Raising the Bar on Texas Spirits Virtual Attendees
November 5-7, 2020 | Dripping Springs, Texas

The alcohol beverage industry in Texas has a substantial impact on the Lone Star State. Each year, wine contributes $13 billion, beer contributes over $5 billion, and $7.5 billion comes from distilled spirits to the state’s economy. Over the last decade, producers of notable Texas spirits have become international household names, the number of Craft Breweries in Texas has increased to over 340, and Distilleries to over 130, winning numerous international awards for excellence in the process. Dripping Springs and the Hill Country are the second-largest wine tourist destination in the United States and the location for The Texas Lyceum November Conference, “Raising the Bar on Texas Spirits.” 

The Three Tier System of Alcohol Distribution was created after Prohibition for the Regulation and Taxation of Alcohol, and consists of Manufacturers, Distributors, and Retailers. Texans will occasionally enjoy a tasty beverage yet may not be aware of the complex system that gets this drink to their hand.

In this conference, we plan to explore:

  • the history of the alcohol beverage industry in Texas from prohibition going forward
  • the overall economic impact on Texas
  • the role of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission
  • federal regulation and how that impacts the Industry in Texas
  • trends in consumer demand, from taste preferences of younger generations to the impact of the ongoing pandemic.
  • innovative manufacturers, distributors and retailers, large and small, and highlight the issues and policies in Texas affecting them going forward into the 87th Legislative Session
  • the response of the Industry to the COVID-19 outbreak
  • hear from the pioneers of the Industry on how they started in Texas for our Fireside Chat, including Brock Wagner, founder of Saint Arnold Brewing Company.

 We hope that you will join us in Dripping Springs for this conference, to learn more about the Alcohol Beverage Industry, tour some of the amazing breweries and distilleries in Dripping Springs and partake in curated tastings of the best Beer, Wine and Spirits that Texas produces.

Session Q&A:

All sessions will be recorded live in Dripping Springs and uploaded to the conference platform upon completion. We encourage virtual attendees to submit questions you may have for the speakers or the entire panel prior to the conference. Please submit to [email protected], with “Spirits Conference Question” in the email subject line.

Conference Schedule:

Friday, November 6

The sessions will be recorded and ready to view at the following times:

9:30 am: The Role of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC)
General Bentley Nettles, Executive Director of the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission, will discuss the traditional role of TABC in regulation, licensing and taxation of alcohol, but also its involvement in the detection and eradication of human and narcotics trafficking in connection to the Alcohol Beverage industry. 
General Bentley Nettles, Executive Director, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, and moderator Blair Watson, Brown Distributing

10:00 am: Fireside Chat: The Godfathers of Texas Beer, Wine and Spirits
Honoring three Pioneers in Beer, Wine and Spirits in Texas, hear the experience of being among the first in their industries in the state, and reflect on the obstacles they overcame to reach their current success. Brock Wagner started Saint Arnold Brewing Company, the oldest Craft Brewery in Texas in 1994, in Houston. Susan Auler co-founded Fall Creek Vineyards on her ranch in the Texas Hill Country in 1975. Dan Garrison introduced the first bourbon whiskey legally made in Texas in 2010 from his distillery, Garrison Brothers, in Hye, Texas.
Brock Wagner, Saint Arnold Brewing Company, Dan Garrison, Garrison Brothers, Susan Auler, Fall Creek Vineyards, and moderator Tam Hawkins, Texas Lyceum Class of 2018

11:00 am: History of Texas Alcohol Beverage Industry
Harry Schuhmacher, Editor & Publisher of Beer Business Daily and Wine & Spirits Daily, will discuss the history of the Industry from Prohibition onward in Texas, including lesser known anecdotes and trends in consumer tastes.
Harry Schuhmacher, Beer Business Daily, Craft Business Daily, & Wine and Spirits Daily

11:30: Economic Impact on Texas
State Comptroller Glenn Hegar will join us to discuss the ways the Texas Alcohol Beverage Industry impacts the Texas economy, bringing in billions of dollars into the state on a yearly basis and employing hundreds of thousands in the state.
Glenn Hegar, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

12:30 pm: How to Make a Regulatory Model Designed in the 1930s Work in 2020
The Three Tier System of Manufacturers, Distributors, and Retailers was established upon the repeal of Prohibition by the 21st Amendment for the regulation and taxation of alcohol, with the power to control alcohol left to the states. After nearly a century, is this current framework still the most functional regulatory system for Texas?
Todd Kercheval, Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of Texas, Lance Lively, Texas Package Stores Association, Charles Vallhonrat, Texas Craft Brewer’s Guild, Stephanie Houston, Ruminate Distilling, Keith Strama, Wholesale Beer Distributors, and moderator Mark Shilling, Big Thirst Consulting

1:45 pm: From Beer-to-Go to Cocktail-to-Go, Now What?
The 86th Legislative Session saw the passage of Beer-to-Go allowing Texans to take home a case of beer from a brewery taproom per visit. As businesses in the industry struggled during the pandemic, Governor Abbott authorized the temporary sale of pre-mixed drinks from bars and restaurants. As customers become accustomed to Cocktails-to-Go, where does consumer demand go from here and will it lead to a permanent statute?
Gregory Lamantia, Favorite Brands, Kelsey Erickson Streufert, Texas Restaurant Association, Joanna Salinas, Still Austin Whiskey Co., Michael Graham, Austin Beerworks,  David JaBour, Twin Liquors, Kareem Hajjar, Hajjar / Peters, LLP, and moderator John Kroll, Texas Lyceum Class of 2009

2:30: The Last Mile: Getting the Drink in Your Hand

Consideration for how your favorite beverage makes it into your hand is not often on the mind of most Texans. Placing product on the shelf at retail and package stores or at your local restaurant has always been a complex operation for manufacturers and retailers, which has been compounded during the pandemic. We explore the intricacies of the process and how this has changed in the face of COVID-19.
Kelsey Erickson Streufert, Texas Restaurant Association, Alphonse Dotson, Dotson-Cervantes Wines, Mike Cameron, Devils River Whiskey, Mike Camreon, Devils River Whiskey, Dya Campos, HEB, Adam Wright, Spindletap Brewery, and moderator Dewey Brackin, Brackin Schwartz & Associates

3:45: Guided Whiskey Taste of Texas with Daniel Whittington, Chancellor Wizard Academy
Daniel Whittington of the Wizard Academy and Spencer Whelan of the Texas Whiskey Association take us through a tasting of Texas Whiskey’s and discuss Texas’s award-winning Whiskeys, both innovative and traditional.

4:30 pm: The Future of the Industry – Next Battle Grounds from 87th Session to 2030
What will the future hold for the Three Tier System in Texas over the next decade? We address industry models in other states, long term changes in consumer demand that will influence the Three Tier System in Texas, possible updates to taxation and regulation, and look at how delivery and direct to consumer may affect onsite and retail buying.
Representative Chris Paddie, Greg Lamantia, L&F Distributors, Chris Brundrett, William Chris, Rick Donley, The Beer Alliance of Texas, Joanna Salinas, Still Austin Whiskey Co., and moderator Mia McCord, TCCRI 

Saturday, November 7

*Executive Meeting and Board Meeting - Hudson's on Mercer 

*By Invitation