Texas lawmakers pass bill to let craft breweries sell ‘beer-to-go’

Craft beer drinkers: Some good news in Texas may soon be heading your way.

Right now, you can only enjoy some of your favorite drinks at the breweries you frequent.

But that could soon change.

A bill to let you finally be able to buy those drinks to go is headed to Gov. Greg Abbott for consideration.

State lawmakers have passed House Bill 1545, an overall measure to renew and keep going the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

An amendment added to the bill lets Texans buy as much as one case, per person, each day from craft breweries.

Beer-to-Go’s passage is a huge win for Texas small businesses and consumers over politically powerful special interest groups,” said state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, who helped broker the deal. “It’s not every day that the underdog scores a victory here in the State Capitol.”

Approval of the bill by both the House and Senate in recent days followed a deal agreed to by the Wholesale Beer Distributors of Texas and the Texas Craft Brewers Guild.

Tarrant County craft breweries are among those that could benefit from this measure.

“Working with fellow industry stakeholders to deliver compromised solutions is a benefit to the legislative process, and thereby Texans who will benefit from progressive law changes that represent an evolved economy and society,” said John Pritchett, founder and CEO of Wild Acre Brewing in Fort Worth.

Brian Burton, who co-owns Hop & Sting Brewing Co. in Grapevine with Jon Powell, said he wishes patrons could buy more than one case a day.

“There are customers that would like to buy kegs for parties,” he said. “We would prefer not to tell them no.”

But this bill is still helpful to craft breweries across the state, Burton said.

“There are still other states that still have more favorable laws for breweries. There is no reason Texas shouldn’t be the best state for breweries,” he said. “That being said, this is a huge leap forward.”

If signed by Abbott, the law would go into effect Sept. 1.

“September 1st can’t come soon enough,” Texas Craft Brewers Guild tweeted.

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Anna M. Tinsley grew up in a journalism family and has been a reporter for the Star-Telegram since 2001. She has covered the Texas Legislature and politics for more than two decades and has won multiple awards for political reporting, most recently a third place from APME for deadline writing. She is a Baylor University graduate.