubt help rally, too. Plus you can snag a sweet HB 660 shirt for a much-needed donation to the cause, and drink some special beer. Check SCOTT’S HB 660 BLOG DAILY TO STAY UPDATED.
Hey gals and guys,
It’s been awhile. I’m sorry. I started a new gig covering craft in the B2B format, so needless to say I’ve been peeking from under a pile of mile-a-minute brew news. Let me tell you, the industry is growing by leaps and bounds. While many a macrobrewer have lamented bad recent weather and other reasons they’ve been losing market share (a market they nonetheless still dominate — and whose craft brands are mostly doing quite well in it), a bunch of craft companies have posted record-breaking Januaries– some up over 40%. That’s a shit-ton of momentum during what’s usually considered the off season.
Which means it’s a better time than ever to support law change that will help fuel — and be fueled by — such growth. Like House Bill 660 filed by Rep. Mike Villarreal in Texas, which, in a nutshell, would allow brewpubs to get their beer in off-premise locations by selling to wholesalers, which brewpubs in most other states are able to do. In fact, you can find many of those out-of-state brewpubs’ products at Spec’s and H-E-B and a handful of c-stores. It makes sense that Our Own should be at those stores too, dammit. I’d like to buy a friggin’ Barton Kriek on a Sunday, and I’m not going to drive to Austin’s NXNW to do it!
But it’s not just my selfish whims that passage of HB 660 would help. Obviously it’ll benefit local brewpubs, who will have infinitely more occasions and premises to sell at; the wholesalers, who can tap into this growing market; and the state, which will get more tax income (more jobs). I’ll try not to get too preachy, but it’s about damn time and it just makes sense. As a — distributor, no less! — source said of a long-battled Georgian bill’s anticipated passage, which will make Sunday sales legal in their state: “Yay! The 21st Century!” I’d love to be able to say that here.
As with all good ideas, however, there is strong opposition. Similar-themed bills regarding microbreweries have been filed in our legislature for years, and a powerful Status Quo has ensured they never pass. This battle is a longshot, to be sure. But so was your conception, Chrissakes. So be there, if you feel like consumers should have power in a capitalism-driven democracy.
If you don’t give a shit but like drinking good, local beer, that doesn’t make a hell whole lotta sense. But here’s another draw for you uninspired types: HB 660 shirts will be available with a donation to the cause, and Real Ale Volume XIV (Barrel Aged 14th Anniversary Ale), a cask of (512) Cream Stout, and Sierra Nevada Blackbird IPA will all be tapped for the occassion.
I understand, though: stupid stuff happens when you get drunk, and Friday comes before Saturday. So if you break your leg drinking tomorrow night and can’t make it Saturday, here’s a sample letter being passed around the Internet to let your Congressperson know that you care:
Representative [Representative's Full Name]
Dear Representative [Representative's Last Name],
[First Paragraph, briefly introduce yourself. Give your name and the name of your organization if it is relevant to the cause. Mention if you are personally a constituent of the Representative or what your connection to him/her is].
I am writing you today in regards to H.B. 660 relating to the sale of malt liquor, ale, and beer by the holder of a brewpub license, filed by Representative Mike Villarreal of San Antonio. This bill would allow Texas brewpubs the right to make their products available for sale off-premise, a right that out-of-state brewpubs already enjoy within the borders of Texas.
This bill would help Texas brewpubs grow and remain competitive in a rapidly growing industry; help Texas wholesale permit and distributors license holders by expanding their product portfolios; help retailers by allowing them to highlight local products; give Texas consumers greater access to the products they want; and help the state by creating new jobs and increasing the tax base.
The craft brewing industry is beginning to garner national attention, and our laws must not prevent our own small businesses from flourishing – especially to the benefit of out-of-state businesses who are currently able to do what our own breweries cannot.
I hope you will Vote Yes for HB 660 should you be given the opportunity either on a committee or on the house floor.
Thank you for your time and service to our great state
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