The Tipped-Wage Beer in Texas

Something odd is brewing in Texas.

Oasis Texas Brewing Company will release a new pale ale named “$2.13” on January 26th to “bring awareness to the fact that these servers and bartenders in the service industry are making $2.13 an hour,” according to the owners. But don’t misunderstand their intentions: Oasis doesn’t want to raise tipped minimum wages because they understand that small businesses already struggle with a high cost of labor.

Highlighting the tipped wage could mislead Texas beer-drinkers since servers and bartenders don’t make $2.13 an hour—in Texas or any other state with a tipped wage. Federal and state laws require all employees to earn at least the relevant minimum wage in their tips and base pay. For those who do not, employers are legally obligated to make up the difference.

That doesn’t seem to be a problem for tipped employees. In states that follow the federal standard, tipped employees average over $13 an hour with tips included. Many earn much more than than; in Houston, for instance, a server’s average compensation with tips is reportedly near $50,000.

Oasis understands the consequences of mandating higher wages, and stands against it. But the potentially-confusing message behind their “$2.13” ale could mislead their customers. At least Texans get a good beer out of it all.