In yet another reversal, some breweries are now presumably allowed to open for onsite consumption.
In mid-July, the TABC advised Saint Arnold Brewing Company to abruptly shut down its beer garden and restaurant operations because the Governor’s office advised them that their distribution sales counted as part of the 51% revenue calculation. Further, there was no advanced warning, (which is no surprise at this point). This past Friday, the TABC posted new guidance about the 51% revenue calculation excluding beer sales to distributors and beer-to-go sales:
So what does that mean? Aside from the breweries that are currently allowed to operate for onsite consumption, this allows a brewery that sells food, merchandise, etc. on-premise (as part of their revenue stream) to operate within the Texas COVID-19 guidelines as long as their other sales exceed on-premise beer sales at the 51% level. In a nutshell, breweries like Austin Beerworks, Saint Arnold, and others across the state, specifically those that serve food on-site, are now allowed to open to the public.
Please check with any brewery before heading out to ensure you are following their guidelines, including a potential requirement to order food with your beer.
Editor’s note: we are doing our damn best to bring you the news as we understand it. That being said, things are absolutely confusing and irrational. If you have any information to further clarify the state of the industry, we welcome your insight.
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Update on our Beer Garden & Restaurant operations: Sometimes government bureaucracy comes to ridiculous conclusions. This is one of those times. The governor's office has abruptly decided that in calculating whether our Beer Garden & Restaurant sells at least 51% alcohol (determining if we are a "bar" or "restaurant"), we have to include all of the beer we sell to our distributors as if we were selling it to you at our restaurant. This defies all logic and common sense. The result is that beginning today we will be returning to only curbside service for food and beer to go at Saint Arnold. This could cause the loss of 75 jobs at our Beer Garden. We have an ask for you: please politely and respectfully let Governor Abbott know this is absurd. Please ask him to allow us to calculate the 51% based on our restaurant operations alone. You can contact him online [click the first link in our profile link] or tweet at him at @GovAbbott and @GregAbbott_TX. We have worked hard to create one of the safest dining experiences in the state: waiting an extra two weeks to reopen, restricting ourselves to only outdoor tables, increasing spacing, and instituting strict safety protocols. We have received much positive feedback for our efforts. Even if there is another shutdown which seems increasingly likely, it is critical that we get this interpretation changed. In the meantime, we have several delicious special release beers coming out this week. We encourage you to come by and pick them up at our drive thru. Say hi to our team through your mask, order some of our tasty food, and stay safe! We appreciate your support. Cheers! Brock Wagner Founder/Brewer
Feature image courtesy of Saint Arnold Brewing Company