Beer To-Go Sales in Texas Start Sunday

Starting Sunday visitors to craft breweries in Texas will be allowed to take home the beer they just tasted.

A new law allowing beer to-go sales for breweries takes effect September 1.

Craft brewers have long pushed for the change, saying it could increase business and tourism. Texas is the only state that hasn't allowed beer to-go sales directly from brewers.

"We get the question all the time," said Gavin Secchi with 3 Nations Brewing Co. "A lot of people that come from out of state don't know the law here and they're kind of surprised we can't sell beer to go. That will change soon."

The brewery in Farmers Branch is throwing a party on Sunday to celebrate.

"Beer in that cooler can go home with people. That's interesting, that's very exciting for us," said Secchi.

Smaller brewpubs that typically are required to sell food, depending on their location, were allowed to sell beer-to-go in Texas. Wineries could also sell wine to customers, but craft brewers could not. Distributors had previously pushed back, concerned about being cut out of the sale.

The new law limits customers to one case per day.

"We're not trying to take anything away from our retailers or our distributors because they're who got us here," Secchi insisted.

He says his brewery still needs the middle man to keep his beers available in stores, but beer to-go gives another option for customers and visitors to the tap room.

"People want to take home what they consume inside of a brewery and if you don't finish that beer the next week, or the following week, maybe it's the 3rd week, you get that nostalgic feel of your visit to 3 Nations," explained Secchi. "Hopefully it brings you back here."

Craft breweries have been on the rise in Texas. According to the National Brewers Association, there were 283 craft breweries in Texas last year. In 2011, there were 59.

Commercial real estate firm, Jones Lang LaSalle, says its research showed craft beer is one of the biggest business trends in food and beverage. Texas has more than six times the number of active beer production licenses than at the start of the decade, said JLL.

With the beer to-go law hitting the books, JLL expects the industry to grow in the state with increasing competition and revenue for craft breweries.

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