Three bills bouncing around the Texas Legislature are being trumpeted as game-changers for the state's beer industry. In quick review: HB 660 would permit brewpubs to sell directly to wholesalers and distributors; HB 2436 would allow small breweries to sell their product for on- or off-site consumption; and HB 602 would permit breweries to provide sample bottles of beer at the end of brewery tours. The House has already approved the latter bill, authored by Jessica Farrar of Houston. Houston is home to Saint Arnold Brewing Company, a big shot in the world of Texas beer and like many craft breweries, a popular tourist destination.
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City of Ate asked one Dallas-Fort Worth craft brewery how it would change its operations if the bills become law.
Fritz Rahr, owner of Rahr & Sons Brewing Company in Fort Worth, has modest aspirations if that occurs. "We're, of course, looking to get the word out; we're not looking to open a retail location. If we can sell a few bottles to people who visit the brewery and they take those bottles home to share with their friends, hopefully we can create new customers," he said with all the humility and earnestness of a man who, with the help of his loyal staff and customers, brought back a brewery from the edge of extinction after damage from a snow storm last year. "We'd like them to then walk into a store and buy our beer."
Those for and against the bills have made much ado about what at least one area brewer sees as a simple matter. If only our lawmakers could see that he represents all that is good about Texas -- a hardworking, self-starting contributor to the state economy...who MAKES BEER.
Then again, we may be a wee bit biased.