Craft brewers feeling flat after House Bill 3827 becomes law

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SAN ANTONIO – A new law is causing headaches for craft beer breweries in Texas. 

Scott Metzger, owner of Freetail Brewing in San Antonio, recently celebrated the four-year anniversary of legislation that loosened regulations for craft beer growth.

“That was a six-and-a-half year effort that I was involved in and kind of got lucky at the end of the day,” Metzger said.

A little bit of that luck has run out with House Bill 3827, which will become law Sept. 1 despite not receiving an official signature from Gov. Greg Abbott. The bill puts certain limitations on what craft breweries can and cannot do in regards to self-distribution.

“I think the big impact is not so much around who’s directly impacted today, but it’s scaring away potential investment in the breweries,” Metzger said.

Metzger and other craft brewers argue that they would be penalized for trying to grow. Limitations on production would carry across state lines, meaning a brewer from out of state looking to expand in Texas could face having to pay a distributor to deliver their own beer to themselves.

“That’s the most egregious part, I think. To sell our own beer in our own taproom, they get a cut for doing nothing,” Metzger said. “If they actually took it, stored it or warehoused it and then delivered it back, OK, that has value. That’s a real service you’re providing. But in this case, they’re doing nothing."

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