The TABC took issue with Cuvee’s crowler machine (the only one in Austin), which created can alternatives to glass growlers. The agency considered the sealed products different from growlers (which can be found in many beer bars), and saw the cans as manufactured, which the cafe isn’t permitted for. The machine was seized in September 2015.
Immediately, Cuvee founder and owner Mike McKim appealed the decision. After court hearings, Texas administrative law judge John H. Beeler ruled in the cafe’s favor. To Beeler, it seemed that the TABC only took issue with crowlers, other containers seemed to be fair game. To him, this meant “[t]he sale of beer in buckets, mayonnaise jars, or even tennis balls, for off-premise consumption is permitted,” as he wrote in his ruling.
TABC vs. Cuvee...and the winner is... pic.twitter.com/dpikxF7eDk— Mike McKim (@MikeMckim) November 22, 2016
Beeler also emphasized that Cuvee’s crowlers were meant for quick consumption, not for long-term resale, and that the official TABC code never outrightly defined what a permanent seal was. Ultimately, he found, "there is no material difference between growlers and crowlers.”
While it is good news for Cuvee, it’s not the end. McKim told Eater that the TABC is looking to file exceptions to the decision, which means the crowler stays locked up for now. Nevertheless, he plans on lobbying the
Travis County Texas legislature when it’s back in session in January to change that law.
McKim is happy, though, because the judge’s ruling shows “a shift in attitude” favoring the Texas craft beer industry.