Proposed legislation would lift restrictions on Texas breweries - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Proposed legislation would lift restrictions on Texas breweries

Amarillo, TX -- Major changes could be brewing for the craft beer industry in Texas - but it's up to the legislature whether to open the tap.

Beer is big business in Texas - Texas ranks 8th in the nation in per-capita beer consumption - but craft beer accounts for less than one percent of the sales.  So now industry leaders are asking legislators to lift some of the limits they say are hindering their growth.

Under the current Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, brewers are limited in how much they can produce, distribute, and ultimately, sell.  And brewers say raising those limits will allow the industry to grow, along with its economic impact for the state.

"Last year alone, the beer industry in Texas put over 600 million into the Texas economy," says Jared Read of Long Wooden Spoon Brewery in Amarillo, "so if you look at that, and you allow that to grow, that number just grows exponentially."

Texas is known as a business-friendly state, and local suppliers say loosening regulation would foster business growth.  Amarillo Brewing Supply just opened its doors last week, and they small businesses are dependent on each other for growth.

"I'm all for small business," says Baker, "Obviously, we are a small business, so I think anything we can do to help small businesses grow and make them able to stay in business, I'm all for it."

And although beer consumption in the U.S. and Texas has been waning in recent years, the craft beer industry has shown double-digit annual growth since 2008.

"The craft beer industry in Amarillo is just now starting to come out, just now starting to flourish," says Read, "It's a great time - plus being on I-40, I mean, you look at Dallas and Austin and San Antonio, it's really, really coming about down there, so it's about to hit Amarillo."

On Tuesday (Mar. 5), the Business and Commerce Committee asked a group of industry leaders to recommend appropriate changes to the state's alcoholic beverage code.  And late this afternoon (Mar.11), they reached an agreement which will now be considered by lawmakers.

If you'd like to learn more about the beer industry in Texas or about the proposed changes, follow the links attached to this story.

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