One Year! It’s hard to believe that it’s already been a year ago that a small group of like minded individuals, upset at what had occurred during the last legislative session, came together to form a craft beer consumer advocacy group. Yet it is one year since Open The Taps was born, and what a year it’s been. It all started with a kickoff party at Moon Tower Inn and since then there has been no looking back. We have well over 400 members, full of passionate consumers that want the beer laws in Texas changed. We have seen a tremendous amount of support across the state. I have been beyond pleased with the reaction to Open The Taps. The amount of support and gratitude that has come pouring forth from Texas consumers has been amazing. Additionally, the support from the craft beer industry has been awesome. We have developed corporate sponsors from Texas craft breweries, bars, and even distributors. What this shows me is that everyone who loves craft beer is ready for the laws to change in Texas and that with your support we can make it happen.
So what has Open The Taps been doing this past year? We spent a lot of time doing outreach to you the consumer, traveling to Austin, San Antonio, Waco, Shiner, Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano, and of course our hometown of Houston. We have reached out to politicians (more on that in a moment), and the media to try to educate them on what’s wrong with Texas beer laws. We have raised almost $20,000 (this doesn’t include money we have spent buying shirts and pint glasses that folks have purchased). We sent out a questionnaire to our 100 for 100 members to help develop our legislative priorities, and got a huge response (60%). We held special events around the state, special dinners, special kegs, all in the name of support the craft beer industry in Texas. We’ve communicated with our political officials, sending out a questionnaire to everyone running in a primary election, and we posted those results on our website as an election guide for voters. Lastly we have become involved with a working group hosted by TABC that involves distributors, brewers and through OTT, the consumers. The goal of this working group is to come to a consensus in developing craft beer legislation going into the session starting in January 2013. This is the first time that the consumer has had a voice at the table in a situation like this and we plan on ensuring that that voice is heard.
As you can see we’ve had a busy first year, but the second one looks like it will be even busier. So what are our plans? First, we will continue to participate in the working group to develop meaningful legislation for the upcoming session. We also plan on using some of the money we raised to hire a lobbyist to help ensure that whatever legislation is developed passes. Additional funds will be used we get closer to the 2013 session, we will be sending out information packets to legislatures educating them on the Texas Craft beer market, flyers out to consumers, and advertisements to help get the word out on important legislation. We will continue to reach out to those running for office through the general election and updating our election guide as appropriate so that you the voter will know who supports craft beer and who doesn’t. Of course the upcoming year offers plenty of opportunity for fun beer related events, so know that many things will be planned including our participation in the various city beer weeks throughout the year. Our first event of our second year will be a One Year anniversary party at Petrol Station on Saturday the 21st. Please come, share in celebrating the first of many years of Open the Taps, and know that with your help the consumer now has a voice in the future of the craft beer industry in Texas.
Thank you for your amazing support this year.