New bill to impact locally-owned craft beer breweries in Texas

Good Morning El Paso: Texas craft...

House Bill 3287, which would impact the way larger locally-owned craft beer breweries do business in the state, is awaiting the signature or veto of Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

The legislation requires breweries that produce more than 225,000 barrels of beer a year to pay a distributor for any beer sold in a brewery's own taproom, even though that beer never leaves the business.

Opponents say breweries would be prohibited from growing larger than a certain size or become owned by a larger operator.

The Austin American Statesman reports all self-distributing breweries would only be allowed to distribute 40,000 barrels across all locations. Once that figure is reached, any additional barrels would have to be sold through a distributor, the paper reports.

El Paso currently has three local breweries. According to the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, there are 200 breweries in the state.

Albert Salinas, co-owner of Ode Brewery in west El Paso, said the El Paso companies don't need to worry about the bill just yet because they do not produce that many barrels of beer in a year.

"It really only affects the 'big guys,' but the fact that they would go that far to actually try to stifle growth on something that's blowing up in the state is scary and detrimental," Salinas said.

The Beer Alliance of Texas, which supports the bill, said a majority of locally owned craft beer breweries in the U.S. only produce 200,000 cases of beer a year.

State representative Mary Gonzalez, a co-sponsor for the bill, said it had bipartisan support. She said craft brewers will have to go through distributors like all other beer companies.

The Statesman reports those in favor of the bill argue it is just ensuring producers are complying with the three tier system, a post-prohibition measure meant to create a fair market place.

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