The people who are trying to sell hard liquor to hard Texans are upset.
They're petitioning the legislature, hoping to push Senate Bill 1216 (sponsored by Houston's Rodney Ellis), which would allow liquor-store owners to have more than five stores.
Right now, the only people who can own more than a handful of stores are those who were grandfathered in way, way back in the day. Like 1949.
"These archaic ownership restrictions limit small business growth by allowing only certain package store chains (those grandfathered in) to expand beyond five stores," Ben Jenkins of the Distilled Spirits Council tells Hair Balls. "The legislation simply removes the anti-competitive cap on package store ownership and would allow all package store owners to operate under the same set of laws."
Distilled Spirits Council VP Dale Szyndrowski spoke at a hearing in Austin this week.
A press release from the DSC said Szyndrowski noted "that Texas currently ranks 45th nationally in per capita spirits sales, compared to 13th in beer sales, [and he cited] the disparity in the number of retail outlets which greatly limits consumer convenience and choice. He testified that there are 110 beer outlets in Texas for every 100,000 adults, but only 14 spirits outlets for the same number of consumers."
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WHERE"S OUR GODDAMN VODKA? And cheap scotch?
The grandfather thing isn't the only legislation the DSC is pushing this session. They're also seeking to lift the Sunday ban on hard-liquor (sorry, "distilled spirits") sales, saying Texas is one of only 14 states with such a "prohibition-era ban," as they put it.
It's not all about the drinking, apparently: "Arkansas became the latest in a national trend of states repealing [Sunday] Blue Laws to generate revenue without raising taxes in this difficult economy," the DSC says.
It's the economy, stupid.