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Federal Judge Rules Deep Ellum Brewing Company Can Finally Sell Beer To-Go

The judge ruled that the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission was misapplying a 2018 law that governs how craft breweries sell their beers

A pint of beer in a clear glass with a “Deep Ellum Brewing Company” logo. A wall of beer taps is in the background. Deep Ellum Brewing/Facebook

After a prolonged legal battle, Dallas’s Deep Ellum Brewing Company can finally sell beer to go directly from the brewery.

United States district judge Robert Pitman issued a ruling on the lawsuit filed by brewery collective Canarchy against the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission in 2020. The suit was the result of a 2018 law that allowed Texas breweries that produced fewer than 225,000 barrels of beer per year to sell beer to go on premises. Soon after Deep Ellum Brewing started selling beer to go, the brewery received a warning from the TABC, claiming that it was excluded from the law.

That claim of exclusion comes from the fact that Canarchy also owns Oskar Blues Brewing in Austin, along with beer-making operations in 7 other states. Combined, the breweries owned by Canarchy annually produce more than the 225,000 barrel threshold allowed under the law.

“Your facility and all affiliated, permitted or licensed facilities both inside and outside of Texas collectively produce over 225,000 barrels of malt beverages annually,” the TABC wrote to Canarchy in the warning. “You therefore do not qualify to sell malt beverages to consumers for off-premise consumption.”

The crux of Pitman’s ruling in the case sits around whether or not the 2018 law governing off-premise sales applies to breweries that lease the property on which they produce beer. Ultimately, the court decided that it does not, and that it “ includes only barrels of malt beverages produced by the brewer at all premises owned by the brewer and does not include barrels of malt beverages produced by the brewer at premises leased by the brewer,” according to the ruling.

“We’re beyond excited that the court ruled in our favor,” said Canarchy president Matt Fraser. “This allows us to join our fellow craft brewers to get the freshest beer possible to our fans in package format to go including cans and Crowlers.”

This isn’t the only active lawsuit involving Deep Ellum Brewing Company, either. In September 2020, founding brewer John Reardon sued Canarchy after he was ousted from the company, alleging that it had failed to make agreed-upon payments to Reardon after he sold DEBC to Canarchy in 2018. That litigation is still pending.

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