"You can find beer from brewpubs in Colorado or California, but you can't find any beer from a Texas brewpub," Metzger said. "I can sell more beer in Texas if I moved out of Texas, and I don't think any Texas businessman should ever have to say that."
Metzger is leading a lobbying effort to get Texas lawmakers to support four new bills that were introduced this legislative session. Senate bills 515-518 would lift many of those restrictive laws and create a more level playing field.
"They would really open things up for craft brewers in the state and give us the kind of rights that brewers in other states can already take advantage of and are actually using to compete against Texas brewers," said Metzger.
There's also the economic impact of the craft beer industry to consider. Metzger, who is also an economics professor at UTSA, conducted a study last year looking at the effect of the laws on the industry.
The study found that the Texas craft beer industry had a $608 million dollar economic impact in 2011. Meztger's study predicted that number could balloon to $5.6 billion dollars and create up to 50,000 new jobs in the first 8 years of the laws being changed.
There have been several other beer laws introduced in recent sessions, but none of them even made it out of committee to get a vote. Metzger said lawmakers are starting to come around with 14 of 30 senators signed on as joint or co-authors of this years batch of beer bills.
"Eventually this is going to happen. It might be 2013 or it might be 2033. I definitely hope it's 2013, but eventually this will get done," Metzger said. "What helps us is that it's an easy sell because it's just good economics."
- Blue Star Brewing Company
- Freetail Brewing Co.
- Ranger Creek Brewing and Distilling
- Branchline Brewing Co.
- The Granary "Cue & Brew"
- Busted Sandal Brewery
- Alamo Beer