On Sunday around North Texas, a celebratory, almost holiday-like vibe of fuzzy feel-goods accompanied many brewery staffs as they switched their lights on for the day.
It was a clear, sunny day on what was indeed a holiday weekend, but Sept. 1 marked the first day Texas craft production breweries could legally sell beer to go.
Since Gov. Greg Abbot signed House Bill 1545 into law in June, local breweries and beer lovers have been eagerly awaiting the Labor Day weekend, not so much for another Monday off from work, but for the ability to drain a pint in their favorite taproom and to finally be able to take some home with them from the source.
It remains to be seen just how big a cash boom the breweries will see from the ability to sell up to one case per person per day. But for a burgeoning craft beer community, any reason to celebrate growth is worth a joyful toast.
A large portion of the region’s breweries scheduled some sort of party to commemorate the first day of being able to buy beer to go.
On social media, plenty of folks posted pictures of their stickers from Community Beer Company. Instead of displaying an “I Voted” slogan, these prideful stickers proclaimed, “I Bought.”
3 Nations Brewing Company in Farmers Branch — only a few weeks before the four-year-old outfit moves to its new spacious home in downtown Carrollton — opened at 10 a.m., selling $4 pints, breakfast tacos with brisket and pulled pork, T-shirts screen-printed on-site and, of course, six packs of their own beer.
3 Nations has long had a retail presence in the grocery coolers of North Texas. The seven beers available in sixers for sale, including the perfectly timed Cozy Bavarian Oktoberfest, are the same 3 Nations options you can get just about anywhere that sells beer around here, so the cachet at play in this case wasn’t about a new product.
If nothing else, the patrons filling the taproom at 10:30 a.m. were celebrating the ability to grab an early pint and the prerogative to leave with a six-pack.
It was certainly business as usual for brewery owner Gavin Secchi, who greeted regulars with hugs and high-fives as he was darting around the facility, working on brewing a new batch.
For Michael Peticolas, his Sunday was devoted more to master of ceremonies. One of the driving forces behind the celebrated legislation, former attorney Peticolas came out to greet a line of more than 100 people just before noon.
In many ways, this day seemed designed as a Peticolas Brewing Company-specific holiday. Although the Design District brewery is one of the forerunners of the modern Dallas craft beer boom, opening shop in 2011, locally beloved beers such as the Velvet Hammer imperial red ale have never been available in bottles or cans.
According to Peticolas, the reasons for the holdout are many, with financial, legal and quality issues being paramount.
Selling canned beer for the first time ever, Peticolas is again taking a measured, slow-roll approach. A customer can order a 32-ounce crowler of any beer on tap to take from the brewery taproom, but only three of their beers are available in packaged cans right now.
Along with the bold Velvet Hammer, the easy-drinking Golden Opportunity Kolsch and the boozy Sit Down or I’ll Sit You Down imperial IPA are available in four-packs of 16-ounce cans.
While that may likely change soon, one thing that might not is that cans of Peticolas beer will only be available for purchase at the brewery for the foreseeable future.
Add that bit of exclusivity to the newness of seeing the Peticolas logo on a can, and it was easy to see how the line outside of the brewery stayed lengthy even as 1 p.m. crept around.
After all, it’s rather fitting this momentous day for so many hardworking independent business owners fell on a weekend that many of us get to celebrate having a job by taking a long weekend.
On Monday, surely thousands of craft beer lovers had their fridges freshly stocked with the freshest local beer possible.
Want to taste more of 3 Nations and Peticolas beers? Get your tickets for the 2019 Dallas Observer BrewFest, coming to the Dallas Farmers Market on Sept. 7.
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