Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Open the Taps: A Political Movement

You probably already know about this, because I'm a little late to this party and every one else has already written about it. Sorry, I'm on vacation right now, and can't overcome an inertia that only allows either swimming, or lying on the couch and reading, or drinking beer. But here's the quick and dirty: A nonprofit group called Open the Taps — a successor, I suppose, to Friends of Texas Microbreweries? — has formed in order to "act as an advocate for craft beer enthusiasts in Texas within the bounds of the multi-tier system and the legislative process."

In other words, they're getting organized now in hopes of changing Texas absurd laws regarding microbreweries and brewpubs, laws that unfairly restrict their ability to grow their businesses, in the 2013 legislative session. Attempts at reform have been killed by certain distributors who insist Texas cling to its outdated "three-tier" distribution system (requiring that producers, distributors, and retailers be kept separate). Do a search on my blog or on the website of The Austin Chronicle to see my coverage of bills that failed at the Lege this past spring.

Since I'm feeling too lazy to do a big write-up right now, I'll direct you to the reporting of the Houston Chronicle's Ronnie Crocker. The killer quote, which will likely become the official battle cry, from Houston's Ted Duchesne of the Barley Vine blog: "The fourth tier wants to speak up."

My vacation ends next week. I promise to resume being a better beer blogger and reporter when I return.

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