In Texas we believe in freedom and free markets. But when it comes to the sale of your favorite distilled spirits, we have some of the most antiquated and restrictive laws in the country. Texas’ draconian blue laws ban certain businesses from selling spirits seven days a week. These archaic laws no longer serve a public interest, undermine business freedom and eliminate consumer choice.

Click here to contact Governor Abbott and your legislators to tell them it’s time to allow Lone Star State consumers the convenience of 7-day alcohol sales and to update Texas’ outdated laws to promote a free market and equal treatment for distilled spirits, beer and wine.

It’s time to Modernize Texas Spirits and #FreeTheCocktailsTX!

The Texas Senate and House of Representatives have overwhelmingly approved historic legislation that strikes down a decades-old anticompetitive and unconstitutional loophole limiting liquor store ownership that will promote a free and fair market in Texas.

The Legislature approved HB 1545, sponsored by Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, and Rep. Chris Paddie, R-Marshall, that would authorize the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to continue operating through 2031 as part of its sunset review process. The measure included a provision that raises the cap on the number of liquor store permits an individual can own from five to 250 while closing longstanding loopholes.

Current Texas law limits the number of liquor store – or package store – permits a person can own to five with two exceptions or loopholes: • If the permits were owned before May 1, 1949. • The “consanguinity” exception that allows a package store owner’s closest blood relative to obtain additional permits and then consolidate the permits under the owner’s permit.

Birdwell said the legislation “brings a level playing field and free market approach to the issuance of package store permits.’’

“For far too long we have been unable to write good alcohol policy into law given the challenges that we’ve faced in both chambers. It is for this reason the TABC sunset bill has now become the only opportunity to update our archaic alcohol and beverage code,’’ Birdwell said. “The alcohol and beverage industry is not larger than the people of the state of Texas and it is for this reason that it is critical that we seize this moment and act on behalf of the people of Texas.’’

The bill is awaiting consideration by Gov. Greg Abbott.

“This historic action by the Legislature represents one of the most significant reforms of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code since the 1930s,’’ said Dale Szyndrowski, vice president of the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. “For generations, Texas law has unfairly granted some families the ability to own an unlimited number of liquor stores while restricting others to a maximum of five. By closing this loophole, Texas lawmakers took strong steps toward modernizing the state’s antiquated liquor laws while signaling Texas is open for business.’’

The consanguinity provision was ruled unconstitutional by U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman in a March 2018 decision. The court concluded the consanguinity exception is inconsistent with the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The consanguinity exception is “unconstitutional because it extends a benefit (the right to have more than five package stores permits) to some persons while withholding it from others without a rational basis,” Pitman wrote.

“This action will go a long way toward promoting competition and a free market to benefit consumers and businesses in Texas,’’ Szyndrowski said.

The distilled spirits industry is a vital force in the Texas economy and supports more than 82,000 jobs and makes a $7.5 billion impact on the state’s gross domestic product.

Legislation introduced in the Texas Senate would remove a decades-old anti-competitive and unconstitutional limit on package store ownership and promote a free and fair market in Texas.

State Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, has introduced Senate Bill 645 that would remove the limit on package store ownership and the so-called “consanguinity loophole.”

Current Texas law limits the number of package store permits a person can own to five with two exceptions or loopholes:

  • If the permits were owned before May 1, 1949.
  • The “consanguinity” exception which allows a package store owner’s closest blood relative to obtain additional permits and then consolidate the permits under the owner’s permit.

“For generations, Texas law has unfairly granted some families the ability to own an unlimited number of package stores while restricting others to a maximum of five. This protectionist arrangement has enabled a handful of entrenched package store owners to dominate the market while restricting competition and, ultimately, choices for consumers,’’ said Dale Szyndrowski, vice president of the Distilled Spirits Council. “Texas laws should apply equally to all individuals, regardless of family lineage.’’

