With the passage and awaiting signature by the Governor of SB 515 & 518, there is a justifiable lingering of the all important question of “what now?”
I hadn’t originally planned to make this post, but I saw my colleague Jeff Stuffings on the Beer Advocate message boards, confirming that Jester King has filed for a brewpub license, marking perhaps the first proverbial shoe to drop following these bill’s success in the statehouse.
By switching to a brewpub license, Jester King (which produces around 1,500 barrels annually, per Jeff) will be able to continue all current operations in addition to take advantage of a number of activities specifically permitted by holders of brewpub license holders. Namely, Jester King will be able to sell beer to the ultimate consumer for on or off-premise consumption. Without speculating as to what Jester King might actually do, they will be permitted to sell beer to consumers in their tasting room or beer garden in addition to selling growlers, bottles or kegs to ultimate consumers (should they so choose).
For Freetail, the new brewpub and packaging brewery laws open up the possibility for growth for our business. To date, our beer has been limited to being sold only at our brewpub. With the new law, we will be able to contract with a distributor to sell our beer for resale across the state, up to 10,000 barrels per year. For reference, the only breweries in Texas above 10,000 barrels in 2012 were A-B, MillerCoors, Shiner, St. Arnold, Real Ale and Rahr.
Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity at our brewpub to produce beer for the wholesale market, nor do we have any space by which to expand capacity. To that end, it is highly unlikely that any beer made at our existing brewery will ever make it to the wholesale market.
In light of this very acute capacity problem, we’ve already been at work on a little project called Freetail2 which is exactly what it sounds like: a second brewery. We will build another brewery in the San Antonio area, licensed as a brewpub, capable of producing up to 10,000 or more. In addition to making beer for on-premise consumption or for selling growlers, bottles or kegs to consumers, this brewery will produce Freetail beer for the wholesale market.
I don’t have any more details on Freetail2 to share at this time, but this blog will begin to transition to a living chronicle of the process as we build our new brewery. I’ll share all the details I think you’ll find interesting, with as many pictures and videos I can shoot.
Looking forward to the future of Texas beer.