Back in July, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission banned crowlers — crosses between growlers and aluminum cans — from retailers such as Lewisville's Taps and Caps. The TABC said putting draft beer in an aluminum can and sealing it up, as opposed to putting beer in a glass bottle and screwing a top on, can only be done by the manufacturers that brew the beer. Unfortunately, Texas law doesn't allow breweries to sell beer for customers to take home and drink.
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Got that? You can go to a microbrewery and drink, but you can't take a six-pack of cans home. You can go to a retailer and both drink and pick up beer to take home, in your own glass growler or in a can BUT ONLY IF that can was sealed up at the brewery where, as we said, you can't buy beer to take home. Wineries, distilleries and brewpubs, however, can sell packaged drink. (Texas proudly bills itself as a state with few regulations, except when it comes to protecting the big beer lobby and women's bodies.)
In response to this hypocrisy, last month Deep Ellum Brewing Co. joined Grapevine Craft Brewery to launch Operation Six Pack To-Go to crowd-source funding for a federal lawsuit that claims the off-premise rule violates the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause. According to the campaign, "powerful distributor lobbyists" have worked to prevent breweries from selling on-site over the past seven legislative sessions, a span of 14 years.
In recent years, Anheuser-Busch InBev has spent over $200 million buying up independent breweries in what can be assumed is a response to the threat of craft beer to their market share. Couple that with the news that AB-InBev and SABmiller, the two largest producers of beer in the world, are about to merge, which would give the company control of one third of the entire beer market on Earth. According to the Brewer's Association, 13 states now have more than 100 breweries each. As Americans continue to consume their local beers more and macrobrews less, the influence and sway that companies like InBev have will be weaker at the state level with the growth of independent brewers.
DEBC's and Grapevine Craft Brewery's IndieGoGo campaign closes November 6.