Amarillo brewer voices frustrations about current TX beer to-go sales law

Head Brewer at Long Wooden Spoon Brewery says he is aggravated at the so-called "outdated" Texas law not allowing stand alone breweries to sell to-go products. (ABC 7 Amarillo-Tiffany Lester)

Breweries are becoming more and more popular with each and every pour, but in Texas, no matter how much a customer likes the brew, they cannot take it home. Amarillo's Long Wooden Spoon Brewery (LWB) brewers are hoping 2019 will be the year they win the battle for beer-to-go sales.

"I got into brewing because I really enjoy beer," said Jared Read, Long Wooden Spoon Brewery co-owner and head brewer.

Read told ABC 7 News that he opened up shop four years ago after seeing the brewing business booming across the state. LWS Brewery is the only stand-alone brewery in the Texas Panhandle. Currently, it is having some trouble finding other sales opportunities.

"They'll (customers) find one they really like and want to share it with their family and friends, but they can’t," said Read.

That is because the Lonestar State is the only state that does not allow beer-to-go sales.

"Texas does allow other entities like wineries and distilleries to do that and that’s all we’re asking for is the same capability," said Read.

"It would be weird that one's allowed and that one's not," said Amarillo resident and LWS Brewery customer Christopher Gallegos. "How can you not take a beer, but you can take liquor? That doesn’t make any sense to me."

It is shocking news for Gallegos.

"I would think that we would be the number one people doing that, but all I can say is it’s surprising that Texas is the only one that doesn’t," said Gallegos.

Read said most of his customers respond in the same way.

"Usually it’s just utter shock, they don’t believe us at first. They think we’re joking and then we have to tell them no we can’t," said Read.

Read said breweries across the state are now fighting back. Craft Pac Texas has filed a petition for support of SB312/HB372 in the 2019 legislative session.

"We have customers from all over the country, all over the world, they come here just for our beer, and if they could take it with them, that would grow us much more," said Read.

Read told ABC 7 News the current Texas law is not only hindering his business, but the local economy as a whole because if it is a lost sale for the brewery, the state does not collect any taxes from it.

"It’s been a fight for the last few sessions. Hopefully this year we can get it changed. It’s really going to help the tourism here. If people can take our beer to another market and we get a demand from that market, we’re going to have to go through a distributor to get our beer to those markets and it’s just going to grow for everybody. It’s going to create jobs for everybody," said Read.

ABC 7 News reached out to Texas State Senator Kel Seliger and Texas State Representative Four Price on where they stand on the issue, but they were both unavailable Wednesday afternoon.

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