Just as we were bemoaning the huge, wet bite the IRS took out of our savings account, along comes an example of tax dollars being put to good use. On April 21 the office of State Representative Jessica Farrar (D, Houston, District 148) sent out a press release announcing the passage of HB 602 in the Texas House of Representatives, a huge hurdle in the campaign to allow Texas breweries to provide beer for off-premise consumption. In layman's terms, tours of local breweries hope to send you off with a six-pack souvenir of freshly brewed beer to be enjoyed in the comfort of your own home.
Farrar released a statement following the passage of the bill, saying, "It is well past time for Texas to take steps to support this growing industry. HB 602 will allow more Texans--as well as those lucky enough to visit Texas--the opportunity to take home samples of the fine craft brews that reflect the independence and creativity of Texas craft brewers."
As we reported in February, Brock Wagner, founder of Houston's own Saint Arnold Brewing Company, was instrumental in perfecting the language of HB 602 and similar versions in the past. On the recent victory for beer in Austin, Wagner said, "HB 602 being approved by the House was a huge step forward. I'm not really sure what is going to happen in the Senate since we have never gotten this far previously. We are trying to make phone calls and get people to contact their senators to express the importance of supporting this bill. And we still need the governor's signature too," adding, "I don't take anything for granted."
When asked if there were any plans for a celebration at the brewery if the measure becomes law, Wagner responded, "Our position is one of cautious optimism. We haven't planned any big celebrations since we're not there yet. But if HB 602 does become law, I guarantee that we will be throwing some kind of a party!" Now there's a reason to contact your local state senate representative! (If you're not sure exactly who that is, click here.