Austin (KXAN) - - There's a frothy debate going on over allowing craft brewers in Texas to sell their beer farther afield and allowing some small self distribution schemes to develop.
"That creates jobs for Texans, creates taxes for the state and creates more variety of beer for the consumer," said Davis Tucker, a member of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild .
Again this legislative session, small scale brewers are hoping politicians listen to them instead of a big beer distribution lobby.
Tucker has been in business since 1987. And during that time, state law has forbid him from sending his bottles of pilsner or pale ale to the neighborhood grocery store for resale. Customers have to come to him at his brew pub, North By Northwest.
The rules are different for wineries that allow sale of bottles in major grocery or liquor store chains.
Broadening the rules on where craft brewers can sell their suds, boils down to distribution and the middle man who wants his cut, too. But one of several beer-related bills before Texas lawmakers allows an opening for the small craft brewer.
"He has his own brewpub where people can come and drink it," said Tucker. "But he also has a little bit of self distribution where he can go sell it to his stores, build his brand and then the distributor gets to come along and say, 'Hey this guy's going pretty well, it's good beer, maybe we should carry that."
In part, the current version says no brewer may fix prices or coerce a distributor to carry his product.
But Davis Tucker says no one's coercing anyone. It's about offering more variety to a thirsty marketplace and allowing the popular products to be the ones distributors decide to carry.
"If this bill passes, the people who are against it are going to make more money," he said.
Sen. Carona's bill remains pending before the committee, which meets again on March 12.
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