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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McCullers Jr. out-pitched friend and former teammate Dallas Keuchel on Father's Day. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With three impressive wins to start this series against the once AL-leading Chicago White Sox, Houston tried to extend their winning streak to seven games and finish a four-game sweep on Father's Day. Thanks to a big inning against former-Astro Dallas Keuchel, they would win to keep their hot streak going.

Final Score: Astros 8, White Sox 2

Astros' Record: 43-28, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (4-1)

Losing Pitcher: Dallas Keuchel (6-2)

Rough return to Houston for Keuchel

In his first game against his old squad, Dallas Keuchel would not have a memorable start on the mound for Chicago. Houston made him labor in the first inning, loading the bases though they only came away with one run on an RBI single by Abraham Toro, grabbing the early 1-0 lead. After going down 1-2-3 in the second, they got after Keuchel again in the third.

They ended up batting around against him that inning, including a two-RBI single by Yordan Alvarez, RBI double by Taylor Jones, and bases-loaded RBI-walk by Jose Altuve, which would end Keuchel's day very early and leave the bases juiced. Chicago's bullpen would walk another batter to give Keuchel another earned run, making it a 6-2 game, with all six going against the former Houston ace. Carlos Correa extended the lead to five runs in the next inning, hitting a leadoff solo home run to make it 7-2.

McCullers Jr. gives up two over six

That gave Lance McCullers Jr. a nice lead to work with, and he managed it well. He had one big mistake in the early goings of the game, giving up a one-out single in the second to set up a two-run home run, which at the time put Chicago in front 2-1 before Houston's offense came alive. He followed that up with four scoreless innings, erasing a walk in each with some tremendous defense behind him—his final line: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 94 P.

Astros complete the sweep to jump on top of the standings

Still a six-run game in the top of the seventh, Blake Taylor entered as the first reliever out of Houston's bullpen, tossing a 1-2-3 frame. He continued in the top of the eighth, getting two strikeouts in another scoreless inning. The 8-2 score would go final as Ralph Garza Jr. would enter as the third pitcher of the day to wrap things up with a scoreless top of the ninth to finish the four-game sweep. The win, their seventh straight, paired with an Oakland loss earlier in the afternoon, moves Houston into the top spot in the AL West based on winning percentage.

Up Next: This long stretch of consecutive games continues on Monday in Baltimore, as the Astros pick up a seven-game road trip starting with a three-game set against Baltimore getting underway at 6:05 PM Central. Jake Odorizzi (1-3, 5.68 ERA) will get the start for Houston, going opposite of Keegan Akin (0-2, 5.76 ERA) for the Orioles.

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