Because of this provision, the Kum-bai-yah facade of the craft brewers is rapidly deteriorating as many of the smaller brew houses feel they've been sold down the river by some of Texas' established craft brewers. Of the dissenters the loudest has been Jester King Brewery in Austin who have all but declared their intent to sue over SB 639 and Deep Ellum Brewing Company which seems to be saying they're ready to vote the entire package down. For their part, The Texas Craft Brewers Guild (the Representative lobby for the craft brewers) is putting on a brave face and saying that this is the best result for all involved.
Whether or not any of this is a good thing probably depends on your point of view. For consumers, it's undoubtedly a good thing because this means that you will now be able to buy some beer at a brewery when you take a tour of if you are just stopping by. This is
In short: It's a mess. A mess that can be attributed to Texas, distributor backed, three-tier system which only serves to increase the profits of the middle-man when it comes to alcohol sales at the expense of the consumer and the producer. A mess that has ignited a war of words both from the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, some of the brewing companies, and among the craft-beer enthusiast public.
For anyone who's paid attention to Texas politics for years now none of this should come as any surprise. The "free market" in Texas is somewhat of an oxymoron due to the pay-for-play attitude displayed by politicians from both parties. You can call it "dirty politics" or "crony capitalism" or whatever you want, it's the way the liquor business is done in Texas. There was no way the big distribution companies were going to spend all of that money, deploy all of those lobbyists and wine and dine all of those politicians and not get a return on their investment.
Despite all of this I see no reason why these laws should not pass. There's too much support for them to fail. I do think that there will be some legislation that stems from this, certainly on the legality of banning one company from accepting a lump-sum payment from another in what is a private transaction strikes me as questionable, and I'm sure the distributors are going to weigh in as well, them still not wanting craft brewers to be able to sell from their shops.
Still, these are blue laws, and the courts have a history of treating those separately to other commerce related bills so who knows what is going to happen.
*corrected due to the input by the commenter. I was under the impression that SB 517 gave breweries the ability to sell beer in bottle and growler form. Upon a read of the Texas Alcohol and Beverage code 64.01(2) I was wrong. Thanks to the commenter for pointing this out.