BEER ME!

New bill allowing Texans to buy beer to-go from breweries on tap in legislature

Beer-to-go could be a big deal for craft breweries like Saint Arnold. Courtesy photo

This article originally appeared on CultureMap and was written by Eric Sandler.

A compromise between craft beer breweries and beer distributors should lead to a big win for Texas beer drinkers. The Texas Craft Brewers Guildand the Beer Alliance of Texas, an organization that represents beer distributors, have agreed to support proposed legislation that will allow consumers to buy beer to-go directly from breweries.

Currently, Texas law only allows consumers to buy beer at breweries for on-premise consumption, and even that's only been the case since 2013. Under the proposed legislation, currently working its way through the Texas Legislature as SB 312 and HB 672, consumers would be able to purchase up to 576 ounces (equivalent to two cases) of beer per person per day directly from a brewery. In exchange, both parties have agreed not to lobby for additional changes to the law, such as the 5,000 barrel annual limit on brewery taproom sales or the 10,000 barrel annual limit on production for brewpubs.

CultureMap contacted representatives from three Houston craft breweries — Saint Arnold Brewing Company, 8th Wonder Brewery, and Holler Brewing Co — to gauge their reaction to the proposed legislation. All parties expressed optimism about what these changes could mean for both breweries and consumers.

"f this historic piece of legislation goes through, everybody wins: brewers, distributors, retailers, beer drinkers," 8th Wonder president and co-founder Ryan Soroka tells CultureMap. "This law would create another revenue stream for breweries that could fund growth and create more jobs. Additionally, this would create another marketing opportunity for breweries to connect with and educate their visitors, which would ultimately result in a positive economic domino effect through the different tiers of the industry."

Saint Arnold CMO Lennie Ambrose shares Soroka's sentiments and even expresses support for the moratorium on future changes after this legislative session. "A brewery doesn't have to wonder what their business plan is going to be," Ambrose says. "They know going in for the next 12 years everything is going to be status quo. Hopefully, that status quo works for everybody."

Holler Brewing co-owner John Holler sees potential benefits for his Sawyer Yards business. Currently draft-only, Holler will likely add the ability to sell Crowlers (32-ounce cans) once the legislation takes effect. "This deal gives beer drinkers what they're asking for without waiting any longer for it," he writes. "I'm very excited about it and I'm proud of my fellow board members for getting us this far."

Still, he remains an outspoken critic of the three-tier system that in most cases requires distributors to serve as a middleman between producers of alcoholic beverages and consumers and retailers. Currently, only breweries that produce fewer than 10,000 barrels per year may self-distribute, and the compromise that helped bring about the bargain will maintain that cap for the foreseeable future. Holler sees the deal as an opportunity for distributors to act in their own self-interest without any further challenges to their critical role in the market.

How would the proposed legislation impact Saint Arnold and Buffalo Bayou Brewing? Continue reading on CultureMap to find out.

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Houston dropped two of three

Astros drop series finale to Oakland, A's win series

Jose Urquidy couldn't hold Oakland back on Saturday. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

With Oakland finally ending their drought against the Astros on Friday night to split the first two games of the series, and with the Angels staying in step with them as both teams started the day 6-2, the Astros needed a win to keep momentum in their favor on Saturday.

Instead, Oakland would outslug Houston once again to take the series finale and take the series win. The loss moves Houston to 6-3 and down to second place, at least for now, until the 6-2 Angels complete their game on Saturday evening.

Final Score: A's 7, Astros 3

Astros' Record: 6-3, second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Frankie Montas (1-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (0-1)

Urquidy gives up four over six

Much like the night before, Oakland was able to bring in runs against Houston's starter, this time Jose Urquidy, Saturday afternoon in their second time through the order. Their first time through, Urquidy was cruising, allowing just one baserunner in the first three innings on a single in the top of the third.

Things shifted in the top of the fourth, with the A's getting back-to-back singles to set the stage for a two-run frame with dual RBI-singles to take a 2-0 lead. Oakland doubled that in the fifth, getting a two-out single to set up a two-run homer by Ramon Laureano to make it 4-0. Urquidy would go on to finish six innings, but with no run support to that point, would leave in line for the loss. His final line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 93 P.

A's pad their lead before Houston gets on the board

Meanwhile, although getting five hits, the Astros could not get anything on the board against Frankie Montas through six innings. Brandon Bielak took over out of the bullpen for Urquidy in the top of the seventh, but after loading the bases, he would allow a dagger two-RBI single to make it a 6-0 deficit for Houston.

With Montas starting the seventh looking to face a batter or two before Oakland moved to their bullpen, Kyle Tucker would finally get Houston on the board with a leadoff solo home run, cutting the lead to 6-1 and ending Montas' day. Houston would get a two-out rally going, with an RBI-double by Jose Altuve followed by an RBI-triple by Michael Brantley to make it a three-run game at 6-3.

Oakland takes the series win

Ryne Stanek tried to keep it a three-run game and give the Astros a chance to stay in it in the top of the eighth but instead would give up a two-out solo home run to push Oakland's lead back to four. That 7-3 score would go final as Houston would go scoreless in the eighth and ninth.

Up Next: Houston will have a day off on Sunday before continuing this homestand Monday night by welcoming in Detroit and former manager A.J. Hinch for three games. In the series opener, the Tigers will send young star Casey Mize (0-0, 2.25 ERA) to the mound, while the Astros will get another start by Zack Greinke (1-0, 1.38 ERA).

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