“The fourth tier wants to speak up,” said Ted Duchesne, a Clear Lake-area beer blogger and president of a nascent nonprofit organization that pledges to work on behalf of consumers to increase the availability of craft beer in Texas.
The group, Open The Taps, hopes to do so by encouraging legislation – such as the stifled efforts to expand the ways small breweries and brewpubs get their goods to market – and regulatory changes often cited as a deterrent by out-of-state craft breweries that want to do business here.
Duchesne and the other founders believe they can tap into a large, passionate base that prefers craft beers to mass-produced ones. They are set to launch a fund-raising drive in major Texas cities and next month will be recruiting members at a public home brewing event in Seabrook.
The founders of Open The Taps say the recent explosive growth of craft beer in the state and the number of new breweries prove there is grass-roots support here that they can leverage into legislative action through lobbying. One of their first initiatives is to recruit 100 people willing to contribute $100 apiece in each of the state’s four biggest metro areas: Houston, Austin, San Antonio and Dallas/Fort Worth.
Here’s their nascent website and Facebook page. They have a launch party scheduled for this Saturday the 23rd at 4 PM at the Moon Tower Inn on Canal Street. I’m glad to see this group form, and I wish them all the best, I’ll just note that we’ve now had three legislative sessions in which microbreweries have tried to get a bill passed. It would have been nice if something like this had existed even a year ago. Be that as it may, it’s going to take grassroots action to get this done, so if you care about beer in Texas and can’t understand why we don’t have a free market for it, join up with these folks and start working towards 2013. Beer, TX has more.