I do not associate good beer with Texas. Instead, I think of swill; swill served in cans so that once finished they line can be lined up on the top of a fence and shot at people from their pick-up trucks. Sorry Texas but you just make it so easy for that type of thinking to prevail. In its defense, I’m from Wisconsin and until ten years ago I didn’t think much of beer from my home state. In those ten years, the nation no matter where you live has made huge strides in craft and micro brews. Why should Texas be any different? And for all I will forever criticize about the Lone Star Republic, they do still have Austin. And Austin is one bad ass college town in a state full of fat people with big belt buckles and even bigger hats. My other problem with Texas beer, and in particular craft beer, is that it is just too damn hot to enjoy good beer. When a 100 degree, windless, sunshine day beats down on you, do you really want a 7.9% beer that is proud of its heavily hopped nature? I say no. Give me some ice-cold swill in a can.
However, there is a craft brewery industry in Texas. Albeit it one that has been hamstrung by archaic legislation. Somewhat surprisingly, given that you have driven through liquor stores in Texas and a few of them even sell ammunition. The idea that you can buy a bottle of Jack Daniels and a box of shotgun shells without leaving your car is hardly indicative of a state that would hinder manufacturers but in a big state of even bigger contradictions, they have done just that.
Thankfully, one man is saying enough is enough. And thankfully for brewers, he happens to be a State Senator.
State Sen. Kevin Eltife’s (R-Tyler) filed a bill that would allow the brewers to sell their products through outside retailers. “Some of these craft brewers who are trying to make some of these specialty products and be the next big beer in Texas or nationwide now they can. They can distribute and sell it at some of the HEBs or 7-11s.”
“The wineries they [visitors] go to and tour the wineries, now they can go tour the breweries and actually buy the beer and consume it on site, while they’re taking a tour,” Eltife explained. “So it helps those guys generate revenue and expand their business.”
Ultimately, Eltife said both bills are good for business and good for the Texas economy. “It helps all the craft beer manufacturers, brewpubs, [and] breweries. It helps economic development [and] creates jobs… helps them grow their small businesses.”
The bills passed the Senate unanimously today and now simply require the formality of the house vote and the signature of Governor Rick Perry.