Legislative Update: Committees, The Guild's bill, etc.
Texas Legislature - The End of the Beginning
The Texas Legislature convened on January 8th and has proceeded to do virtually nothing but get organized and settle into new office spaces. Every session starts similarly, but the "start-up" period is exaggerated during Presidential election years as lots of members were in DC for the inauguration. The distractions are now behind us and it seems to be time for the Legislature to get down to business. The House finally named its committees last week and will begin the process of hearing bills later this week. The Senate named their committees but has only had hearings in the Senate Finance Committee on the budget.The two committees of interest for Open the Taps are the Senate Business and Commerce Committee and the House Committee on Licensing and Administrative Procedures.
Texas Craft Brewers Guild
More details available at Ronnie Crocker's Blog on the Houston Chronicle here.
We have had positive discussions with the lobbyists for the Texas Craft Brewers Guild and understand that they have made considerable progress in their negotiations with the beer industry interest groups. While Open the Taps has a number of similar goals on its legislative agenda as the Guild, there will be areas where we need to push hard for reforms that the producers may not prioritize this year.
Below is an outline and summary of the package of bills filed on behalf of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild. Open The Taps continues to work closely with the Guild to help shape and guide the legislation and we are pleased with the general direction of the debate, but we believe these bills can and should go further by allowing microbreweries to sell set quantities of beer directly to patrons for off-premise personal consumption.
We will be working with members of the Senate Business and Commerce Committee and the House Committee on Licensing and Administrative Procedures to share our position and elicit their support.
The Texas Craft Brewer's Guild Bill details:
-Raises Production Limit to 12,500 Barrels (from 5,000 Barrels)
-Allows Self-Distribution of 1,000 Barrels
-Allows sales to retail through distributors
-Requires TABC reporting
-Requires reporting of territorial assignments to distributors
Microbrewery/ On Premise Sales:
-Allows Direct Sales of up to 5,000 Barrels
-Sets upper limit to participate in On Premise Sales to consumers at 225,000 Barrels
-Sets Upper Limit to Participate in Self-Distribution at 125,000 Barrels (from 75,000 Barrels)
-Lowers Self-Distribution threshold to 40,000 Barrels
Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or comments you may have!