Jester King Craft Brewery files for brewpub license, will qualify it for direct sales

Jester King Craft Brewery logo

(Austin, TX) – Following House passage of a package of beer industry reform bills, Jester King Craft Brewery co-founder, Jeff Stuffings, shared some news on Beer Advocate this week.

We’ve filed for our brewpub license. It makes sense for us, if the law changes, since we only make about 1,500 barrels per year. We’re looking forward to (hopefully) selling bottles for on-site consumption as well as bottles to go.

Assuming the bills are signed into law, I think we’ll see what’s the norm in most other states start to emerge in Texas for those breweries holding a brewpub license. Limited releases that are likely to sell through very quickly will take place at the brewery itself. The example that immediately comes to mind for me is Allagash’s coolship beer, which as I understand is only sold at their brewery when it’s available. Larger releases that won’t sell though in a few days or weeks at the brewery itself end up being sent through the distributor and retail tiers. In your case, your ability to get beers like Le Petit Prince, Noble King, Black Metal, etc. should not change. I would however expect for small, limited upcoming releases like Atrial Rubicite to happen exclusively at our brewery, again assuming the laws change.

The upside as I see it for retailers, is that breweries being allowed to sell beer will help them grow much faster and add additional capacity. This ultimately means a greater amount and diversity of beer for the retailer to sell. As always, thanks for supporting us by selling our beer.

1:20PM EST UPDATE:

If the laws pass, Batch 1 of Viking Metal and Atrial Rubicite will be released at our brewery initially. If they sell through in a few weeks or less, they won’t be distributed but for festivals and special events. If they don’t sell through in that time frame, we’ll distribute what’s left.

Our motivation isn’t a secret. We make a significantly better margin selling beer at our brewery than through a distributor. We’ve watched from afar as out of state breweries we respect in states that allow direct sales have flourished, while we’ve been left spinning our wheels to some extent. We’ve wanted to hire more brewers and expand our barrel program by an order of several magnitudes for a long time, but haven’t been able to do so but for the money. We’re confident the potential law change will allow us to do these things. We make no apology for this. We frankly feel that it should be the right of a brewer in the free world to sell beer to beer drinkers.

Stuffings also said in the same thread that for Oi Oi!, he “foresse[s] a bottling run in the fall that will make it to Houston.”

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3 thoughts on “Jester King Craft Brewery files for brewpub license, will qualify it for direct sales

  1. 1. It is their right
    2. It is BS to couch this right in verbage that it is about the beer-drinker. This makes it more difficult for the end beer drinker to have access to seasonal/limited release beers (unless they are lucky enough to live near the given brewery).
    3. It is BS to couch this right in verbage that this will ultimately help the retailer. The retailer that is specializing in craft beer and serving the craft beer community has come to rely on seasonal/limited batch beers. These retail establishments were created w/ the brewery and beer drinker in mind. I understand the middle man, the distributor, undercuts the brewer and cuts into their margains. The brewer though has a choice to be a self-distributor and still maintain those margains. With a truck and some manpower, retailers are more than willing to buy directly from the brewer for the same prices they’re paying to the distributors.
    4. They are right in that they do not have to apologize to anyone. But, if they chose to be so bold in this stance, don’t backtrack and PR spin w/ other BS on how it benefits others, i.e. beer drinkers, retailers. It benefits one thing, the brewer’s bottom line. Again, that’s fine, just don’t sugarcoat the motives, it’s insulting.
    5. This is just the first domino to fall. Soon, unless the beer drinker wants the brewer’s flagship beer, it will be necessary to go to the source, a logistical impossibility for many loyal beer drinkers. Another fall-out, is that the craft beer speciality store in Texas likely will not survive, leaving beer drinkers to only hear about the releases they previously had access to at the neighborhood store.

  2. Pingback: Jester King Brewpub License | Drink Local Texas

  3. Let’s not forget this is a small local brewer and serves primarily the Austin area. This will be good for the local beer drinker. It’s not fair to criticize them if you are not local. They are not responsible for the stupid distribution laws in Texas.

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