The Texas House of Representatives voted to extend the extend beer and wine sales on Sundays. If approved, it would also allow craft beer makes sell their beverages to-go, bringing the Lone Star State legislation in that field in line with the rest of the country.
Under the current regime, you can buy beer on Sunday in Texas from noon onward. If the Senate passes the bill, the stores licensed to sell beer and wine would be able to do that from 10 a.m. The lobby groups which have been campaigning in favor of the changes defined it as a significant victory.
It is worth mentioning that the amendments would not affect the liquor stores that are closed on Sundays. The House approved the bill on third reading Friday morning. It is now heading to the Texas Senate for consideration.
The state Reps. Drew Springer, R-Muenster, and Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin added the two amendments to the ''sunset bill'' HB1545 in the last moment. The bill aims to analyze the effectiveness of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC).
As per the local legislation, Texas' Sunset Advisory Commission analyzes all the government agencies every 12 years. Therefore, the sunset bill should pass by the end of May to prevent the agency shutdown.
The large beer retailers and distributors who provide large quantities of beer to grocery stores were among the few to oppose the bill, according to The Dallas Observer. Rep. Rodriguez who initiated the changes commented he pushed so hard for them in order to boost the small businesses across the state.
Rep. Rodriguez pointed out that under the current legislation in Texas, locals and tourists can go to a winery, distillery, or a brewpub, buy their products and bring them home. However, when you visit one of the many small Texas craft breweries, you are not allowed by law to purchase souvenir bottles, six-packs, or growler fills.
The Texas Craft Brewers Guild, the lobby group promoting local craft beer expressed its satisfaction with the bill on Twitter, calling it ''a major victory.'' The guild already initiated a petition to support beer-to-go sales from craft breweries which gathered an impressive number of signatures. The local blog Good Brew Guide welcomed the news saying it was a ''historic day'' for Texas.
State Senator Dawn Buckingham commented on Facebook that the main aim of the bill was to eliminate the ''unnecessary government intervention'' in the sector. Buckingham also added that the Texas craft breweries should enjoy the same privilege as the local wineries and distilleries have and to be allowed to sell beer for off-premise consumption.
The bill is now the hands of the Texas Senate. It can either approve it or scarp the amendments. Do you think the Senate would support the local small businesses and approve the bill?