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Wal-Mart Takes TABC To Court In Effort To Sell Spirits In Texas

February 13, 2015

Wal-Mart, the largest retailer of beer and wine in Texas, is taking the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) to court in an effort to sell spirits in the state. Yesterday, Wal-Mart filed suit against the TABC in the U.S. District Court in Austin to challenge the state laws prohibiting publicly traded companies from selling spirits in Texas.

“Wal-Mart would like to sell spirits at its Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club locations in Texas. However, it is forbidden from doing so because Texas law irrationally forbids any publicly traded corporation from owning or holding the permit needed to do that, i.e., a ‘package store permit,’” reads the complaint filed by Wal-Mart. The retailer also takes issue with the fact that publicly traded hotel chains are “irrationally” exempted from the ban, allowing them to sell spirits at hotel gift shops.

In its complaint, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart also argues against the TABC’s five-store limit and its loopholes, saying that even if the ban against publicly-traded companies was lifted, it wouldn’t be able to sell spirits at more than five of its stores in Texas, because of the prohibition on companies retaining more than five package store permits. Wal-Mart says the exception on the five-store limit for family-held businesses is unfair.

Wal-Mart currently operates approximately 550 stores in Texas, and claims that it’s the largest non-government employer in the state.

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