Southwest Austin | January 2021

Commission changed certain state regulations this summer. In July, bars andbreweries that added foodoerings at their taprooms and projected food sales above 50% of total revenue were given a chance to apply for permits that would reclassify them as restaurants. Sampson said Last Stand Brewing led permits to reopen with food as soon as possible, and within a month the brewery’s grounds were open to dine-in service again. At the new South Congress taproom, plans already had a kitchen in place, giving Sampson condence to open in October with food as an added safeguard against future closures. Meanwhile Brewing opened with two food trucks on-site, while Fitzhugh Brewing and Pinthouse Brewing both have their own kitchens serving food. For Vacancy Brewing, Watson said the 51% allowance made him prioritize securing a food truck partner earlier than anticipated. “We realized that food is more of an essential now, as is setting up things like having an outdoor space,” Watson said. While Rodriguez said the rollout of the state changes could have been smoother, they have given opportunities to businesses that looked to regain revenue. Prior to the July changes going into eect, a June Texas Craft Brewers Guild survey showed that one in three breweries believed they would have to close by the fall. The TABC also provided a list of safety guidelines and best practices for breweries looking to open during the pandemic. Fitzhugh Brewing owner Kerbey Smith said she has learned the new guidelines and regulations “backwards and forwards.” Sanitation practices take extra time out of the day, and other precautions added costs to the overall project while she prepared for the brewery’s October grand opening.

to ourish in both the bad times and good times,” he said. “The businesses that have beneted most are our local establishments. We need to do whatever we can to give them a fair chance to make it.” The Texas Craft Brewers Guild has also asked the state for additional help. A guild petition asks Abbott to expand executive orders during the pandemic to allow breweries to deliver beer directly from the brewery to its customers’ homes. The petition, launched in March, has more than 219,000 signatures as of Jan. 22, but it has not been acknowledged by the governor’s oce. For those like Smith, expanding options for brewers could help in her rst year of operation or even beyond the pandemic. However, with the Austin-Travis County area in COVID- 19 risk Stage 5—its highest stage that encourages bars and restaurants to close for dine-in services— as of Jan. 22, Smith said she still fears another state-mandated closure of bars and breweries. “My biggest concern is that we’ll have it taken away from us again,” she said. Gilllansaid theMeanwhileBrewing team is also worried but can see the light at the end of the tunnel. With the rst COVID-19 vaccines distributed in late 2020 and more individuals having access as time passes, he said he hopes the chances of a statewide shutdown have diminished. “The positivity with the vaccines, I think that optimism is helping people,” he said. “Obviously, it’s scary that things could still get worse, but we know that if we do what we’re supposed to do, the masks can eventually come o and the hugs can return again.”

Call today to schedule your appointment! Celebrating 50 years of Roofing Austin “There was a big emphasis on the overall experienceatMeanwhileBrewing when it was being planned, and we’re just having to share that experience in stages now,” he said. “We’re not comfortable with having it all open yet, but we feel like when the time is right, we’ll share those spaces with everyone.” The road ahead With the Texas legislative session underway as of Jan. 12, Rodriguez said he expects lawmakers could expand some of the state orders passed during the pandemic related to alcohol into permanent bills. “It’s not just all about fun and games and getting your drink; it’s about businesses and allowing them “They were denitely things we didn’t consider at the very get-go of our project, so it has been really tough, but we’re happy to do it because it will help,” she said. “We’re going above and beyond trying to make people feel comfortable coming here.” ConnerGilllan,MeanwhileBrewing director of sales and marketing, said there was a lot of uncertainty about both customer turnout and the safety of sta and patrons when the brewery opened. The brewery launched with fewer tables than planned and without oering indoor seating. Also, the venue’s stage, playscape and soccer eld remain closed. “I DON’T THINK THERE’S ANYDOUBT THAT THE BEER TOGO LEGISLATION ALLOWED FOR SOME BREWERIES TOKEEP THEIRDOORS OPENAND TO SURVIVE DURING THIS PANDEMIC.” EDDIE RODRIGUEZ, TEXAS HOUSE DISTRICT 51 REPRESENTATIVE

Prior to a law change in 2019, only brewpubs—which focus on selling products on-site—could sell six-packs and bottles to go. Breweries—which rely more on manufacturing and distributing products—could not sell to-go before the change went into eect.

31 2 329 gallons kegs 12-ounce glasses

Restaurants or breweries that produce fewer than 10,000 barrels a year and sell 25% or more of its beer on-site could sell beer to-go even prior to 2019.

These businesses produce fewer than 15,000 barrels per year, with 75% or more sold o-site.

These produce up to 225,000 barrels of beer per year, 5,000 of which could be used for on-site consumption.

These business produces up to 6 million barrels per year.

SOURCES: TEXAS CRAFT BREWERS GUILD, THE STATE OF TEXAS, HOUSE BILL 1545 COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER These businesses produce more than 6 million barrels annually.

For more information, visit .

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