Texas Brews News
By: TX Brews | 06/09/2011As many of you are aware, May 26th, 2011, Texas' craft brewers suffered a major setback when the Texas State Senate buried House Bill 602. While this bill unanimously passed through the House of Representatives, the state Senate chose to not consider the bill and this decision means that another iteration of the bill cannot come up for vote until 2013. HB602 would have allowed Texas brewers who conduct brewery tours to sell their beer directly to the visiting public, a practice that is commonplace in many other states. Although the sales garnered from such a privilege seem small, HB602 would have allowed tourists to bring Texas beer back to their home states, where it might not be available, and it would have offered another avenue of exposure for small brewers trying to share their product with the craft beer community.
Many sources, including the Houston Chronicle's Ronnie Crocker, have speculated as to AB-InBev's, (the world's largest beer conglomerate), role in lobbying for the failure of HB602. In other states, such as Illinois and Wisconsin, similar initiatives to support craft brewers have also been squashed and rumors pinpoint AB-InBev's as integral to those failures. These are the harsh and brutal facts of what happened to HB602, but the question that seems to be on the minds of most proactive Texans is simple: How do we fight this outside megapower from controlling the local businesses in our state?
Below, I submit to you my "Call to Ales", which, after careful consideration, offers my opinion on a plan of action for frustrated Texans who want to work for a positive change in their state:
Friends, Texans, craft beer lovers: Indulge me for a moment. While the anger and frustration we all feel at the loss of HB602 is more than justified, we need to organize our ire and direct our energies towards the positive. Reacting against state Senators is certainly a tempting option, but I believe working toward educating politicians and Texas beer drinkers to appreciate the local craft beer available in our state and the economic benefits gained in supporting Texas based industry will do far more for our cause.
Yes, on Thursday, May 26th, I did make a few angry phone calls myself, but in hindsight, I realize a better plan of action would be to sit down with my state Senator, buy him or her a Texas brewed craft beer and explain my position.
We have two years of time before the Texas Legislature returns to session, and I propose rather than martyr ourselves and further isolate ourselves from other beer drinkers, we should make use of this time by sharing a beer with someone who might dismiss us as "beer snobs".
I urge you to not see the end of HB602 as a resounding defeat, but instead accept the challenge of thinking local and encouraging others, even non-beer drinkers, to see how supporting the craft beer industry is a way to promote the great state of Texas.
Ultimately, this fight goes beyond a good pint and encourages us to buy local to boost our own economy. Along with shopping local and eating local, persuade others to drink local and we can start making the change that will force legislators to see how our Texas industries can do more for our state than outside, foreign corporations with deep pockets and ulterior motives.
Buying Texas-born and Texas-brewed beer keeps our money in our economy.
Manager General, Texas Beer Fest
Craft Beer Advocate