OK, so the headline's a slight exaggeration -- it would take an album of photos to fully capture all the outdated laws and unfair advantages the giant (and foreign-owned, by the way) corporations of the beer world have over the small businesses trying to brew in Texas or distribute from elsewhere.
But this ridiculous labeling certainly exemplifies the bass-ackwards state of affairs wherein any beer with an ABV above 5 percent must be labeled as an ale or malt liquor.
Labeling came up in a conversation with Matt Quenette and Keith Schlabs at Meddlesome Moth about the upcoming Ale Week (more on that later), when the topic turned to Texas' potential as a craft-beer market. There's certainly a customer base -- more than one company has found they couldn't produce enough beer to sate thirsty Texans, and stopped distributing to Texas after being unable to meet the demand, they said. Even those companies that could meet demand, however, find another obstacle when they must get their labeling approved by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. Quennette produced this rather amusing label as an example of the lengths to which they must go.
Sadly, this is cost-prohibitive to many, and their beers are simply unavailable here. Take a look at this Washington Post Beer Bracket and see just how many beers we're missing out on. TABC restrictions may not be the only reason some aren't available in Texas, but they certainly don't help.
Fortunately, many of Brooklyn's excellent beers are available here. And perhaps I'm reading too much into the label, but it seems that they're more amused than insulted that here in Texas, we call their flagship lager, a dry-hopped Vienna-style amber that's a far cry from anything sold in 40-oz. bottles, "malt liquor."
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