House Bill 3287 was enacted in the State of Texas on June 15, 2017 and has caused a significant stir in the craft beer community. Growing breweries, and those considering opening their own businesses, are concerned that the new legislation could scare off potential investment. The reason? The bill requires all Texan based breweries who produce 225,000 barrels (5805718.09 gallons) of beer annually to pay a distributor to deliver their beer, even if it’s to a taproom in the same facility.
Lawmakers contend that the law is designed to maintain the three major groups in the beer industry – brewers, distributors and retailers – and maintain proper regulation on the production of craft brewing. Brewers feel the laws stifle the likelihood of investment, and thus expansion, instead playing into the hands of Big Beer.
The biggest concern, however, is due to a loophole the law creates. There is nothing keeping larger conglomerates from purchasing smaller breweries and using their status to avoid the three-tier system. The allowance is designed to help smaller players, but does not take ownership into consideration.
Three Texan based breweries who stand to benefit from this loophole include Karbach (purchased by AB InBev), Revolver (purchased by Miller-Coors) and the deceptively named Independence (purchased by a subsidiary of Heineken).
Play Nice and Make Friends
In a more positive story, Irish whiskey company Jamesons has started a program called “Drinking Buddies”. The program is tied to a New York-based beer and whiskey event, named “Jameson Love Thy Neighborhood Brewery Fest in Support of New York Restoration Project”, that will take place on October 14.
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As part of the program, 16 breweries were sent used Jamesons aging barrels and asked to create a beer to be aged in said barrels. In the case of Ohio-based Fat Head’s brewery, the beer is a stout named Coco Loco Leprechaun. Brewer Matt Cole explains:
“I used Red Mill toasted coconut. It added a nice coconut flavor. It will go well with the wood – vanilla, nuttiness and oak characteristics. The coconut seemed like a nice fit, chocolate on the roast. Should work well.”
Fat Head’s limited-time brew will be available in “three to six weeks”
How Old Are Those Pumpkins?
Have you ever wondered how so many breweries are able to produce such a large volume of pumpkin-based beers before the fall harvest? As a gourd, pumpkins are not cultivated until the fall, but the seasonal offerings of many breweries are already widely available.
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The secret is that, due to their thick rinds, pumpkins keep for a LONG time. Buffalo Bill’s Brewry CEO Geoff Harries explains:
“In order to brew pumpkin ale in larger quantities in time for fall, there’s no way to use fresh pumpkin, as pumpkins have not ripened. So we use roasted fresh pumpkin or a pre-packaged organic pumpkin.”
“Three years ago we had a horrible pumpkin crop, which meant that pumpkin was in short supply the following year. Knowing of the [impending] shortage from my produce supplier, I sourced about 4,000 pounds at the end of the season from a variety of suppliers. Sure enough the next season there was very little pumpkin available.”
In the case of Elysian and Avery breweries, author Brian Lauvray reports the use of pumpkin juices and purees. Avery Brewing’s Andy Parker explains:
“We’re making this beer on a pretty large scale, so it’s not feasible to buy hundreds of pounds of pumpkins, chop them in half, and throw them into the mash tun. We did that many years ago when Rumpkin was a small experimental beer, but we’re getting far better flavor now by using pumpkin puree from suppliers that we trust. All we ever wanted from the pumpkin was the insides, so why throw the rinds in there if it’s not necessary?”
By the way, for those looking for some kick on their seasonal brew, Avery’s Rumpkin has an ABV of 17.5%. Good luck stringing a few of those together.
So There You Have It
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