Happy National Beer Day, also known as Brew Year’s Eve!
For me, a lot of days are beer days, but today’s holiday actually has some historical background. It isn’t just one of those made up holidays like “Put a Necktie on Your Cat Day”. On March 22, 1933 the Cullen-Harrison Act was signed, and it went into effect on April 7, 1933. This act basically allowed low alcohol beers to be sold in the US for the first time since Prohibition began in 1920. The signing of the Cullen-Harrison Act was the beginning of the end of Prohibition, which didn’t officially end until December 1933. If that isn’t worth celebrating, I don’t know what is.
There’s an interesting write up about it here on the Craft Beer blog. Since the days of Prohibition, the landscape for beer in America has changed drastically. Recently craft beer and microbreweries have boomed, and the variety of beers available has been increasing rapidly.
While on the topic of history and laws related to beer, there is something interesting going on in the Texas Legislature right now. Currently in Texas, breweries cannot sell their beer on site; they must go through a distributor to sell their beer. There are plenty of brewery tours, but they can only give samples and can’t actually sell the beer to you. Also, brewpubs are allowed to brew beer on site and sell it by the pint, but they can’t sell that same beer through a distributor or in stores.
This system currently in place is very backwards, and SB 515, 516, 517 and 518 are working to fix that. These bills recently passed in the Senate and are moving on to the House. If these pass, then brewpubs will be able to distribute their beer if they want to, and it would also allow breweries to sell a limited amount of beer at their own facilities directly to consumers. The Jester King Craft Brewery blog has a great article about it here. There is also another bill in place that seems a bit more controversial and isn’t favored by many Texas breweries, but at least the other four bills that passed seem to have everyone agreeing it’s a step in the right direction and could really make a difference for brewers in Texas.
So if you get a chance today, send a quick email to your state rep if you’re in Texas, then be festive, support your local breweries, and go grab a pint and celebrate!