No Longer Felony (or Misdemeanor) in Texas

There shall be in England seven halfpenny loaves sold for a penny; the three-hooped pot shall have ten hoops; and I will make it felony to drink small beer.
                              — King Henry VI. Part II. Act IV, Scene 2.

Jack Cade was undoubtably referring to the watery beer produced in 15th-century England for consumption by the peasants, and not necessarily to the smaller producers. In 21st-century Texas, small craft breweries have been hampered, some would say invidiously discriminated against, because they could not sell their beer on premises where they were produced.

Two bills designed to encourage the production of craft beers were passed this week by the Texas Senate. A historic victory for small beer.

The legislation would allow brewpubs to sell a limited amount through distributors and will let craft breweries sell their product to consumers on-site, which they are not presently permitted to do. The bill passed the Senate 31-0.

Major distributors claim to be supportive of the legislation, which is somewhat amazing in itself.

There are some excellent craft beers here in Texas, and the state wine industry has come a long way in the past quarter century. And it is now possible to purchase beer and wine any part of the City of Dallas, under law approved by a local option election a year ago. We have come a long way from the time that beer, wine, and whiskey were considered universally to be the work of the devil.

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