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Can I Bottle Share at a Brewery or a Brewpub? Owners Reply

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Can I Bottle Share at a Brewery? Houston brewery and taproom owners weigh in.

 

Like anyone that’s big into craft beer, it takes almost no time at all to fill up your beer fridge. And even the best of us can’t drink everything we own by ourselves. Well, you shouldn’t, at least. So what to do?

 

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When it all began…

I remember my early days of craft beer and meeting up with a buddy once a week to kill that week’s shelfie purchases. It wasn’t until years later that I learned that what we were doing had an actual name… bottle sharing.

My early experience with bottle sharing was always at someone’s house. I mean, the fridge is RIGHT there, right?

But Houston is MASSIVE, and it’s not always possible to meet up at someone’s place. When the group of people is MASSIVE, and the bottle selection is even bigger, it’s that much more difficult. Can we bottle share at a brewery, though?

It turns out that sharing at breweries and draft houses is a possible solution.

Hold up, though; it’s not that simple. For a variety of reasons, you can’t just BYOB into any beer-serving establishment, even if you’re purchasing beer/food from them too.

Some places are cool with it, and others aren’t.

 

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Can we bottle share at a brewery? Owners weigh-in:

To find out which Houston-area places are open to bottle shares, we reached out directly to business owners. Here’s what we learned:

Excalibur Brewing: “Can I get a sip?” Well, that answers that.

Gordon Street Tavern: “My license does not allow for it. I would like to have bottle shares, but it is not lawful. Specifically, the Mixed Beverage Permit disallows the bottle share and no growlers of guest tap beers; only house taps can be growled/crowlered.”

Houston Cider: “I think for Houston Cider, we won’t have any bottle share discussions any time soon. We are very fortunate to have such great demand for both on and off-site consumption, but we would like to keep all of our customers and employees safe during these unknown times.”

Holler Brewing: “We’re good with it as long as it’s outside — preferably in the grassy ‘public’ area.”

Craft Beer Cellar Cypress: “We do allow sharing, but to make sure it is safe, we limit it to 2 items per person, and for them to be opened, they need to bring it our staff (lets us know how much everyone is having). As you mentioned, we are a business, and we would like to stay open. Since we don’t make anything on a share, we need those customers to make an equal or greater purchase.”

Fortress Beerworks: “Our brewery is your brewery. You guys are free to do whatever you want.”

Devil and the Deep: “We are totally cool with shares. We have hosted Beer Tasting Houston shares before, as well as informal get-togethers. People by and large are cool and still get a beer or soft drink from us. So that’s all good.”

Back Pew Brewing: “We do not allow bottle shares during open hours at the brewery. It causes too much confusion amongst patrons- we have a lot of families with lots of places to hide things, so we have a bad enough time trying to keep contraband out. If we opened up to allowing outside alcohol, it just would accentuate the issue.”

City Acre Brewing: “Unfortunately, we don’t allow bottle shares at our place. Due to the size of the property, we already have to be on our game to prevent people from sneaking in stuff in their bags, water bottles, etc. This has led to people getting overly drunk at our place, thus creating a potential liability for our bartenders, who are ultimately responsible for people’s consumption level in the eyes of the law. Having a bottle share lets less responsible customers feel they don’t have to follow the rules.”

Baa Baa Brewhouse: “Not sure what will happen when we are able to open the taproom again.” (At the time of our inquiry, taprooms were still closed, so things were TBD. If you want to share at Baa Baa, please contact them beforehand.)

Great Heights Brewing: “Unfortunately, bottle shares usually wind up causing more problems for the taproom than they’re worth. As you know, participants often get trashed, and it’s really hard for our staff to monitor that.”

Galveston Island Brewing: “We are open to bottle shares, but any bottle sharing needs to be run by the manager. My bartenders are trained to shut down outside alcohol coming in unless told otherwise.”

 

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Under the Radar: “We’re pretty flexible on bottle shares. We generally don’t care if people are sampling as long as they buy a few UTR items as well.”

11 Below Brewing: “We don’t allow it. You’re not really supposed to bring in outside alcohol to a place with a TABC permit for serving alcohol. It also sends really mixed messages to other customers that think it’s ok to bring in outside alcohol any ol’ time. On top of that, it’s extremely difficult for staff to monitor alcohol consumption when we aren’t pouring the products.”

BAKFISH Brewing: “The only bottle shares we allow are on our homebrew meetup night. Everything that is shared must be homebrew, and of course, we get to geek out about brewing while enjoying the homebrew.”

Klaus Brewing: “We normally don’t allow outside alcohol, but I would be ok with it as long as we got some business out of it and did it in a separate area (brewhouse, for instance) from the taproom as an ‘event’.”

True Anomaly: “Here at True Anomaly, we allow bottle shares, though we ask that they be coordinated through our events personnel. If it’s just a couple/few people, and it’s a bottle or two, then we don’t require a larger level of coordination, though we ask that you alert the bar staff so they can provide the appropriate guidance and controls given the day/time/etc. We do ask that in any form of bottle share, the participants purchase from True Anomaly, as well.”

Lone Pint: “It is my understanding that TABC does not allow other types of alcohol to be consumed on-premises. Therefore, we currently do not allow outside alcohol.”

B52 Brewing: “We are ok with bottle shares as long as it is approved ahead of time.”

Brew30 Taphouse: “We routinely held bottle shares prior to COVID. If a group wants to get together with a few bottles, we don’t normally mind as long as some beers are purchased. If it is a larger group, we’d like to get a heads up so we can pull tables together, etc. We’d again appreciate some purchases to help keep the doors open.”

Thistle Draftshop: “Yes, we are ok with it. During big events, we charge a $10 bottle fee. Generally speaking, there is a lot of bottle sharing going on, and we like to keep it under control.”

 

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Welp. There’s your answer. You can bottle share at a brewery. Sometimes. At some of them. With different rules.

So before you load up the cooler and head out for the day, check out our list above to make sure your plans are still solid. Plus, we’ve made a handy bottle sharing guide if you’re new to the game and want to bottle share at a brewery or anywhere else for that matter. If you’re good to go share, ALWAYS support the hosting location by purchasing beer, food, swag, etc.

If you don’t see your final destination on the list, be sure to hit them up on social before you go. I know they would appreciate it, and so would we.

Beers to you, Houston.


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Brent Topa
brent.topa@beerchronicle.com

Brent is originally from Ohio but has been in Houston for over 10 years. As an Aggie, musician, animal advocate, and Lego collector, he always has something going on. If you have an imperial stout, come find him. He'll want to add it to his insatiable beer spreadsheet.

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