SALADO — The Craft brew industry is booming here in Central Texas, and local brewers are hoping a new addition to their labels will help set them apart.
Companies like Barrow Brewing out of Salado will start putting a special independent craft brewers label on cans to show they’re real craft beers and not a product of major breweries designed to look like a craft beer.
“I thought it was an absolute phenomenal idea," said Patrick Phelps, a brewer with Bold Republic out of Belton. The independent craw brew label was launched by the Brewers Association last June.
“You know that it’s an independently owned and operated brewery. The community benefits from that. It hires the employees, pays taxes there locally, are absorbed into the school systems and everything else. With big beer, all the money goes back to big beer," Phelps said.
And that is a concept Salado's Barrow Brewing will be getting on board with too very soon with some new batches.
“Craft beer is a great way to explore, it’s great for tourism, it’s a huge economic impact on the state," Barrow Brewing owner, K.D. Hill said.
Barrow was started by K.D. and her husband with the support of all of Salado.
“We actually had to change one of the laws here in Salado to be wet for beer before we could open,” he said
Hence, the beer named 784. It was named for each person who voted to make it happen. And that is just one way the craft brewing community is banding together.
“It is really a national trend. All these breweries, you know, beer people in the beer industry, they’re really cool," Patrick Hodges, Bold Republic owner said.
And for brewers like Phelps, that label created by the Brewers Association will keep shoppers informed and promote complete transparency.
“To pass something off that is, looks, has the branding, the packaging, the labeling as a craft brewery but not actually have the funding and the money goes back to the craft brewer is not transparent," Phelps said.
The craft brewers in Texas have banded together so much the Craft Brewers Guild in the state created a Political Action Committee, lobbying lawmakers to fix what they’re calling broken beer laws. Brewer Patrick Phelps calls these laws antiquated.
He said the laws limit creativity and collaboration between breweries and brewpubs and certain craft brew companies cannot sell beer to go.
Barrow Brewing’s K.D. Hill, a member of the CraftPAC, said some of these laws are confusing and frustrating for Craft Brewers especially when people come to visit a brewery and they cannot take a bit of what they enjoyed home with them.
“Texas is actually the only state in our nation that doesn’t allow breweries to sell beer to go. And so one of the major goals with Craft PAC with the next Texas legislative session is to change that," Hill said.
The Board Chair of CraftPAC, Andrew DeBower, went as far to say the laws are "un-American".
He said the current laws were created Post-Prohibition after the 1930s and the system has not been updated to work with the current economic conditions today.
The Salado Springs Beer Festival will be on Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. There will be nine craft breweries on tap. The festival will be located outside Barrow Brewing on Royal Street off of Main Street.
The festival benefits local Bell County charity Foster Love, to help foster children and those who care for them.