Today, Texas lawmakers could give the state's craft breweries a Texas-sized boost. They'll consider a set of bills to loosen the rules for beer makers. Texas is no pioneer in the craft beer movement. In fact, it ranks 45th in the nation in breweries per capita. But that number doesn't tell the whole story.
To this point, the rule at Texas breweries has been "take only memories." People on a tour couldn't buy beer there. But if approved, this new legislation would let breweries sell pints. And, it would let brewpubs sell their beer to grocery stores.
"Craft breweries in the state have a hard time getting solid footing because of the restrictions in allowing them to have access to market," says Scott Metzger, who goes by @beermonkey on Twitter, and who negotiated the bill on behalf of craft brewers.
Metzger says Texans do drink a lot of specialized brews. It's just not beer made in Texas. And come on, there's no shortage of Texas pride. "It just goes to show that Texans really, really want Texas products," he says.
Nationally, states are placing fewer restrictions on craft breweries, says Jeffrey Klineman, editor-in-chief of BevNET.com. Compared to other states, he says, Texas is a little behind the curve.
"It's a really big state, and it's got a more slowly maturing craft beer market," Klineman says.
This law, he says, would definitely help speed that up.