Texas small beer makers say bill creates "extortion fee" as they seek Abbott's veto

The Texas Tribune reports on a bill pending in Texas that would reverse regulatory relief for craft brewers in the state. The Tribune's article quotes R Street's Josiah Neeley regarding the bill:

"Four years ago, the Texas Legislature helped nourish a beer-brewing renaissance by lifting onerous regulations on small manufacturers and brewpubs.

It was one of the main reasons why Oskar Blues of Colorado — the first American craft brewer to self-can — spent millions to open up a brewery with Austin's largest tap room last year. The investment has allowed connoisseurs of Dale’s Pale Ale and other craft brands to drink beer the company delivers from the brewery floor, visible through a glass partition, straight to their glasses.

But that was then and this is now. 

At the end of May, the Legislature enacted a bill that, as Oskar Blues founder Dale Katechis put it, will 'pull the rug out on us a year after we started doing business here in Texas.' 

The legislation rolls the clock back on some regulatory relief injected into the Texas beer industry in 2013, all while providing 'carve-out' provisions that financially benefit three global beer giants. Lawmakers passed the legislation at the urging of one of the most powerful lobby groups at the Capitol — the wholesale beer distributors — which prosper from regulations that generally require beer makers to use their delivery services...

'There’s definitely a disconnect between how Texas views itself as a free-market state and some of these alcohol regulations that basically turn distributors into rent collectors,' said Josiah Neeley of the R Street Institute, a free-market think tank. 'The rules do not have any plausible public health or safety purpose. They’re just a matter of making sure that distributors get paid and don’t have to compete.'..."

Read more here: https://www.texastribune.org/2017/06/08/small-beer-makers-facing-extortion-fee-seek-veto-abbott/