Earlier this week, the Texas Senate approved a family of bills dear to the heart of Texas craft brewers. The legislation lets brewpubs sell a limited amount of beer through distributors, while craft breweries will get to sell their products to consumers on-site. See also: - Public Hearing Set for Craft Beer Legislation - A Texas Lawmaker Filed Four Bills Yesterday to Make Life Easier on the State's Craft Brewers
The bills still must get past the House and governor, of course, but if you've been following LDD's coverage of the craft brewing industry, you know what a long, hard slog it's been to get this far. (Big brewers, wholesalers and retailers are not what you'd call keen for competition, and they have many loyal friends in the Legislature.) So we imagined some fierce celebrating among the craft brewers' kegs when the vote came down -- sort of like those old-timey pictures of guys in hats raising mugs of foam when Prohibition finally went away.
Turns out, not so much, at least not for Tait Lifto, a sales specialist for Deep Ellum Brewing Co., where they're not buying nails to build a tap room just yet. "We want to make sure we continue to take care of our existing customers first," he said. The local brewery known for its hyper-hoppy brews recently landed big accounts with Smashburger and On The Border. As their business grows, selling directly to drinkers likely will make up a tiny fraction of the brewery's revenue -- so first things first. Still, he adds, the passage is "a movement forward for the whole industry."
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Exactly how did Lifto react as he watched the vote live on the Internet? "For me, every day is a celebration," Lifto said. He certainly raised a glass, but then he probably would have done that anyway.