Dallas’ Deep Ellum Brewing suing TABC to sell packaged beer to-go

The Texas beer industry isn’t too happy with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, its governing body, right now.

A couple of months ago, the TABC ordered Cuvee Coffee Bar to remove its crowler machine, saying that cans of beer can only be produced by breweries making the beer, not the retailers selling it. Since then, Cuvee and founder Mike McKim have decided to fight back and have brought back the crowler machine (along with these clever “Come and Take It” T-shirts).

“I can’t do nothing; that would be wrong,” McKim said at the time the story about the TABC’s decision on crowlers first broke.

According to the Houston Press, a “likely consequence is that TABC will start fining the bar $300 a day and, when it refuses to pay,” the two sides will go to court. McKim “sees this as a necessary step in getting the law changed.”

Photo by Emma Janzen / American-Statesman. Right now, Texas beer drinkers can only purchase canned or bottled beers from retail stores or brewpubs - not from the many microbreweries whose taprooms can offer you a beer to drink on-site.

Photo by Emma Janzen / American-Statesman. Right now, Texas beer drinkers can only purchase canned or bottled beers from retail stores or brewpubs – not from the many microbreweries whose taprooms can offer you a beer to drink on-site.

But he isn’t the only one deciding to battle it out with the TABC. Late last year, three Texas breweries, including Austin’s Live Oak Brewing, teamed up to sue for better distribution rights.

And now, Dallas’ Deep Ellum Brewing is also suing the alcoholic beverage commission in the hopes of changing a current Texas law that prohibits breweries from selling beer in bottles or cans to-go from their taprooms.

“Texas allows every other alcoholic beverage manufacturer to do just that — wineries, distilleries and even brewpubs are allowed to sell their products directly to the end consumer for off-premise consumption,” according to Deep Ellum’s website, which launched with “Operation Six Pack To Go” earlier today. “Microbreweries cannot… How is this prohibition against microbreweries protecting the welfare, health, peace, temperance or safety of the people of Texas? Long story short, it isn’t.”

If you agree that being able to purchase a six-pack of beer to take home from the brewery is a state constitutional right you’re not getting, Deep Ellum has set up an Indiegogo campaign for donations to the cause of suing TABC.

In seven hours, the campaign has already raised about $12,700, approximately 13 percent of the total goal; with 51 days left until the campaign ends, chances are good Deep Ellum may well receive far more funding than the brewery aimed for. To donate, go here.

Being able to sell packaged beer to-go has been a goal of many breweries for awhile; they’ve teamed with craft beer lobbying organizations like Open the Taps to try and change the law. Deep Ellum has clearly deciding waiting until the next legislative session just won’t do.

“We have retained two law firms and several expert witnesses, including the former general counsel for TABC,” according to Deep Ellum. “Lawsuits are expensive, but with your support, we can see this across the finish line.”


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