Beer distribution bill and its impact on local distributors

WICHITA FALLS, TX - In a story we've been following, a new law will force breweries producing more than 40,000 barrels to use a distributor to deliver their beer. However, it's still unclear what the economic impact, if any, will be. At least one Wichita Falls distributor believes the new legislation could lead to potentially more jobs in the industry.

"We sell about 5 million cases of beer annually so we go through a lot of beer," said Jody Fisher of Fisher 59 Beer Distributors in Wichita Falls.

Working in the distributing business is a job that takes a lot of man power. Fisher said they have 55 employees that work out of their warehouse and a total of 250 that service the entire North Texas area. The warehouse is packed to the ceiling with 30-days worth of cases from big and small beer brands.

"So, we are part of The Beer Alliance of Texas. They are our advocates or voice down in Austin to help maintain the balance of the state political and regulatory system," said Fisher.

According to Texans For Public Justice, the Beer Alliance of Texas spent over $700,000 on political candidates and action committees before Governor Greg Abbott signed a new distribution regulatory bill (H.B. 3287) into law.  Fisher believes more regulation of the beer industry is not only good for distributors, but also for those who enjoy a drink from their favorite brewer.

"Meaning they are like milk, so they start to go out of date as soon as they are brewed. As a distributor, we make sure that everything is in date and safe for the public. That's where I think it's going to be beneficial for both the brewer and the public," said Fisher.

It's possible that consumer demand for more diverse and craft beers could lead to more production which could also lead to more distribution.  Fisher said that could have the potential to lead to more jobs in her warehouse and throughout the state.

"Those are the customers that are really exciting to get to because that is a whole untapped new market.  If we have a blockbuster success hit, then we have to increase our staffing.  It just depends," said Fisher.

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