Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Another On-Site Sales Bill

Another bill to allow on-site sales for brewers was filed in the Texas Legislature back on Feb. 4, but slipped under my radar until just now. And it's coming up in committee next week, before the SB 754/HB 1062 that I've discussed and promoted previously.

This one is House Bill 2094 by Houston Rep. Jessica Farrar (pictured), the sponsor of the unsuccessful on-site sales bill last session.

I haven't had a chance to talk with Farrar about this bill yet (I discovered it only about 20 minutes ago), but it seems much more limited than Lon Burnam's 1062. If I'm reading it right, it would only affect microbrewers (it only applies to those whose production does not exceed 250,000 barrels a year, whereas 1062 has no upper limit and applies to those that produce at a minimum of 1,000 barrels annually), and its sales limits are much stricter (Burnam's bill caps on-site sales at 35,000 gallons, while Farrar's puts the limit at 5,000). [CORRECTION: Whoops, I totally misread Farrar's bill — it limits sales to 5,000 barrels, not gallons, which means it actually allows much more than Burnam's: 155,000 gallons.]

Frankly, it seems like Burnam's is the better bill, so I'm wondering if she had some political reasons for such a radically different bill. I'd also love to know with whom she consulted (I'd assume Saint Arnold, her collaborator from last time, but again, I haven't talked with anyone about it yet).

Both bills have been referred to the House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee; Farrar's will be heard by the committee on Wednesday, March 18. The hearing will begin at 8am in Room E2.016 of the Capitol
, but there are nine bills listed before it, so it likely won't come up until later in the morning. The Burnam bill has not been scheduled for a hearing.

Not certain yet, but it's possible the meeting will be webcast live here.


assurbanipaul said...

I saw this and, like I commented previously, it smells like Monday-morning QBing by someone red-faced they didn't submit the bill first.

Can't see any advantage to two competing bills.

Bill Shirley said...

I spoke to Brock Wagner and Rep. Farrar made a comment about this.

Brock told me there are several legal issues with 1062 - particularly the "beer" exclusion.

There was considerable work done last session by a variety of people. They are now aware of where the roadblocks may lie (which likely includes the limitation to micros and production). HB1062 was drafted without consulting them.

assurbanipaul said...

A clarification I received said that Farrar's bill would allow breweries to "charge for tours and as part of the charge for the tour can include a six-pack or case (up to 2 cases) of beer."

Meant as a compromise but, personally, sounds like a dumb idea. It either (a) permits sales only during the limited tour hours or (b) forces breweries to be open all the time for "tours" just to sell.

What we want is for breweries to be able to sell, period, not some bastardized compromise that I'm sure TABC will have commit agents to enforce.