Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Crowler Legal Decision Announced

A couple of months ago I wrote a post celebrating a legal victory craft brewers had over the state of Texas. In that post I laid out all the other legal cases that involved craft beer and the state of Texas.  One of those cases involved Cuvee Coffee suing TABC to sell crowlers.  As I discussed then, crowlers (single use 32 oz can shaped growlers) were being regulated differently then the glass growlers that most of us are familiar with.  Well, last night the judgment was returned and announced via Cuvvee Coffee's Mike McKim on Twitter , and once again, it was another victory for craft beer.  Yes.  Crowlers are legal again!
I was honestly worried that there was a chance that not only would we not get crowlers back, but that the judge would make a sweeping judgment that got rid of growlers as well. Its nice to see the legal system have some sanity.  This also means that the state of Texas is 0-2 against craft beer this year.  It means that your tax dollars are going towards TABC legal fees.  Think about that at the voting booth.  If we had legislatures that were more friendly towards craft beer, then TABC wouldn't be facing these lawsuits as much.
So what does this mean?  A couple of things.
1) At least in Houston, and honestly Texas too,  crowlers were just starting to take hold in certain places.  The Houston area only had a few places that were doing them (they take a crowler machine to seal them, so there are some places that don't want to make that investment).  I expect places like Petrol Station to do crowlers quickly. Other places, like Nobi down in here in Clear Lake, will need to purchase a new machine as they gave their old one to Texas Beer Refinery.  I do expect them to get a new machine sooner rather than later though, as they still have a an inventory of crowler cans on their wall.
2) You will start to see an influx of new places carrying crowlers. I've spoken with the owner of Beers Looking At You down in Clear Lake, and he stated that he will absolutely have crowlers, once the case has been settled, he can get a machine, and crowlers in stock.  I think you'll see more of those type of places serving crowlers, so the consumer's options continue to expand.

So what's next?  There are two things that I will be keeping my eye on.
The first being whether or not TABC appeals the above decision.  I believe that they will not.  Just as they haven't with the previous decision, I don't think TABC wants to spend more money on legal fees for a case they will lose.
Secondly, there is one more legal case involving craft beer that we could hear about before the year is out and its a big one.  As I mentioned before Deep Ellum has sued TABC to gain the same rights that wineries and distilleries have in Texas, To-Go Sales.  Currently breweries can only sale direct to the public for on premise consumption (and that's only been since 2013).  However wineries and distilleries can sell their wares to you, for you to drink wherever you want.  Why the disparity?  Look at who donates to the legislatures.

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