‘Beer in TX’ is No More

Written by Eric Braun for mysanantonio.com

Perhaps the most nonsensical of all the Texas beer rules and regulations — although there are plenty to go around — is the rule that dictates what a beer is called based on whether or not it’s above or below 5% in ABV (alcohol by volume). That rule was struck down by Judge Sam Sparks in a ruling yesterday. He also struck down the rule against producers being able to tell customer where to find their beers.

If you’ve ever noticed a label that read ‘Beer in TX,’ it was likely an ale that couldn’t be called an ale because it was under 5%. Meanwhile, lagers over 5% had to be called an ale or malt liquor. As beer lovers know, ales and lagers are the two main different types of beer and the difference isn’t ABV.

This was based on a lawsuit filed by Austin’s Jester King Brewing and others a few months ago which I wrote about here. Essentially, Judge Sparks found that the labeling rules and the rules against beer manufacturers being able to tell consumer where to find their beer to purchase were both unconstitutional according to the guarantees of the first amendment. So those rules will go away assuming there are no successful appeals or other funny business.

Unfortunately, the judge ruled against using the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment to cancel out the regulations wherein brew pubs can’t sell outside of their buildings and breweries can’t sell inside their buildings. That might have been wishful thinking, but it was worth a shot.
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