Christmas came early for those attempting change of the local beer laws when Judge Sam Sparks of the United States District Court For the Western District Of Texas handed down his summary judgement regarding the lawsuit filed by Authentic Beverages (with co-plaintiffs Jester King Craft Brewery and Zax, LLC) against the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
The biggest win for local breweries is that they can now advertise where their products are available for purchase. Instead of attempting to work around the law by vaguely indicate locations without using the actual name of the store or bar, they will be able to directly list where their products are sold. Both local and out of state breweries will certainly appreciate the ruling that labels no longer have to contain the word "Beer" if its under 4% ABW or "Ale" if over 4% ABW (regardless of the actual style of the product). This often prevented out of state breweries from shipping their product into the state as they didn't want the extra burden of designing new labels just for the Texas market. It also occasionally caused existing beers to be pulled from the shelves or blocked from distribution when it was found their labels violated this ridiculous law. Unfortunately, the Judge stopped short of overturning the ban on breweries from being able to sell directly from the public, a freedom the wine industry has enjoyed for many years.
Although they didn't get everything they were trying for, its great to see any change that helps the beer industry and brings further attention to the issues.
Further information regarind the case and judgement is available at the Jester King Blog and Free Tail Brewing Blog.