‘Outdated’ Texas laws hamper craft brewers
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They brew it. They bottle it. They package it.
But because of current Texas law, local craft beer brewers can't sell their product directly to customers.
"We get people coming out here all the time, asking to buy our beer and we have to say, 'No, it's illegal to do so,’” said Jeffrey Stuffings of Jester King Craft Brewery. “That's unfortunate because in most parts of the United States it's perfectly legal for a brewer to sell a beer to someone who wants to drink it."
Brewers at Jester King, a small brewery just outside of Austin, say the state's beer regulations are outdated.
Changing the law would improve the financial outlook for small breweries like Jester King by allowing them to sell their beer directly to the hundreds of beer enthusiasts who tour the brewery each week.
"When we have 500 people coming out every week... it would be a great revenue source for us,” said Rob Extract at Jester King. “It would allow us to hire staff, to keep it open more and to really help to fund the growth and expansion of the business."
Judson Mulherin at Circle Brewing Company said his operation has the same issues with the law.
He can sell a customer a tour or a pint glass, but not the company’s primary product.
"We either have to go through a distributer or sell to a retail location,” Mulherin said. “We have to give the beer away for free when people come here to sample."
Judson and Ben Sable moved to Austin five years ago to join what has become an emerging craft beer hub. But they, like many other micro-brewers, hope Texas lawmakers will pass legislation that'll allow them to tap into their full potential without the middle man.