Judge says Texas bars, restaurants can fill and sell beer crowlers

Crowler at Cuvee Coffee. (Courtesy: Cuvee Coffee)
Crowler at Cuvee Coffee. (Courtesy: Cuvee Coffee)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Administrative Judge Lesli Gin has ruled that bars and restaurants should be able to fill “crowlers” with commercial beer and sell it to customers to take home.

In September 2015, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission seized canning equipment from Cuvee Coffee in east Austin. The state says Cuvee was breaking state rules when they filled growler-sized cans called “crowlers” with beer. In a press release, TABC said only businesses with a permit to manufacture or brew beer, ale and malt liquor on -site are allowed to can their products for resale.

The coffee bar was issued an initial warning with a 30-day deadline. After the deadline expired, the company stated on social media that they would continue filling and selling crowlers in spite of TABC’s directive. An undercover investigation by the commission revealed staff repeatedly selling crowlers after the deadline.

After a year-long battle and a lawsuit filed against the business by TABC, on Nov. 17, the judge ruled in Cuvee’s favor. TABC has until Dec. 2 to appeal the judge’s decision—which means Cuvee Coffee can’t go back to selling crowlers just yet.

“The administrative hearing process allows ample opportunities for either party to appeal a decision,” explains TABC spokesperson Chris Porter. “Until the case is closed, the agency will continue to enforce the provisions of the Alcoholic Beverage Code related to canning of alcoholic beverages.”

Cuvee Coffee owner, Mike McKim tells KXAN regardless of whether the state appeals the judge’s decision, he hopes to lobby the Texas legislature to change the law and permit crowlers.

“If you read the judges ruling he mentions a tennis ball can and a mayonaise jar; we can put beer in those and sell it to go, but we can’t put it in a can. It’s just completely illogical,” said McKim, who says the ongoing legal struggle has hit the small business financially, “”Because we have to fund this legal battle we have less resources to invest into staff, into our company, and into the community.”

The TABC told Judge Lesli Gin that they are concerned that allowing companies to can beer themselves and then sell it to-go could lead to collusion between manufacturers and retailers.

KXAN.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s