Here's my attempt to summarize what's going forward here in Texas. There are basically 3 bills. Two are good. They would allow production breweries to sell beer directly to consumers without having to deal with previous restrictions that required them to give beer away with the tour for the price of the tour, the glass, etc. The other would allow brewpubs to distribute.
Here's the problem. SB639 has now been tied to these other two bills. This is the bill that prohibits manufacturers, i.e. breweries from (1) charging different prices to different distributors and (2) (this is the really bad one), receiving payment from distributors in exchange for their territorial distribution rights. In other words, the breweries, who could have previously sold these rights to distribute their beer in a territory, for example, in the Houston area, now have to give the rights to the distributors. Of course, the distributor who has been given these rights, can turn around and sell them to another distributor. Basically creates less incentive among breweries in the state to try to grow their brand. There may be a way around it (kind of like getting around the tasting room rules), but it's just a bad law. I could see the breweries charging a "convenience fee." Worked for Ticketmaster.
Also, I think they are working to up the bbl cap that would allow the brewery to self distribute, but, in turn, lowering the amount of beer that can, in fact, be self distributed to 40,000 bbls. This does not seem to be as big of a deal since it does not make much sense for a brewery to try to self distribute that much beer.
This is my understanding of things. Word is that it will probably pass. It has support from the distributors, obviously. That's a lot of lobbying money. The breweries who are spearheading this stand to benefit more than the smaller breweries that haven't had a seat at the table for as long. Good for the brewpubs. Good for the already widely distributed breweries like St. Arnold who have already been paid for the lion's share of their distribution rights. Not so good for pretty much all the other smaller breweries who are in the early stages and are still mostly self distributing.
Distributors and Texas legilators laughing and patting each other on the backs on this one. Hope it doesn't pass. Time will tell