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Texas Raises Retail Liquor License Limit

June 17, 2019

Texas governor Greg Abbott has signed into law a measure that vastly expands the number of retail liquor licenses an individual may own in the Lone Star State. Under the new law, which takes effect September 1, individuals may hold up to 250 retail liquor licenses in Texas, and add up to 15 new permits a year.

Previously, individuals could own only five licenses, with two exceptions: permits owned before May 1, 1949 were not subject to the cap; and there was a “consanguinity exception” under which a package store owner’s closest blood relative could obtain additional permits and consolidate them under the owner’s permit. The exceptions have now been eliminated.

Under the exceptions, retail chains have already proliferated across Texas despite the five license cap, with Spec’s, Total Wine, and Twin Liquors boasting dozens of locations statewide. While the new law opens up Texas to further chain activity, publicly traded companies like Walmart, Costco, Walgreens, Kroger, and others still may not sell spirits in the state. Walmart has been fighting to overturn that ban through the court system.—Daniel Marsteller

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