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Complications Exist When Opening a Taproom in Texas: Information from a Licensing Consultant in Dallas, TX

Craft brewing has seen a nationwide explosion over the last five years. As sales began to plateau or even decline for major domestic beer companies like Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors, sales of small, local craft breweries have skyrocketed.

It was inevitable that the big companies would have to find ways to adjust to be able to keep up with this sudden, unexpected burst of competition. Now, owners of these smaller companies say representatives from these so-called “macrobreweries” are lobbying government officials to implement laws that make business tougher on the little guys.

Five years ago, the Texas state legislature helped the craft brewing renaissance take off by lifting a series of regulations on smaller breweries and brewpubs. Other breweries began to invest in the state after that, including the popular Oskar Blues of Colorado, which has been one of the smaller breweries on the leading edge of craft beer development for years.

Times have changed

However, this past May, the state legislature enacted a bill that stands to stifle the growth of many small breweries in the state and could prevent other breweries from doing business in Texas.

The new legislation re-implements some of the regulations that had been rolled back in 2013, while adding other provisions that financially benefit some of the largest beer corporations in the world. The laws were pushed by wholesale beer distributors, which stand to benefit greatly from laws that will require beer makers to use their delivery services.

For example, one bit of legislation requires breweries that are opening taprooms to hire a distributor to be able to legally serve their own beer. This regulation applies even if the kegs never actually leave the premises of the brewery. In essence, it forces breweries to use a middleman they don’t want, meaning they are legally required to pay money for the distributor’s services. This cuts out a lot of profitability that might otherwise be invested back into the brewery’s business, allowing these smaller breweries to expand their offerings and their distribution ranges.

Many critics of this law are calling it an “extortion fee,” and say it will curb investments in the state and growth in an industry that is taking off all over the United States.

Opponents of the law include some of the state’s Tea Party Republicans, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, some urban Democrats, the Texas Association of Business and the Texas Association of Manufacturing. Proponents of the bill included establishment Republicans and most of the Democrats in the legislature. Craft breweries are now pushing hard on social media and other appeals to get public support to push back against the bill in hopes of a gubernatorial veto.

If your brewery is considering starting a taproom, what happens with this law will be of great interest to you. Many breweries might decide a taproom is no longer worth the expense if these rules stay in place.

For more information, contact a liquor licensing consultant in Dallas, TX with LaBarba Permit Service. We look forward to assisting you.

2018 Forecast: Liquor Business Trends

As we move into a new year, here’s a quick look at what industry experts say 2018 has in store for liquor lovers!

Sustainability

Read: prepare for fewer plastic straws. Does anyone use those? But really, we’re looking at a more systemic shift toward a long-term vision of sustainability that responds to issues including water waste, energy, and local sourcing.

Fermentation

The popularity of kombucha and kefir is seeping into the bar scene. Allegedly this is a good thing.

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Bars Within Bars

Mysterious. Like an onion. Those in the know claim that spaces with a “split personality” feel are on the rise. The Millennial version of the speakeasy, it often involves secret rooms and multiple, diverse branding concepts within the same building.

Activist Bartenders

AKA alcohol isn’t all bad. Whether manifesting as fundraising efforts for natural disasters or as the founding of a nonprofit dedicated to protecting traditional distilling methods, prepare to feel good for multiple reasons.

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Rise of Italian Spirits

All hail the spritz! Aperol sales are up a whopping 19%, so clearly we’re all craving a taste of la dolce vita lately. Relevant suggestion: next time you’re out, go for the negroni sbagliato, a happy accident of a drink beloved by the Milanesi for decades.

Ready to get in on these trends in Texas? Well, if you want to get through the red tape sometime before the next new year rolls around, your best bet is definitely to give our liquor licensing consultants a call today!

SOURCE: The Spirits Business.

Texas Breweries Take the Distribution Fight to the State Supreme Court: Info from a Liquor Licensing Consultant in Dallas, TX

Several Texas breweries are taking a case to the state Supreme Court that could have a huge impact on the distribution abilities of small craft brewers in the state.

The case began in 2014, when Peticolas Brewing Company (from Dallas), Live Oak Brewing Company (from Austin) and Revolver Brewing (from Granbury) filed a joint lawsuit against the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission (TABC), arguing against the constitutionality of a recently passed law regarding who was able to sell the distribution rights for a brewery.

The legislation was passed in 2013 along with a variety of other regulation reforms to the alcohol industry. Under the mandate, breweries would not be allowed to accept any payment for contracting with a distributor. However, the distributor would be able to get paid if it sold territorial distribution rights to a different distribution company.

A judge sided with the breweries in 2016, but in December 2017, the Texas Third Court of Appeals reversed the local court’s decision, stating that the law does not prevent these breweries from successful operation of their business, and that the law upholds the three-tier system in the beer industry, a system that exists to prevent conflicts of interest between alcohol distributors, manufacturers and retailers.

The Institute of Justice, which is representing the three breweries in the case, quickly released a statement saying it would appeal the decision to the Texas Supreme Court.

An important case for Texas beer and liquor law

This is far from the first incident in which Texas brewers have found themselves at odds with state regulators and major distributors. In many cases, laws that have been in place since Prohibition have not kept up with the industry, which has seen tremendous growth in the craft brewing sector. These smaller breweries feel these laws are outdated and impede small breweries from being able to grow and expand their distribution ranges.

In 2017, for example, there was a tussle between brewers and lawmakers over a “taproom bill.” Under that bill, breweries of a specific size are required to contract with distributors to sell their beer even if it comes directly from their taprooms without the kegs leaving the facility. Critics of the bill have called it a means of extortion and a way for legislators (backed by big-brewery lobbyists) to push back against the sudden massive surge of competition offered by smaller local breweries.

