Texas bill would allow breweries to sell beers to go

The Texas House passed a bill that would allow breweries to sell beer out of their taprooms.                     

According to the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, Texas is the only state in the country that does not let people buy beer to go straight from a taproom.

Historically, Texas has had a three-tier system: The brewers make it, the distributors take it and retailers sell it.

But breweries — many of them small businesses — say allowing them to sell beer to go on site could help them grow.

Stop by the Peticolas Brewing Taproom and you'll see different types of glasses catering to different types of beer. But what you won’t find is any bottles or cans.

“When we take our beer out to a grocery store or whatever, we can't control how that beer is kept,” said Michael Finley with Peticolas.

The brewery has held off packaging and sending off its beers because it likes to keep them cold for quality.

Peticolas could ensure the beer is kept cold by selling beer to go out of their taproom, but Texas law bars breweries from letting people buy at a brewery and take it home.

State lawmakers finally introduced a law to change that in February, but the bill was still sitting in committee until Thursday night.

State Representative Eddie Rodriguez tacked the "beer to go" provision onto a different bill. It passed the House and now heads to the Senate.

“When you talk about small businesses, you make the small business argument, you make the free market argument and the fact that consumers want this,” Rodriguez said.

One group that has historically pushed back is beer distributors. One of its lobbying groups is still fighting the beer to go provision, but they did not respond to our request for comment.

The change still has to go through the Senate and on to the governor.

But those at Peticolas are hopeful the newly crafted beer to go law will be successful.

“It would change things pretty rapidly for us,” Finley said.

The idea has bipartisan support. while Rodriguez is a Democrat, a Republican senator authored the companion bill in the Senate.         

The other part of the legislation that passed the Texas House extends the time allowed for beer and wine sales on Sundays. It means stores licensed to sell beer and wine would not have to wait until noon to start selling, like they currently do. It would allow them to start at 10 a.m.