Texas Defeats Challenge to Direct Sales Law By Breweries

Judge Pitman had a busy day.  After ruling earlier in the day on the Wal-Mart public ownership lawsuit matter he ruled on the Equal Protection and Substantive Due Process challenges of Deep Ellum and Grapevine breweries to Texas law prohibiting packaging breweries from selling off site.  Judge Pitman granted the motion for summary judgment of the state and denied the summary judgment motion of the breweries.

The judge ruled for the state noting that the breweries have failed to prove that the state had no rational basis for these laws.   The court outlined several reasons why the state laws were reasonable.  The state has an interest in defending the three tier system as the court noted, “It is rational for the state to limit the retail sales of the Brewers as a method to preserve the three-tier system.”  The court noted that public health concerns were also a rational basis for the state law.   Finally Judge Pitman highlighted that lost in the repeated brewery attacks on wholesalers was the plaintiffs missing another important component of the three tier system impacted by the brewery sales-  retailers-  noting “the legislature may have been concerned about disrupting the beer retail market by allowing brewers and manufacturers to make additional retail sales.”

Judge Pitman likewise disposed of the Substantive Due Process claims of plaintiffs  citing to the Supreme Court case of Conn v. Gabbert, 536 U.S. 286, 291-922 (1999) which notes that “due process right to choose one’s field of private employment … is nevertheless subject to reasonable government regulation.”   These breweries are not denied the right to brew their beer.

Leave a Reply