Small breweries are celebrating a federal court ruling issued yesterday that strikes down state regulations limiting what beer makers can say about their products. U.S. District Court Judge Sam Sparks’ makes three changes to Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) rules:
- Brewers can now advertise the alcohol content of their beers on their websites and promotional materials.
- Brewers can now also advertise where you can buy their products.
- Brewers are no longer required to label any beer that is 0.5 to 4 percent alcohol as “beer” and they are no longer required to label anything above 4 percent as “ale” or “malt liquor.”
“Ale and beer are not mutually exclusive categories. Ale is one type of beer,” said Ron Extract with Austin-based brewer Jester King Craft Brewery, one of the plaintiffs in the suit. “It really has nothing to do with alcohol content.”
“The regulations regarding use of terminology were really unique in Texas,” Extract said.
Interestingly, Judge Sparks’ ruling called out the TABC for barely making its case in court, referring to TABC’s lawyers’ “candid admission in open court that the State submitted virtually no summary judgment evidence” and therefore Sparks said he granted the plaintiff’s motion “almost by default.”
However, beer makers were not able to convince the court that they should be able to sell beer to customers on-site.