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Texas Breweries’ Revenues Are Down by 71 Percent

The Texas Craft Brewers Guild is asking the governor to allow for beer deliveries and shipments during the coronavirus pandemic

Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

Texas breweries have been feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Texas Craft Brewers Guild (TCBG) surveyed 68 of its brewery members in the state, and found that their average revenue is down by 71 percent, and that 63 percent had to lay off or furlough their staff, because of tap room shutters or reduced service and production through the end of the month.

In response, TCBG put together a petition asking Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to exert his emergency powers in order to help boost revenue for these breweries. Firstly, the guild wants the state to temporarily allow breweries to deliver and ship their beers directly to people during this time.

This request isn’t out of line right now. Last month, the governor allowed Texas restaurants to sell takeout and delivery beer, wine, and alcohol (manufacturer-sealed bottles 375 milliliters or less), during the course of the pandemic, which had previously been illegal.

Then, TCBG’s petition is also asking that Texas pause tax collections as well as tax credits for surplus beer, since there will be more than usual, for the moment. Gov. Abbott hasn’t commented on TCBG’s petition yet.

Breweries have been able to sell beer-to-go since last summer, but those sales must be made in person and there’s a limit on how much can be purchased at a time. Many breweries are currently open for to-go sales through curbside pickups, in-person pickups, and drive-thrus, while tap rooms are closed. (It’s legal, however, for Texas wineries to ship their wines in the state.)

Texas craft breweries had the third-highest economic impact in the country of over $5 billion in 2018, as reported by brewery nonprofit Brewers Association. There are nearly 400 licensed breweries in the state as of January 2020, according to beer publication Craft Beer Austin. TCBG boasts a roster of 545 members, spanning craft breweries and brewpubs (including forthcoming ones), retail shops, and brewery-adjacent manufacturers (i.e. label makers, crowler producers).

As of publishing, the petition has gathered over 16,000 signatures.