Archive for the News Category

Texas laws slowing the growth of craft breweries

Posted in News on November 23, 2009 by James

Texas Capitol: where state laws are born

I’ve talked to a number of craft brewers lately and one topic that continues to surface is alcohol distribution laws in Texas. Here in the lone star state craft brewers must choose between either a distribution licence for a brewery or a brewpub, they can’t choose both. Below I will explain the difference between the two to the best of my knowledge.

Brewpub License: This license entitles the holder to brew their own beer at their brewpub and sell it on location. However, this license prohibits the holder from distributing their beer anywhere outside of the brewpub. In other words, you will never see Texas brewpub beer (Billy’s, NXNX, Draught House, Love Joys) on any store shelves.

Brewery License (PDF): This license entitles the holder to brew beer at their brewery and distribute it throughout the state. However, the legal hurdle for breweries is the law that prohibits them from selling beer at their brewery. This means that say you go to a brewery tour and afterwards you want to buy a fresh 6-pack to enjoy at home. Well , according to Texas law this is illegal and you’re out of luck. Instead you’ll have to buy that same 6-pack at the nearest store that carries it. This law is especially strange when you consider that Texas wineries do not have to follow this rule. It is perfectly legal to go to a winery, sit down and enjoy a couple of glasses, and even take a bottle home if you choose.

During the last legislative session a number of brewery and brewpub owners actually went down to the capital to lobby for the rules to change. Unfortunately they were not heard and none of the distribution laws were changed. These laws have arguably hindered the creation of craft breweries in Texas because of the limitations they impose. For instance, in states like California and Colorado the beer laws are almost the same as the wine laws and these states have a great deal more craft breweries.

Related material:


Capitol Image:


Coming soon: Black Star Pub/Brewery

Posted in Events, News with tags , , , on November 5, 2009 by James

Shining Star by ff137A truly unique beer pub/brewery is on the verge of development here in Austin. The group behind its creation, called Black Star Co-op, claims that they are going to open the “world’s first cooperatively-owned and worker self-managed brewpub.” The Co-op charges $85 for a membership and by joining, members contribute to the building and hiring of the brew pub/brewery. In addition, members are given one share of membership stock and are able to vote on a board of directors that determines long term goals.

The Black Star Co-op was founded in January of 2006 by beer aficionado Steve Yarak. Since its inception, the Co-op has grown to include over 1,000 members. In its current form the Co-op is really more like a beer social where members meet up and discuss the progress of their master plan for a brewery. These beer socials are held monthly at various locations around Austin. The most current social will be taking place on Nov. 14 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at an undisclosed location. The reason for the secrecy is because the Co-op has purchased a site for their brewery and they plan to unveil its location a few days prior to the gathering.

The Co-op’s idea strikes me as both smart and exciting. A beer pub by and for beer fans will hopefully be a huge success. In fact, I’m seriously thinking about forking over the 85 bucks and becoming a member. For any one else interested in the Black Star Co-op I encourage you to go to one of their beer socials and learn more about this soon to be pub/brewery.


black star image:

Burnt Orange Bud Light Brouhaha

Posted in News with tags , , on October 29, 2009 by Bill Bowman

If you are like the typical college student, you have drunk a beer or two this college football season. You have probably also noticed that some beer cans have a little more team spirit than others. Since August, Bud Light has been selling beer cans in a distinctive orange can around Austin, to help promote Bud Light as a UT supporting beer.


Longhorn faithful love everything Burnt Orange.

Bud Light has 26 “fan cans” listed on its tailgate themed website, including the “burnt orange and white”. The website simply lists the cans and asks visitors to vote. Black and Gold appears to be winning with %9, compared to UT’s %2.The website also has other tailgate themed interactivity courtesy of “Jimmy”.

The topic of underage drinking and college binge drinking has been on the mind of educators and parents everywhere. Estimates on the lethality of college age drinking vary, but everyone agrees that binge drinking is something that should be discouraged and no college wants to be seen promoting it.


Some groups are concerned that the cans could imply colleges support binge drinking.

Unsurprisingly, many colleges are not happy with this. The Wall Street Journal reports that many colleges, including Texas A&M and other Texas schools, are up in arms over the unauthorized branding. The vast majority have even asked Bud Light to cease producing the cans.

UT has taken a different tact when dealing with this issue – they say the color is not even burnt orange. Chris Plonsk, who overseas UT licensing was quoted in the WSJ, saying “You wouldn’t have thought it had anything to do with us.”

Well, if Chris Plonsk doesn’t have a problem with the non-burnt orange color that has appeared on the bud lights beer cans, I say drink one for Bevo!

Bill Bowman