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Cuvee Coffee Challenging TABC in Court Over Crowler Ruling

cuvee coffee challenging TABC in court over craft beer

Leave it to craft coffee folks to take the craft one step further. Cuvee Coffee Bar in Austin is one of the pioneers in canning its own nitro coffee – but they also serve beer, and use a crowler machine to can draft beer for its patrons to take home, and that’s brought them into contention with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

A crowler, for those not in the know, are an alternative to the traditional glass growlers used to bottle brew for home consumption. They’re made of aluminum rather than glass, they’re recyclable, and they’re trendy as hell. At issue is the interpretation of Texas law, which makes a distinction between packaging beer in growlers and packaging beer in cans. Under Texas law, retailers are allowed to fill growlers with draft beer whether or not they brew their own beer on premises. They are not, however, allowed to can beer unless they brew their own.

Cuvee Coffee’s position is that crowlers should be considered under the same section of law as growlers – it’s “a distinction without a difference” according to Cuvee Coffee Bar’s owner. The coffee bar has been embroiled in a legal battle over their right to sell crowlers of ale and beer from the bar since early this summer when the TABC notified them that they are violating the law by doing so. A number of other local establishments put their crowler machines away when notified, but Cuvee decided to fight for a change to TABC’s handling of the law.

It’s Cuvee’s position that the TABC is misinterpreting the law by considering crowlers to be cans rather than just an alternative to growlers. According to a statement released by Cuvee, the commission welcomes the court case. A court decision will determine whether or not bars and retailers can fill the oversize aluminum cans for patrons – and this could actually have a much wider bearing on the entire industry, and on whether crowlers are more widely adopted or not.

Crowlers are a relatively new development – they’ve only been around for about a year, and many state laws have specific language that defines a growler as a glass container. This challenge in Texas may not be the last – and while it’s only tangentially related to coffee, as the craft beer and craft coffee industries come closer and closer together, it’s a conversation worth following.

Source: KVUE News: TABC charges Cuvee Coffee


Deb Powers has been reading about coffee, drinking coffee, brewing coffee, writing about coffee and roasting her own coffee for nearly 30 years.She confesses to being a coffee wonk and finds endless fascination in even the most meta of coffee information.
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Deb Powers – who has written posts on CoffeeBreak.Today.

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