Hide Your Wife; Hide Your Kids. Craft Brewers Are Out To Corrupt Us All.

We feel for Rick Donley; really, we do. Especially after reading this morning’s New York Times article by Chris Smith (Texas Tribune). How befuddling it must be for Donley, as president of the Beer Alliance of Texas (read: lobbyist for big boys Bud Light, Miller Lite, Budweiser, Coors Light and Natural Light), to have to continually explain why allowing small breweries in Texas to distribute their beer is such a bad, bad idea, how it will ruin us all, and how your very children will be in danger if craft breweries are able to make their product available under the same regulatory channels that the big boys do.

Here are some favorite passages:

Mr. Donley said he worries that their products could be shipped to dry counties or to minors. “This regulatory system has worked well since Prohibition,” Mr. Donley said. “Why anybody wants to disrupt it is a question I can never quite get an answer to.”


while the locally brewed beer business is booming nationally, it is lagging in Texas, where the laws governing distribution are restrictive.

You may recall that we broached this issue in our October 2010 issue; many of you echoed our frustrations. Now’s the time to keep pushing, folks, especially since the lunacy of our regulatory system is qualifying as national news. Want to join the fight? Check out Texas Beer Freedom, a non-profit lobbying group on OUR side of the issue.

I encourage you to read the entire article to get how truly transparent and ludicrous Donley’s argument is. (And let us know if you, to, see obvious parallels to a certain family values argument that makes levelheaded people boil in their boots.)

(Many thanks and props to Christopher Smith who wrote and researched the NYT/Texas Tribune article.)


  • rubbercow

    The “brewers” who make up the alliance should not be worried. Anyone who considers the products they make to actually be “beer” would not be likely to indulge in a real beer produced by a craft brewer. No competition.

  • Justin B.

    Great article. Falsified lobbying for and against alcohol has been going on since before Prohibition. It’s amazing how Donley tries to make the point that small brewers would ship their goods to dry areas or minors. If small breweries were interested in breaking the law, why wouldn’t they just do that now?

    I wish that more people would care about this issue, but the sheer dollar power that the big breweries have amassed is almost insurmountable. Hopefully by chipping away little by little, quality beers are able to grab more of a foothold.

    @Rubbercow has a great point. A change would hardly affect big beer’s market share as the people who do care about this legislation are the ones drinking Dogfish Head, Avery, Stone, etc anyway.

    Check out the movie “Beer Wars” for more insight. Awesome doc.

  • air

    Cuz they pourin craft beer all up in here.

    It’s quite the David and Goliath story, but we’ll fight as hard as we can to make progress happen. The proposed law could mean some big changes in craft beer and our state’s economy.

    Here’s a high level summary of the proposed laws, their potential impact, as well as how to contact your local representative (which you really should do!)

  • The_sneeb

    In addition to contacting your local representative, you can donate to Texas Beer Freedom here:
    The three tier system is ridiculous and the defenses for it even more so. Stubborn Texas bureaucrats are preventing economic growth and revenue dollars for the state(re: Amazon.)

  • @rubbercrow – No kidding!

  • Michael H

    I don’t believe the 3-tier system is the problem. It is actually needed in one form or another. One of the reasons for it was to keep the big breweries from owning all the bars. It would be horrible if that happened again.

    The issue is the patchwork of permit laws. Those laws are written strictly to maintain control not to promote economic growth.

  • JI

    @The_sneeb – the 3tier system is exactly what brewpubs want access to!

    The part of the NY Times article that makes this out to be an issue of the three tier system is this:

    Rick Donley, president of the Beer Alliance of Texas, which lobbies for companies that distribute major-brand beer and some craft brews, said the three-tiered system — which regulates the production, distribution and retail sales of beer separately — made the beer business easier to regulate and tax, and keeps any one business from creating a monopoly.
    “Because brewpubs are not currently regulated in the same way as distributors, Mr. Donley said he worries that their products could be shipped to dry counties or to minors. “This regulatory system has worked well since Prohibition,” Mr. Donley said. “Why anybody wants to disrupt it is a question I can never quite get an answer to.”

    Since it’s combination of quotes and paraphrasing it’s hard to determine if Donley is misleading with false-truths or the author of the NY Times article doesn’t have a real understanding of system and what Donley is saying.

    Either way, it doesn’t matter. If you’re currently hold a brewpub license (BP) and cannot sell your product outside your doors you WANT access to the 3-tier system. And if you have a manufacturers license (BA), you cannot sell your beer on-site (like a brew pub) you either have to sell 3-tier system and use the distributors to sell your product into retail and bars like the Old Monk. This is an issue of not being able to have your cake and eat it too.

    But Donley’s excuse is BULLSH…Texas allows WINERIES (G) to both sell on-site for consumption and into distribution/3-tier. What’s the difference? Fermented grape juice vs fermented barley malt?

    What makes this nonsense so hard to swallow is that the Texas Senate has recently as 2008 (and maybe more recently) passed bills allowing the TDofAgriculture to award grants to the winegrape industry in an effort to promote the advancement of the Texas wine industry as a whole!

    What? Hypocrisy in politics? Gasp!

    Hopefully the Beer Freedom group can raise enough money to buy off our state government officials or raise enough awareness where our politicians will have to save face and act on behalf of The People…for a change.

    Here’s a link to the TABC description of permits (you’re looking for G, BA and BP): http://www.tabc.state.tx.us/licensing/license_and_permit_description.asp#beer

  • Kirk

    Texas Tribune is doing the best daily news reporting in the state,

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  • @The_sneeb; @JI:

    And yet the current TX Legislature wants to ZERO OUT ALL MONEY appropriated to Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) for wine and grape industry development. That is $4.3 million per biennium for education, research and marketing that is typically either spent directly by or re-granted out through TDA. And the wine industry brings in $1.7 Billion (That’s with a “B”) annually.

    So we’re surprised when they want to limit sales by breweries? Which would be more monies spent by consumers (taxpayers)? And part of those monies would be taxes, which would help balance the state budget? Too logical…

  • JI

    Logic!? LOL.