An analysis of campaign contributions in 2017 revealed that major beer executives and distributors spent more than $6 million in Texas alone lobbying political candidates and important PACs.

The breweries argue they should be able to profit from selling their own distribution rights, and the lack of that ability devalues their business and causes them to miss out on millions of dollars they could invest into their companies.

The decision of the Texas Supreme Court could have a major impact on how these types of conflicts are settled in the future.

For more information about these distribution laws and this particular case, contact a liquor licensing consultant in Dallas, TX today.

A Licensing Agency in Dallas, TX Explains Liquor Permitting in Dry Counties

Regardless of which state or city you live in, there are certain rules, regulations and laws that can vary widely between distances of just a few miles. In Texas, this rings especially true when it comes to liquor laws. Different counties can have major differences when it comes to how alcohol licenses are issued, what kinds of alcoholic beverages can be served and even whether alcohol is permitted at all. Some counties permit the serving of all alcohol, others only permit the serving of beer and wine and others don’t allow alcohol to be served at all. Wet counties, dry counties and wet-dry counties all have different regulations surrounding the sale of alcohol at establishments other than liquor stores.

With all of these convoluted regulations, determining how and whether you can obtain a liquor permit in your county can be a challenge. It’s a good idea to work with a licensing agency in Dallas, TX to find out more about the regulations in your area and how to navigate them.

Dry counties

In Texas, as in many other states, there are some laws that have simply not been changed for decades. These archaic laws may seem outdated or unnecessary, but they are still enforceable, and it is important that they are followed. In a wet county, all types of alcohol can be sold and consumed. In a dry county, no alcohol sales or consumption is allowed. Though there are some true wet counties and true dry counties in Texas, it is far more common for counties to be mixed, or wet-dry.

The strict regulations in these dry counties often make it impossible to find any establishment where alcohol can be purchased or consumed within a reasonable distance. In some dry counties, there are certain private establishments called drinking clubs where it is permitted to buy and consume alcohol lawfully, although not all dry counties will have such establishments.

In order to get an alcohol permit in a dry county, you will have to undertake some extra steps. First, you will need to establish a private club. In order to be considered a private club, you will have to have patrons sign in when they arrive and give their driver’s license to a doorman or host. This practice is relatively standard for bars so, incidentally, many patrons of private drinking clubs may not even realize that they are actually in a dry county in Texas. The most important thing to remember is that you should always get help when you need an alcohol permit in Dallas, TX, especially if you are confused about the specific regulations in your area.

Secure an alcohol permit in Dallas, TX

Getting an alcohol permit in Dallas, TX can be tricky, especially if dry county regulations dictate the sale or consumption of alcohol in your locale. Thankfully, when you work with LaBarba Permit Service, you can get personalized help navigating all of those tricky Texas liquor laws. Call us today for assistance and get professional help obtaining an alcohol permit in Dallas, TX.

Getting an Alcohol Permit in a Wet-Dry County

The process of getting an alcohol permit is difficult enough without all of the extra confusion surrounding wet, dry and wet-dry counties. Wet-dry counties are counties that allow the purchase and consumption of certain kinds of alcohol, while still having restrictions on alcohol sales. Some wet-dry counties only permit the sale of beer and wine, while others may only permit the sale of spirits at certain times of the day or on specific days of the week.

It can be helpful to know what kinds of laws and regulations apply to counties near you, including in your own county, to give you important context about local liquor rules and the process of securing an alcohol permit in Dallas, TX or elsewhere. Since many of the laws regarding liquor have been around for a long time, they are constantly being amended and adapted for modern purposes. Even in the last year, dozens of changes have been made to existing laws in wet-dry counties in Texas, where the sale and consumption of alcohol is highly regulated:

  • Chambers: In Chambers County, specifically in Mont Belvieu, a petition passed on November 7 permitting restaurants with full bars to serve mixed beverages in addition to beer and wine.
  • Clay: On November 7, a countywide petition in Clay County opened local regulations to all alcoholic beverages. This includes the kinds of mixed drinks that are usually excluded from wet-dry counties in Texas.
  • Collingsworth: Like Clay County, Collingsworth County also passed a countywide petition to permit all alcoholic beverages, including mixed beverages.
  • Denton: In Denton County, a local petition passed allowing beer and wine to be sold off-premises. This does not extend to mixed drinks or any other kind of alcoholic beverages.
  • Harris: A petition to permit mixed drinks in the City of Houston Heights failed in Harris County. Even though there is a lot of support for these kinds of petitions, it is still common for them to fail in certain areas. This can be caused by a number of things and it can vary greatly from county to county.
  • Uvalde: In one part of Uvalde County, a petition was submitted to allow the sale of beer and wine; however, it failed.

Additional alcohol laws and regulations

Above is just a small sample of different petitions regarding the sale of alcohol in dry counties. There are many other actions being taken throughout the state of Texas in response to liquor laws. The state of Texas has certain time restrictions in place that dictate when alcohol can be sold. For example, most alcohol can only be sold between 7:00 a.m. and midnight Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. on Saturday and noon to midnight on Sunday. In addition, no alcohol that is more than 17 percent alcohol by volume can be sold on Sunday at all.

The different regulations that apply to wet-dry counties make it confusing enough to obtain an alcohol permit in Dallas, TX and elsewhere. Make it easier and get help from a team of experts when you need to get an alcohol permit or license. At LaBarba Permit Service, we have been assisting clients for decades with all of their permitting and licensing needs. Contact us today for help!

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