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Rep.Farrar, Jessica

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Beer bill takes a hop forward in Texas Legislature  print page

by: Rep. Farrar, Jessica
04/21/2011

AUSTIN, TX--Today the Texas House of Representatives approved House Bill 602 by State Representative Jessica Farrar (Houston), a measure that allows craft breweries to provide sample bottles of beer following a tour of the brewery. The bill is promoted by the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, a consortium of twelve small brewing operations from Austin, Houston, Fort Worth, and other Texas towns.

Craft breweries, such as St. Arnold's located in Representative Farrar's district in Houston, are not merely manufacturers of their product. The sites are also popular tourist attractions where visitors and local enthusiasts flock for tours. Under current Texas law, breweries are prohibited from offering beer to tourists for off-premises consumption.

These restrictions have been an obstacle for Texas-based craft brewers in their ability to fully market their product. At no time is the beer enthusiast's interest in a particular beer higher than at the end of a brewery tour. Now, when a tour participant wants to take home a couple of six packs of their favorite craft brew, they will be able to.

This measure will build up demand for craft brews to be stocked on grocery store shelves. Small craft brewers stand at a marketing disadvantage to large brewers of major labels that have substantial advertising budgets. The bill also maintains adequate safeguards to ensure that production locations are not retail outlets.

After the bill's passage, Farrar commented on the merits of the legislation: "It is well past time for Texas to take steps to support this growing industry. HB 602 will allow more Texans--as well as those lucky enough to visit Texas--the opportunity to take home samples of the fine craft brews that reflect the independence and creativity of Texas craft brewers."

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