Microbrewers Bill Alive but 'On Life Support'

Farrar's HB 2094 gets out of committee

A sampling of the Texas-made brews you could buy at the brewery if the on-site sales bill passes
A sampling of the Texas-made brews you could buy at the brewery if the on-site sales bill passes (photo by John Anderson)

Houston Rep. Jessica Farrar's bill to allow Texas microbreweries to sell their product on the premises finally made it out of the Licensing & Administrative Procedures Committee yesterday. After being holed up there – due to the muscle of the Wholesale Beer Distributors of Texas, she alleged – for more than a month, it finally passed out on a 5-2 vote.

Microbrewers and their fans should not pop the cork on the champagne – wait, make that a Belgian trippel – yet. This late in the session, it will probably be a bit much to expect it to get through House Calendars, floor debate, and then repeat the process in the Senate.

On-site sales for wineries were legalized in 2003; ever since, beermakers have complained of discriminatory treatment and pushed for similar rights. On-sites sales could have a particular benefit in Central Texas, which has four microbreweries: Live Oak, Independence, and (512) here in Austin and Real Ale in Blanco, not to mention the big kid on the micro block, Spoetzl Brewery in nearby Shiner.

(Microbreweries should not be confused with brewpubs – restaurants/bars that brew their own – which have been legal since 1993.)

Farrar said media interest in the bill is probably what finally crowbarred it of committee, but still, "it's on life support," Farrar just told me on the House floor. "But you know, it's progress. … Sometimes it can take several sessions to pass a bill."

Two years ago, a similar bill never got out of committee. The fact that the bill got out this time, she said, could help it get out earlier two years from now, perhaps with some tweaks.

And maybe a Hail Mary could still happen this session. "I still have some irons in the fire on this," Farrar smiled cryptically.

Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at austinchronicle.com/opinion.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More 81st Legislature
The Senate Shuffle
The Senate Shuffle
Lt. Gov. Dewhurst makes surprise committee switches

Richard Whittaker, July 14, 2010

The Four Horsemen of the Deficit
The Four Horsemen of the Deficit
Examining the new House committees on state spending

Richard Whittaker, Jan. 13, 2010

More Beer
Austin Craft Brewers vs. COVID-19: Zilker Brewing and Nomadic Beerworks
Austin Craft Brewers vs. COVID-19: Zilker Brewing and Nomadic Beerworks
How local breweries are responding to the pandemic (Part 3)

Eric Puga, April 8, 2020

Austin Beer for the World Cup
Austin Beer for the World Cup
Let your favorite local brew determine who you’ll bet on to win

Eric Puga, June 13, 2018

More by Lee Nichols
From the Music Desk
From the Music Desk
On Willie, Billy, Stevie Ray, Blaze, and more highlights from four decades of covering Austin music

Sept. 3, 2021

Game Changer
Game Changer
A new football culture for Austin bars

Oct. 23, 2015


81st Legislature, beer, microbreweries, Jessica Farrar

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle