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Changes could be brewing in Texas beer industry

By Jennifer Kendall, jkendall@ktxs.com
Published On: Mar 23 2013 01:47:17 PM CDT
ABILENE, Texas -

Legislation currently in the Senate could change restrictions on craft brewers in Texas. The Senate Business and Commerce Committee will look at all four beer bills on Tuesday. One of them would change the way brew pubs can package their products.

"I can sell you a pint of beer, I can sell you a growler of beer, I can't bottle it and sell you a six-pack of beer, now the breweries want that opportunity," said Brian Green who owns the Abilene Brewing Co. 

Texas is one of the most restrictive states when it comes to craft brewers and brew pubs are frustrated that Texas law restricts them from selling their products on retail shelves. 

"They manufacture it, they don't want to be restricted in the trade of their manufactured product…Let me sell my product the way I deem it fair and necessary without the restrictions," said Green. 

Proposed legislation in the Senate would increase the amount of beer brew pubs are able to distribute. It would also allow them to self-distribute to stores and restaurants and sell the rest at their pub.

Not everyone is happy about to the proposal. Wholesale Beer Distributors of Texas fears the changes would disrupt the three-tier system of manufacturers, distributors and retailers.

"The breweries are popping up all over Texas they’re growing it's a larger segment of the beer industry and you're seeing the larger wholesalers lose some of that market share to these smaller breweries," Green said. 

Brewers said the wine industry doesn't have the restrictions they must follow and that inconsistency is hard for them to swallow.