The failure of two pieces of legislation in the 2011 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 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, Open The Taps is a membership-driven organization whose priorities are set by the people who are impacted. Goals are set based on member surveys, and those goals drive the actions of Open The Taps, during and around legislative sessions, before elections, and year round.
Open The Taps and was founded by a group of Texan beer drinkers, not industry members, and continues to be a consumer-focused organization. The current board members are Leslie Sprague (President), Nathan Miller (Operations), Chris White (Treasurer/Controller), and Ted Duchesne.