Update: 2015 Session (3.10.15)
The 2015 Session is finally underway. 

Committees have been chosen and now it’s time to get to work filing bills.

A quick note on the Committee selections –
(For information on the Committee members, see our website – here.)

On the Senate side, Eltife’s no-surprise Business and Commerce Committee Chair appointment is a good thing for us. Last session, he was the Sponsor for bills SB515-518. We have also had positive discussions with his staff about the session and consumer issues.

On the House side, Chair of Licensing and Regulations Wayne Smith was recently honored at Saint Arnold for his help last session. He is also amenable to another round of beer legislation.

You should also recognize some of those names, they are YOUR Senators and Representatives!

We have compiled the survey results (more on that shortly) and spoken to countless industry stakeholders to gather important feedback on the issues that matter most. Our lobbyists have this information in hand and are working with the Senate and House committee members to get bills drafted.

The progress so far on our main issues:
Festivals – We are very excited to be working with Representative Goldman of Fort Worth on this issue. He has been exceptionally helpful in preliminary discussions. We are currently working with legislative staff on specific bill language (this is a complicated issue). As soon as we have a bill number we will let you know!

Homebrewing – After conversations with TABC about the possibility of taking care of these issues (homebrew competitions, etc.) in the code itself we learned this will have to happen in the legislative arena. Representative Springer, a homebrewer himself, has been extremely helpful and supportive, we are fired up to be working with him. As with the festivals issue, we are waiting on official language to be drafted and a bill to be filed. Stay tuned for more on this.

Shipping – We have a bill filed that we can support!! SB 719 sponsored by Senator Connie Burton of Fort Worth. This bill will allow direct shipment of beer to consumers, from both in and out-of-state breweries. Her staff is currently working out some issues with the language (this bill covers liquor as well as beer at this point), so don’t get too concerned about specifics in the bill just yet. We are expecting a committee substitute bill in the coming weeks.

Off-premise sales – This issue is facing major hurdles and we are working closely with the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, so while we don’t have a bill filed yet, we are still optimistic on this front.

Growler Sales at Mixed Beverage Licensed Establishments – Unfortunately, we have not found much of an appetite in the Texas Legislature to change the rules governing retail establishments that serve mixed beverages this year. We continue to talk to as many people as possible in the Texas Capitol, but unless something changes in the coming weeks, the timing does not seem right for this change.

Replacing TABC labeling requirements with TTB approval – Our lobbyists have had a conversation with the TABC and they have emphasized their efforts to streamline the process and have been working closely with Texas breweries to accomplish this.

Survey Results:

Take a look below! While we can’t tackle everything this session, we are making some great progress on what is important to YOU.

What else?!

For now, we don’t have a call to action, we’re saving this for when the time is right!Make sure you know who your Senator and Representative are, especially if they are on the important committees.

BREWERIES! Want to help us accomplish our goals this session? Donating beer to be taken to the Capitol would help us keep our thirsty agenda on our Senators and Representatives minds! Email us to chat more about this!

Events:

Save the date: April 4th – Tasting event at Chimera Brewing Company in Fort Worth, with Jester King! Stay tuned for more details.

Social Media Hour with our Lobbyists! More information coming soon. We want to give everyone time to ask our excellent lobbyists at Cornerstone questions about the 2015 session, the issues we face, filing bills, and more.