The provision was ruled unconstitutional by U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman in a March 2018 decision.  The court concluded that the consanguinity exception, is inconsistent with the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The consanguinity exception is “unconstitutional because it extends a benefit (the right to have more than five package stores permits) to some persons while withholding it from others without a rational basis,” Pittman wrote.

Szyndrowski said: “Removing this protectionist clause would go a long way to modernizing the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, which is littered with outdated provisions serving no purpose than to restrict competition and protect special interests.’’

“It’s time to establish a modern framework to promote a free and fair market in Texas to promote competition, innovation and economic growth.’’ Szyndrowski said.

The distilled spirits industry is a vital force in the Texas economy and supports more than 82,000 jobs and makes a $7.5 billion impact on the state’s gross domestic product.

Texans would have the opportunity to purchase their favorite distilled spirits from package stores on Sundays under new legislation introduced in the Texas Legislature.

State Rep. Richard Peña Raymond, D-Laredo, has introduced House Bill 1100 that would allow Texas package stores to open seven days a week. The legislation, if approved by the 86th Legislature, would repeal one of the remaining so-called “blue laws’’ in Texas.

“Allowing Sunday sales in Texas is long overdue. I’ve heard from many constituents – including small business owners – who have asked me to file this bill to let the free market be free,’’ Raymond said. “Now is the time for Texas to repeal this outdated law.”

HB 1100 would allow package stores to open between noon and 10 p.m. on Sundays and between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. on Monday through Saturday.

Dale Szyndrowski, vice president of the Distilled Spirits Council, said: “This legislation will go a long way toward modernizing the Texas marketplace and provide consumers the convenience they demand. Although Texas repealed most ‘blue laws’ on the books more than 30 years ago, the state still bans the retail sale of distilled spirits on Sundays.”

Today, 42 states allow the sales of spirits on Sunday. Texas already allows Sunday sales of all other alcohol beverages for all other retailers, including bars, restaurants, clubs, grocery and convenience stores and hotels.

In 2018, the Texas Republican Party at its convention in San Antonio included a provision in its platform urging the Texas Legislature to eliminate antiquated “blue laws.’’

“Consumers want to purchase spirits when they want and where they want. This legislation would bring the state in line with consumer buying preferences,’’ Szyndrowski said. “Texas lawmakers have an opportunity to bring state spirits laws into the modern age and promote a free and fair market to encourage competition, innovation and economic growth.’’

The distilled spirits industry is a vital force in the Texas economy and supports more than 82,000 jobs and makes a $7.5 billion impact on the state’s gross domestic product.

More and more states are rolling back outdated Sunday sales prohibitions — legacies of blue laws that once pervaded America. These archaic blue laws make no sense in a 21st-century economy, where Sunday is now the second busiest shopping day of the week.

42 states now allow Sunday sales of distilled spirits at retail outlets, BUT NOT Texas. It’s time to allow Lone Star State consumers the convenience of 7-day alcohol sales and to update Texas’ outdated laws to promote a free market and equal treatment for distilled spirits, beer and wine.

Modernize Texas Spirits and #FreeTheCocktailsTX!

TX closed for business Sundays

Texas consumers STILL can’t purchase their favorite spirits on Sundays due to our state’s antiquated blue laws. Check out this great Curious Texas report from the Dallas Morning News seeking an answer to the question Do ‘blue laws’ still exist in the Lone Star State?

Which vestiges of the old blue law remain?

While car dealerships can be open only one day of a weekend, there aren’t any other regulations on what you can and can’t buy in stores on Sundays.

Except liquor.

Liquor stores are still closed on Sundays, as well as New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. On normal Sundays, bars and restaurants can serve alcohol after noon, and grocery stores can sell beer and wine on Sunday afternoons as well.

Click here to contact Governor Abbott and your legislators to tell them it’s time to allow Lone Star State consumers the convenience of 7-day alcohol sales and to update Texas’ outdated laws to promote a free market for distilled spirits, beer and wine!