Monday, November 15, 2010

Vertical Epic: Thanks, TABC, For Keeping A Coveted Beer Out Of Texas

WTF, Texas? It's beer, unless it's ale or malt liquor, in which case you not only can't label it "beer", you can't even refer to it as "beer"? Your labeling laws are stupid, archaic, confusing, and destructive to the marketplace.

Stone Brewing Company's Vertical Epic, which has a once-a-year release and is part of a very important beer plan, was sitting in a warehouse in Houston waiting to be sent to stores, according to Austin Tefteller, a beer manager at Spec's.

That's when TABC agents stepped in and decided the beer had to be shipped back to California. [Update: Vertical Epic 10.10.10 is available in kegs in Texas, but not in bottles.]

The problem, according to Tefteller, was on the label. The Vertical Epic contains more than 5 percent alcohol (quite a bit more), and in Texas, you can't call that a beer. And somewhere on Stone's label, it said the word "beer."

"That's the reason a lot of craft brewers don't come to Texas," [Stone regional manager Jason] Armstrong says. "There are some amazing Belgium beers that don't come to Texas. You can get them in Louisiana, you can get them in New Mexico, but not Texas. What brewer or monk is going to change his label he's had for 500 years?"

Read the whole stupid story at Houston News.

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