Tuesday, January 25, 2011

HB 660

A couple of weeks ago I wrote that there were 2 house bills going to the Texas Legislature this year. House Bill (HB) 660 and 602. Well since that initial article the blogsophere and more have blown up with folks chiming in with their opinions. There has been much more press given to these bills in particular HB 660 than any time I have seen in the past. If you are interested in more information on these bills I'd like to point you to a few sights:
1) This great blog by fellow houstonian breaks down HB 660 and 602. I think its a pretty fair overview and in my mind shows why we must get behind HB 660. I after reading this entry and doing some research of my own, I have some strong issues with HB 602. In reading it, I don't really understand what the bill is trying to do. It only allows breweries to give beer away after a tour and that beer can only be in 12 oz bottles (no large formats, no growlers). However, HB 660 can be applied to any company licensed as a brewpub that produces less than 75,000 bbls to not only distribute direct to consumers but to distribute through distributors.
2) Scott Metzger the man behind the great Freetail brewing and the force behind HB 660 has a blog up and running with information about the bill. Every day is a new entry as he fights to get the bill passed. Check out his thoughts and see the struggles he is facing.
3) There is both a Facebook page and twitter feed for HB 660 that is worth following.

Within the legislature there has been no movement on the bill, but that is not surprising. They have also not named the members for each committee. However if you want to know who your local representative is go here. If you are driven to write to your representative please do so. I won't tell you what to write, but here are a few pointers: Be respectful, tell them what you are asking them to vote for (YES on HB 660!), tell them why its important (industry growth, it will help Texas by increasing tax revenue, tourism, etc), ask them again to vote and then close. If everyone who reads this blog, or follows HB 660 on twitter or Facebook writes their congressman, or writes your local newspaper, this bill will pass. If you care about Texas and craft beer, get off the sidelines and get in the game.


Anonymous said...

I agree that 660 is the stronger bill, but am curious as to the specific language in 602 that you feel would allow only 12 oz. to be given away. It says that the total amount to be given away may not exceed 48 12 oz. bottles, but I don't see where is says that any size other than 12 oz. bottles would be prohibited.

Barleyvine said...

Its the specific wording used. Why states "may not exceed 48 12 oz bottles" and not "may not exceed 576 oz"? Thats my issue. Let's say it does allow for can's or even 750 mL. Then that only helps Southern Star and Jester King, but still excludes those breweries like (512), Live Oak, and many others that don't package their beer. If they had used the nomenclature of up to 576 oz, then maybe you could walk out of those places with a grolwer during a tour. However with the way the bill is currently wording, you are only helping a very small portion of breweries in TX and leaving the rest out in the cold.

SirRon said...

I've been told by lawyers that I trust that the language in the HB602 regarding the bottles is just legalese. Here are some copy/pastes from a few emails:

For some reason, in the legal drafting realm -- even though it specifies 12oz bottles -- normally that language would not exclude other containers unless specifically stated.

In other words, while it implies exclusivity, it is really just an example.

SirRon said...

I've also been told by some people in the know that HB660 is all but dead.

So there's that...