Last month, legislators passed a new bill poised to affect Texas brewers:
Producers of 175,000 barrels or more per year may soon be required to pay distributors to sell beers from their own taprooms.
Supporters of House Bill 3287 say they passed the legislation to protect smaller craft breweries from larger operations operating under the auspices of a craft brewery.
“Our bill states if you are this big guy, you don’t get to claim and call yourself a craft brewer and utilize the carve outs and the exemptions that the small craft beer industry gets,” Amanda Robertson, chief of staff for the bill’s author Craig Goldman, told North Texas Daily. “It does seem ridiculous, but it’s that, or you close your taproom down because you’re too big to be able to operate one to begin with.”
In other words, HB 3287 prevents major beer companies, like Budweiser and Anheuser-Busch, from opening its own taproom and driving smaller brewers out of business.
Some craft brewers argue the bill supports a system of antiquated laws, further pointing to big brewers’ lack of priorities with opening small taprooms, possibly meaning there was never any danger or very little competition to begin with.
As Charles Vallhonrat, Executive Director of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild said in an interview, “large breweries aren’t going to open up full breweries just to open up little taprooms:”
“We’re not worried about an Anheuser-Busch taproom,” Vallhonrat continued. “We’re not worried about a MillerCoors taproom.”