HUDSON BEND, Texas - Infamous Brewing Company, a taproom and brewery in Hudson Bend, printed Gov. Greg Abbott’s office number on their latest batch of beer.
In June, Abbott issued an executive order closing down bars and “similar establishments” holding TABC permits, as well as restaurants that rely on alcohol for more than 51 percent of their sales.
The order forced many businesses to close their doors. Some have jumped through hoops to re-open. Many bars have re-zoned as restaurants. The Infamous Brewing Company is technically only open for to-go beverages, no one is allowed inside their taproom.
However, customers can enjoy their beverages in a common area in the business park located next to the brewery and taproom. The common area is being rented out by their neighbor, Lakeway Plumbing.
Infamous Brewing Company co-founder, Josh Horowitz says he would like to see Abbott independently categorize breweries, taprooms, wineries, distilleries, bars and restaurants and stop using food as criteria.
“That doesn't make any sense to me. Why does [food] have anything to do with anything? My product, what we create, what we work so hard for is beer. I'm not a restaurant, I don't make food and to expect that I have to go purchase another item in order to sell what I want to sell -- that doesn't make any sense.” Horowitz said, adding “most of my space is outside, so why should I be shutdown?”
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Sales manager Kenna Moreland says brewery taprooms and bars are different.
“[Taprooms are] to sit down and actually enjoy the beverage that was handmade,” she said. “It’s not about the party. It's about interacting with the friends that you're with and the experience of actually consuming the alcohol.”
Taproom manager Christinia “CeCe” Rogers says brewery taprooms have health department rules that are “more extreme than restaurants and bars.”
“We produce everything onsight. We bottle everything on site, so we feel that we should be allowed to be open,” Rogers said.
In July, the company started a postcard writing campaign. More than 500 people have written a postcard to Abbott’s office “from” the Infamous Brewing Company.
"Governor Abbott, I have seen better social distancing at breweries, wineries than any grocery store and megastore I've visited. You are being unfair and you know it." read one postcard.
Another read, “I don't dislike you, but I'm not okay with what is going on. Save our businesses.”
“If it wasn't for our customers that love us there's no point in us being here at all. So it feels great that they support us and feel the same way,” said Moreland.
Rogers says the business has received a great deal of support for the campaign, noting that many people think “it’s just hilarious that we did it.” “Let him [Abbott] hear your voices. We've already sent emails and letters and phone calls,” she said.
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