Late Wednesday night, the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission reversed a recent guideline change that would have let the state's breweries reopen their patios for service.
The move is an abrupt about-face from last week, when the TABC signaled that brewers could pour product for patrons, so long as they quaffed their beers outside. Under that rule, breweries would have been clear to temporarily modify their licenses to exclude patios and beer gardens from their on-site premises, the Houston Chronicle reports.
However, in the latest turn, the TABC amended its guideline to say that modifying a business premises as unlicensed doesn't exempt it from Gov. Greg Abbott's June 26 executive order closing bars and other drinking establishments.
After last week's decision, San Antonio's Weathered Souls Brewery announced Monday that its patio would reopen for business with limited seating. However, it was forced to backtrack after the TABC's whipsaw change.
“We basically had hope of an option to regain some business and then had that hope snatched away,” Marcus Baskerville, co-owner and head brewer of Weathered Souls, told the Current. “It's definitely a frustrating and disheartening situation.”
Baskerville said he's been in contact with other Texas brewers, and they share his sentiments: they're pissed. For many craft breweries, who have a hard time competing for retail space against brewing conglomerates, on-site sales make up a significant source of income.
"You see all of these restaurants open, able to host way larger groups of people inside, and it just feels like our government is crapping on the craft beer industry," Baskerville said. "We’re all trying to figure out how we can survive this."
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