In a major victory for the craft brew industry, independent wholesalers, and beer aficionados across the Lone Star State, the Texas House on Friday passed a package of craft brew legislation that supporters say will help small business and increase the quality of beer available to Texans. Congratulations to all of us!
In under a minute, the House gave its preliminary approval on a voice vote to five pieces of legislation that would, among other things, allow brewpubs to sell beer to go and allow brewers to have tap rooms. And all this while preserving the important three-tier system that has allowed them to flourish.
The bills passed with no objections, no arguments, and no amendments. Because the bills have already been passed by the Senate, and because the sponsors have clearly worked the heck out of the Texas House members to keep amendments off the bill, sponsors have paved the way for the bills to get on the fast track to the governor’s desk.
All that’s left is a final, procedural vote by the House on the next legislative day – be that today or Monday, whichever they decide.
After that, it’s on to Gov. Rick Perry. And, I might add, the bills will be immediately effective as they won well over two-thirds support in both chambers. Like, 100 percent support.
Of course we reserve our official celebration until it’s all the way done, with final passage and all, because we are smart superheroes over at TBIJ and we have experience in legislative craziness.
But meanwhile, we’d like to say a huge thanks to all the stakeholders who worked so hard to come to an agreement – and the lawmakers who pushed everyone to do it.
It’s not an easy deal to broker. Special thanks to Sen. Kevin Eltife, Sen. John Carona, Sen. Leticia Van De Putte, Sen. Kirk Watson, Rep. Charlie Geren and Rep. Wayne Smith for shepherding this through to passage. In particular, for getting it through the feisty House – no small thing in this crazy, raucous chamber. (And certainly not today, when they’re bent on annoying the Senate. But I digress.)
We also congratulate the independent distributors and the craft brewers.
Shout out to Scott Metzger of Freetail Brewing Co. in San Antonio, who worked with stakeholders on behalf of the breweries.
(And, more importantly, who got some applause from the House floor as he and his buddies sat in the House gallery at the beginning of his bachelor party weekend. Congrats for that, too, Scott!)