Breweries, wineries, distilleries asking to operate at 50 percent capacity

Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 10:53 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - The Texas Craft Brewers Guild has asked Governor Greg Abbott to let them operate like restaurants.

Charles Vallhonrat, the group’s executive director, says they submitted language to Governor Abbott on Friday that could be applied to his executive order. It would allow taprooms and tasting rooms for breweries, wineries, and distilleries to open following the same requirements as restaurants operating at 50% capacity.

“There’s no difference in going and sitting in a restaurant, having a margarita, having a meal or coming and sitting at this table and there’s a food truck here that you can order from,” said Chris Steele, the co-owner of Black Water Draw.

Black Water Draw is part of the Brewers Guild. Steele says having to shut down a second time is frustrating.

“There’s no recovery from this. We order supplies a month out. It takes us two to five weeks to make some of these beers, so have to order our supplies so now that everything’s opening back up, we’re trying to distribute out to our accounts again and build up our inventory to be able to do that. Then we’re shut down and we have nobody else to sell to again,” said Steele.

Steele says he thinks continued enforcement from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission may have helped.

“TABC came to a lot of bars in town, came the brewery. Talked to us said, ‘hey, if you’re over occupancy we’re going to shut you down for 30 days.’ We understand that. They did shut down bars around Texas. I think a dozen bars got shut down, so why not let that continue to see if you can quell it there,” said Steele.

Steele and the owners in Texas just want to know why the sudden order to stop welcoming guests.

“I’d like to see the data. I don’t mean just breweries. I mean 51% establishments. Why are we being singled out,” questioned Steele.

The Brewers Guild tells KBTX they sent a follow up Monday and has been in contact with the Governor’s Office since the initial shut down in March.

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