Open Letter from TXWA Executive Director on the Closure of Distillery Tasting Rooms by Executive Order.
We’d like to thank Commissioner Sid Miller and the Texas Department of Agriculture for recognizing the public service provided by our member distilleries and the many Texas Distillers who have been producing millions of gallons of ethanol-based sanitizer for our state.
From its inception, our industry has been hamstrung by antiquated blue laws limiting our ability to sell our Texas-made products directly to consumers. The COVID19 pandemic, and the resulting shutdowns, have exposed the significant flaws in Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission code where in-person sales are either impossible or against public health protocols.
Governor Abbott, we implore you to acknowledge that tasting rooms are a unique segment of the Texas alcohol industry and need official recognition as such. They have been the only economic lifeline for most distilleries who need the (legally required) in-person traffic to generate bottle sales from the public. Even then our distillers are only allowed to sell a “token” 2 bottles to patrons every 30 days.
Our industry has been more than responsible in all of our protocols, and through the massive production of sanitizer through our #StillStrongTX efforts, our member distilleries have literally saved lives of Texans on the frontlines of this crisis. Also, our continued production of distilled products is a lifeline to our grain and seed partners who produce the raw materials from which most of our award winning spirits are made. Our contribution to the Texas economy can no longer be overlooked.
We need more contactless direct-sales options for distillers who are simply trying to survive this trying time. We’ve outlined our common sense waiver requests at www.StillStrongTX.com and nearly 14,000 letters have been sent in support of these goals. Now it is time for the Office of the Governor Greg Abbott to act!
Executive Director – Texas Whiskey Association