Bill Would Allow Limited Sales of Beer at Breweries

Legislature to consider beer sales change

Beer aficionados across Texas are hoping the Legislature will pass two bills that could change the way you buy your favorite beverage.

Rahr and Sons Brewery south of downtown Fort Worth makes more than a dozen different kinds of beer throughout the year.

But to get everything from Rahr's Red to Ugly Pug, you have to head to grocery or liquor store -- even if you've been on the tour.

"We are allowed to have a tour and tasting here to allow people to come in and drink beer for free, but we can't make them pay for it," said Fritz Rahr, of Rahr and Sons. "We have to make them drink it for free."

Two years ago, a bill that would have allowed for the outright sales of products on the premises died in Austin.

House Bill 602 doesn't go that far, but it would allow those who pay for a tour to walk away with as many as 48 bottles.

"Vineyards are allowed to sell their products on site as well, so we're really not asking for anything more than anyone else," Rahr said. "What we're doing is asking for the opportunity to compete in a fair market."

HB 602 was introduced by Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston. She said the change would serve as an "economic engine" benefiting brewers and distributors alike.

Distributors have historically opposed such a change.

But Farrar said she doesn't know how far the bill will get.

If it doesn't pass, the barley and hops will keep flowing at Rahr and Sons.

"We'll still be here, and we'll keep plugging away, and two years from now we'll do it again," Rahr said.

House Bill 660, which was also introduced this year, would allow brewpubs to sell their product off site for the first time with some restrictions.

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