Beer to go is almost home. Last night, the Texas Senate passed a bill that includes an amendment allowing local breweries to sell cans and bottles and growlers from their taprooms. Texas is the only state where that practice is banned. Strictly from a consumer standpoint, holding onto that ban made little sense.
But beer to go also has larger implications for North Texas’ craft beer scene, which continues to grow but is in many ways still finding its feet. Places like Noble Rey and Denton’s Audacity Brew House have shuttered in the last couple of years. At our Happy Hour With an Agenda event at Peticolas last week, Michael Peticolas spoke to that growing competition and the uncertainty it has produced. After what he called an exclusive growth stage from 2010 to 2015, things have reached a competitive tipping point. According to Beer in Big D, there are now 70 craft breweries in North Texas and another 30 planting their roots for a launch. Here’s Peticolas:
I don’t think there’s enough room for all those craft brewers. I’ve got a bunch of my retail partners out here right now. I can remember going in there on day one and trying to sell a local beer that was sold five miles away, and it was relatively easy. … Now I’m competing against 70 other people for those taps? I’m not in a bottle. I’m not in a can. So, the competition on the tap is real. We’re all very cordial with one another on a professional level, but it’s a little bit cutthroat out there. Dallas is not San Diego. It’s not Portland. We don’t have the community that’s going to support the same number of beers that those places are.
Beer to go takes just a little bit of that pressure off competition at the taps and allows better beer sales from the source. For brewers, that’s why it matters. As Tim Rogers wrote in a profile of Peticolas in the April issue of the magazine, the brewery is also leading a fight now at the Supreme Court to better its financial relationship with distributors.
For now, beer to go looks safe. The Dallas Morning News reports the bill will go back to the House—which passed beer to go once already, but with slightly different language—for another vote before heading to Gov. Greg Abbott for final approval.