Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Toast To Brewing

Although the WSJ wannabe editorial staff usually disappoints, today is time for a toast to the Dallas Morning News. The lead editorial calls for an end to prohibition-era restrictions that keep small breweries from making a profit. Breweries, unlike wineries, are not allowed to sell to visitors to their site.

I am a great fan of the fine brews, and personally think it would be nice to encourage them.

Free beer in Texas!

Now, that would be one heck of a rallying cry to attract people – especially college students – to the Lone Star State. But we don't mean it that way. Rather, we call on the Legislature to break the shackles of outdated regulation on brewing in Texas and make it more feasible for our beer makers to join the microbrewery revolution sweeping the country.

As food critic Robb Walsh wrote recently in the Houston Press and Dallas Observer, Texas is home to more beer drinkers than just about any other state but only a tiny handful of small craft breweries. Michigan has 70. New York has 60.

Texas? We have six.

The reason, as Mr. Walsh explained, has to do with Prohibition-era laws making it illegal for breweries to sell their product on site. Unlike the state's wineries, which do a brisk business with visitors to their gift shops, Texas breweries are forbidden to vend directly to customers. If they don't sell their beer through distributors, they can't sell it.

Trouble is, most microbreweries don't make enough beer to engage the interest of distributors or retailers.

So why not change the law?

Bottoms up to that.

Thought it was so much opposed to the public interest that it editorially endorsed Sen. McCain for president, here the News has shown good taste for a change. Salud for the good stand on suds.

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