Since the end of Prohibition, Texas has allowed the sale of alcoholic beverages under a three-tiered system intended to prevent close ties between manufacturers and retailers. Businesses in each tier are licensed by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
In recent years, the growing number of craft breweries and distilleries has prompted calls for changes to the regulatory system to provide more opportunities for small producers to reach consumers. At the same time, court rulings have challenged some aspects of Texas' regulation of alcoholic beverages.
The current state of alcoholic beverage regulation in Texas and other states is explored in a number of recent reports:
- Regulation of Wine in Selected States, Texas Legislative Council, December 2012.
- Multistate Survey of Provisions Regulating the Manufacture and Sale of Beer and Malt Beverages at Microbreweries and Brewpubs, Texas Legislative Council, October 2012.
- Restrictions on Sunday off-premises liquor sales in non-control states, Texas Legislative Council, August 2012.
- Small craft producers seek alcohol regulation revisions, House Research Organization, June 12, 2012.
During the 82nd Legislature in 2011, bills were filed which proposed to allow the sale of liquor on Sundays, amend laws related to brewpubs, allow breweries to give visitors a limited amount of beer to take with them after a brewery tour, allow distillers to sell souvenir bottles of spirits to visitors, and allow certain breweries to sell their products directly to consumers.
None of these bills passed, but there is no shortage of speculation that changes to Texas' alcoholic beverage laws will again be considered during the 2013 legislative session. Here are a few news stories which discuss issues related to alcoholic beverage regulation:
- Van de Putte to TBIJ: ‘Texas is committed to a three-tier distribution system’, Texas Beverage Industry Journal, November 13, 2012.
- More beer, more jobs from craft brewers, Houston Chronicle, November 10, 2012.
- Craft brewers try new tactic in pitch to change state alcohol laws, Austin American-Statesman, October 12, 2012.
- Prohibition hangover, The Economist, September 8, 2012.
- TABC Changes What it Means to Be a Beer, Texas Tribune, August 9, 2012.
- Sunday liquor sales could get look as state aims to raise revenue, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, January 30, 2011.