Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Latest update on on-site sales bills

I just tuned in to the committee hearing for Rep. Lon Burnam's bill to permit on-site sales for breweries in Texas. There isn't much to report. Unlike the hearing for Jessica Farrar's bill, there wasn't much spoken testimony, just Burnam laying out his bill; the only other testimony was written comments from the Beer Alliance of Texas and the Wholesale Beer Distributors of Texas, both against the bill.

I understand Farrar's bill better now: It's a compromise that was crafted with the help of BAT, soomething I didn't realize until I read this great article in Texas Watchdog. The basic difference: Farrar's bill would make the take-home beer part of a brewery tour package, whereas Burnam's would allow straight-up sales to the public. Presumably, that gives it a better chance of passing, which Burnam acknowledged, saying that he'd be happy with Farrar's bill as long as something allowing on-site sales gets passed.

But I said better chance, not a good chance. While BAT supports Farrar's bill, WBDT was still against it, and the latter is the more powerful lobbyist. Read that article and you'll get an idea of why it's still likely dead in the water.

I just don't understand WBDT's don't-give-an-inch mentality. When on-site sales for wineries was allowed, there was actually an uptick in sales for wine distributors. Do these guys really believe that I'm going to stop going to my neighborhood store and instead drive 53 miles out to Blanco to get my supply of Fireman's #4?


Dan Keeney said...

Thanks for the report. You are right about the Texas Watchdog investigative report -- should be required reading for any fan of Texas craft beer. My understanding is that the key players who will decide if HB 2094 gets out of committee will be Mike "Tuffy" Hamilton from Southeast Texas- and Representative Charlie Geren from NW Tarrant County-

If anyone out there lives in their district, please let them know of your support.

Jeffrey said...

Sadly, they probably do believe you will drive 50 miles instead of stopping at a store near your home.

Steve said...

They seem to object just for the sake of objecting. I guess if you employ that many lobbyists, you need to keep them busy, whether its something that really affects them or not.

I can still hear his "It will turn the three tier system on its head" spoken in that great Hank Hill accent of his. Cracks me up.