The failure of two pieces of legislation in the last session of the Texas Legislature (HB 602 & 660) that would have significantly improved the outlook for the Texas craft beer industry served as a catalyst for a few Texans to band together to garner change in Texas laws to benefit craft beer consumers. Open The Taps was founded on the principles of a consumer advocacy organization but with a clear focus on working within the legislative process in Texas to help to loosen the restrictions that are stifling the growth of the burgeoning national craft beer movement in Texas, ultimately limiting consumer choice.
By approaching legislative change as a consumer advocate as opposed to from within one of the traditional three tiers of the industry (retailer, distributor and brewer), Open The Taps aims to speak as one voice—the fourth tier—for Texas craft beer consumers in the state’s legislative and regulatory process. To that end, the group is holding a series of membership drives across the state to recruit members and solicit donations to the cause. Primary in this statewide campaign is the 100 for $100 drive. Open The Taps wants to find 100 individuals in the each of 4 largest metro areas in the state willing to donate $100 towards the cause of the organization.
The success of the 100 for $100 campaign is critical for Open The Taps—providing both the funding needed to operate effectively heading into the 2013 Legislative session as well as creating a critical mass of passionate craft beer consumers to provide input, help shape the specific agenda for the group and be advocates for craft beer in the upcoming elections.
Open The Taps and was founded by a group of Texans who happen to live in Houston. Board members are are Dallas-area native Ted Duchesne (President) of the beer blog Barley Vine, Leslie Sprague (Secretary/ Media Relations) of the beer blog Lushtastic and native Houstonian Chris White (Treasurer/ Controller), an avid craft beer enthusiast and home brewer. Other notable members of the Board of Directors are Cathy Clark, founder of Houston and Dallas Beer Weeks and the charity incubator Live It Big, and John Speights, craft beer fanatic and (of course) a home brewer.