Texas Craft Breweries Urge Veto of Restrictive Rules Approved by Legislature

Burgeoning Craft Beer Industry Creates Niche Market For Limited Release Beers

One group that is not excited about the actions of the Texas Legislature is the fact growing craft beer industry, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Charles Vallhonrat, who heads the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, says several bills which were pushed by big breweries and the beer distributors lobby punished the small craft brewers, and he is calling on Gov. Greg Abbott to veto the measures.

One, Vallhonrat says, would require craft brewers to pay a 'shipping fee' to distributors for transferring beer from the brew house to the other side of the room where customers are able to sample the beer.

"The bill puts a cap on growth and limits the ability of brewers to get financing for the growth of their businesses," he said.

Vallhonrat says the problem is, Texas claims to be a state which is friendly to business, but when it comes to his industry, it is just the opposite.

"There is great opportunity in Texas for great beer that is only available here, and we need to try to help that industry, not place growth caps on the industry," he said.

The Legislature also defeated a proposal pushed by the craft brewing industry that would have allowed the small breweries not only to allow customers to sample the beer in the brewery, which is now allowed, but would also allow them to buy the beer at the brewery and take it home.  He says that is allowed in other states but not in Texas.

Vallhonrat says the tragedy is, the growth of craft breweries throughout the state has begun to create a new type of 'beer tourism.'  Juse like people flock to the Napa Valley of Northern California to sample wine, tourists are starting to flock to Texas to check out the unique craft breweries across the state, and the measures passed by the Legislature threaten to damage that movement.

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