Horns Up for April 14: Tequila, new APD partnership, Bitcoin regulations in Texas and breweries win big


Horns Up: Texas Breweries win at World Beer Cup 

On Friday, eight Texas breweries won awards at the 2014 World Beer Cup in Denver. Among the winners were Kamala Brewing, Jester King Brewery, Austin Beerworks and Circle Brewing Co. from Austin; Community Beer Co. and Deep Ellum Brewing Co. from Dallas; Stormcloud, Rahr and Sons Brewing Co. from Forth Worth; and Saint Arnold Brewing Co. from Houston. A wide variety of beer styles were represented by the eight Texas breweries, with wins in categories ranging from herb and spice beer to German-style Schwarzbier, and from Belgian-Style Witbier to American-Style Dark Lager. A slew of beer-related laws passed in 2013, which expanded the ability of breweries to pack and sell beer on-site, proved that Texas can craft good regulatory schemes; now the rest of the nation knows that it can craft good beer too.

Horns Up: New Chinese Rules may Up Texas’ Tequila Trade

In June, negotiations between China and Mexico resulted in the Chinese tequila market reopening after a 10-year embargo on the product from the Chinese. Since that time, westernized Chinese cities have adopted the alcohol, and, as the Texas Tribune reported Thursday, if these trends continue, it could be a boon to Texas tequila producers. 

Horns Up: New APD partnership benefits the mentally ill

A new partnership between the Austin Police Department and mental health professionals from Austin Travis County Integral Care has allowed for better follow-up on cases involving mentally-ill individuals, according to a story published in the Austin American-Statesman on Saturday. Prior to the partnership, the APD was often unable to check in on potentially mentally-ill individuals involved in APD cases. With the help of the seven clinicians working directly with APD as part of the new effort, the department has been able to better connect these individuals with the proper mental health services. In a state like Texas, where conflicts between mentally-ill individuals and the police too often result in violent conflicts or unnecessary incarceration, partnerships like these are crucial. 

Horns Up: Texas takes steps toward regulating bitcoin

This month, the Texas Department of Banking outlined specific guidance on how Bitcoins will be regulated in Texas, making Texas one of the first states to offer any such regulation on the virtual currency. According to a memo from the state’s banking commissioner Charles Cooper, the virtual currency will be treated like property and not legal tender. The most basic reasoning behind this decision is that the virtual currency is not backed by the government of any country. Consequently, it cannot be exchanged for sovereign currency under the state’s financial code, and taxing it like legal tender wouldn’t be appropriate. Cooper’s guidance echoes that of the IRS, which is also taxing Bitcoins like property. Horns Up to Texas’ decision to acknowledge this new form of currency ahead of other states.