Help Us Fix Them!
CraftPAC is a Texas-based general purpose Political Action Committee (PAC) founded by Texas Craft Brewers.
Its explicit purpose is to protect the rights of Texas breweries and to champion common sense, 21st-century legislative reforms.
Texas Craft Beer Can’t Reach its Potential Without Substantive Legislative Change
Despite the state’s many archaic beer laws, there are now more than 200 breweries operating throughout Texas. It’s a testament to the quality of Texas craft beer, the pioneering spirit of Texas brewers, and the passion and thirst of drinkers that the industry is as successful as it currently is. However, Texas only ranks 46th out of 50 nationwide in number of breweries per capita. This is largely because of the often hostile legislative and regulatory environment of the last few years, and it has indeed had a chilling effect on the industry’s growth. In order for Texas craft breweries to better compete, expand, hire personnel, and generate greater economic impact it is imperative that Texas beer laws adapt with the times. Only then will Texas attain its rightful place at the top of the craft beer industry.
It wasn’t until 1993 that brewpubs were legalized in Texas but by doing so the state created an entirely new facet of the industry, one that nearly all other states already allowed. 20 years later, a successful 2013 Texas Legislative Session, combined with rising popularity of craft beer, led a flock of brewers-turned-entrepreneurs to open up craft breweries throughout the state. All it took was some seemingly common sense reform, but reform that nearly didn’t happen. In 2013, beer laws were dragged, kicking and screaming, from the 1930s all the way into the 1970s.
Craft Beer Faces Powerful Foes in the Fight for Progress
Why has it been so hard to modernize the beer laws in Texas? Put Simply, Texas beer distributors stand opposed to any legislation that would expand the rights of brewers. As a result, Texas remains the only state left in the Union that doesn’t allow beer-to-go sales from breweries. That means that 93% of Americans enjoy a right that Texans are denied.
For too long, beer distributors have been able to exert enormous influence on the Texas legislature through millions of dollars in political contributions, totaling more than $18 million over the last 10 years alone. That’s an incredible amount of money. This kind of influence has led to the Texas legislature passing anticompetitive, regressive beer laws which include House Bill 3287 (2017) and Senate Bill 639 (2013), the latter of which has resulted in a lawsuit against the state that is poised to be heard by the Texas Supreme Court. Think this sounds crazy? Read about House Bill 3287 in this piece from the Texas Tribune, and make your own judgement about the kind of influence that’s wielded.
So How Does Craft Beer Win?
Despite years of organized efforts at the Capitol, stakeholder outreach, and concerted advocacy work, Texas Craft Brewers are simply outgunned by the wholesale lobby. If we are going to level the playing field at the Capitol we will have to fight fire with fire. The entire TEXAS CRAFT BEER COMMUNITY needs to stand together. Those who work to keep craft beer down have had an 80 year head start and are extremely well organized, but they don’t get to win forever. Help us fix the broken, antiquated beer laws and make Texas the greatest beer state in the nation!