AUSTIN, Texas -- There's a brewing battle in Texas over getting your beer to-go.
- Texas is only state that does not allow beer to-go sales from breweries
- Currently, breweries can only sell beer for consumption on their premises
- Bill in Texas Legislature would change that
Currently, Texas is the only state in the country that does not allow beer to-go sales from breweries, but a bipartisan pair of Central Texas lawmakers is trying to change that.
In Texas you can take home a bottle of wine from a Texas winery, and the same is true for a distillery, or brewpub. As the law stands now, breweries can only sell beer for consumption on their premises.
It's an issue brewers are teaming up to try to change. Austin Beer Works owner Adam DeBower is doing what his patrons can't, taking beers to go, and hand-delivering them to lawmakers at the Capitol.
Each can touts the two bills that DeBower said would level the playing field for craft brewers across the state, by holding local breweries like Austin Beer Works to the same legal standards as wineries and distilleries.
"You can go to a Texas winery and take wine with you when you leave, you can go to a Texas distillery and buy distilled spirits and take it when you leave," Debower said.
Under current Texas law, manufacturing breweries that produce less than 225,000 barrels of beer a year can sell up to 5,000 barrels for on-site consumption. Two companion bills from a Republican Senator and Democratic House member would allow consumers to take that beer to-go.
"This is something that's legal for manufacturing breweries in 49 other states so we're just asking for the same rights that everyone else has," sCaroline Wallace with the Texas Craft Brewers Guild said.
But distributors will be fighting back. They have successfully lobbied in the past that allowing beer to-go would hurt sales for retailers and wholesalers.
"The middle tier thinks that any opportunity for beer to be sold outside of their influence is pennies that they're losing. But you're literally talking about billionaires crying about pennies for small manufacturers," Debower said.
Some breweries have found a loop hole in the restrictions by registering themselves as a brewpub, rather than a manufacturing brewery. This allows them to sell beer to-go, but it means they can't make as much beer. Brewers say this is an inconvenience that winery and distillery owners don't have to deal with.
Click the video link above to watch our interview with Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin. He’s one of the lawmakers pushing for beer-to-go sales in Texas.