Marble Falls brewers toast new Texas laws on craft beer

JARED FIELDS • PICAYUNE STAFF

MARBLE FALLS — Five bills signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry have local brewers, and those who enjoy craft beer, raising a toast to new opportunities.

The new laws loosen some restrictions on brewpubs and packaging breweries to increase sales and make it easier for consumers to find more of their favorite brews.

In Marble Falls, the bills (Senate Bill 515-518 and Senate Bill 639) affect two businesses: Double Horn Brewing Company and Save the World Brewing Co.

“We’ll be able to sell beer on premises. We expanded our tasting room from our original plans,” brewer David Rathkamp said.

Previously, a production brewery could not sell its beer onsite and could only offer paid tours with samples provided after the tour. Save the World will not be able to sell beer to go, however.

Rathkamp said the brewery, which will be located in the Marble Falls Business and Technology Park, will take advantage of the newly signed bills while construction continues.

“It’s perfect timing for us, actually,” he said. “We kinda saw this coming down the pipeline in our planning and made alterations. We were pretty sure it was going to pass.”

Rathkamp said he expects the brewery to open in the late fall or early winter.

At Double Horn, the new bills have a slight effect on what the brewpub can do. Eric Casey, director of operations and head brewer, said the newly signed bills won’t affect them “right off the bat.”

Double Horn still cannot self-distribute its beers because the restaurant and brewery sells other wines and beers.

“If I wanted to self-distribute, I would not be able to sell wine or other beer,” he said. “In our best estimate, it’s something that would hurt our business.”

Casey said Double Horn’s goal was to bring as much of Texas’ craft beers to Marble Falls as possible, and he’s “super stoked” about the bills’ passage.

“It allows a lot of opportunities for expansion,” he said. “If we choose to grow, then the next time we open a Double Horn Brewing Company, we can just sell (our beer) and self-distribue. Or, if tomorrow, one of the distributors in Texas wants to come to me and say, ‘I want to pick up and carry (your beers),’ then I can sign on.”

Casey said he does not currently have any plans for growth or expansion but was glad for the laws he say level the playing field with breweries across the nation.

Any expansion Double Horn or any other brewpub might make means an investment in equipment and staff, which leads to more jobs and more sales taxes.

Casey said Double Horn produces about 300 barrels of beer a year. At Save the World, 3,200 barrels are projected to be produced by the end of the first year.

jared@thepicayune.com

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