Texas Governor Signs Bill to Relax Limits on Liquor Store Ownership

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott today signed into law historic legislation that will promote a free and fair market for liquor store ownership in the Lone Star State.

Abbott signed  HB 1545, sponsored by Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, and Rep. Chris Paddie, R-Marshall, that authorizes the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to continue operating through 2031. The measure includes a provision that strikes down anti-competitive loopholes that limited liquor store ownership. 

Under the new law, which takes effect September 1, the cap on the number of liquor store permits an individual can own is raised from five to 250 while closing longstanding loopholes. 

Previous Texas law limited 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.

“This historic action goes a long way toward modernizing Texas laws that govern the distilled spirits industry,’’ said Dale Szyndrowski, vice president of the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. “By eliminating anticompetitive and unconstitutional loopholes that stifled competition, Texas is providing a more level playing field for liquor store ownership while providing more choices for consumers and businesses.’’

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. 

 

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