Today brings a bad news, good news, ehhh news post on the Texas Beer Parity Amendment that has been discussed of late. First the bad news, at least what I think may be bad news. It seems that HB 1062 has stalled out in Committee. Even with the effort of writing our state reps it seems that this bill may be DOA. Not sure its a fact, but rumors are that its not going to make it out of committee, and that's a shame and continues to show how much power beer distributors (more on them in a second) have and how money talks and peoples wants don't.
Now for the good news. It seems State Rep Jessica Farrar (her of the HB 1926 fame) is at it again and has sponsored another beer parity amendment. HB 2094 has been written to allow breweries to sell their wares on site (sounds good doesn't it? and familiar?). The good news is that this bill seems to be moving through committee a little quicker and a public hearing has already been scheduled. The committe is the same as the one that HB 1062 went to, but as a refresher here is a list of the members. I encourage everyone to write to each member. But be quick, the hearing is scheduled for the 18th, yes I know its a quick turnaround. No idea what time of day, it will depend on how the other things discussed go.
Now for the last piece of news, the ehhhhh news. It revolves around the aforementioned HB 2094. While at first glance it looks an awfully lot like the previous bill, its not. It is of course more restrictive. For a full read here is the pdf version of the bill. If you don't want to read here are the highlights:
- The first section only applies to those that produce less than 75,000 barrels a year.
- The second second applies to those that produce less than 250,000 barrels a year. It allows those to sell ale or beer for on premise consumption or in unbroken packages for off premise consumption, however this may not exceed 5,000 barrels annually.
I have also heard although i can't tell by reading the bill that Breweries would only be able to sell beer during posted tour hours.
So why don't I like this bill? One it limits the amount of beer being sold, second it limits when beers can be sold. Again I ask why are breweries held to different and stricter standards than Texas Wineries? They have none of these restrictions, I just don't understand the difference. Now I will state that HB 2094 seems to have some Beer Distributor backing so it will probably pass. I can understand why they would support this bill over the less restrictive HB 1062 since it limits the amount any one brewery could sell. Having said all that I still encourage everyone to write the committee as getting something on the books is a start and if we can show we are not damaging Distributor's profits maybe they will be open to additional changes in the future. It may not be as good as we'd all like, but it is a start.