Walmart Is Making Another Big Push to Sell Liquor in Texas
You can get just about anything at Walmart, including wine and beer. But if you buy your Coke at a Wally World in Texas, you'll have to go up the road to a liquor store to get your Jack Daniels.
Why Can't Walmart Sell Liquor in Texas?
So, what's stopping Walmart from selling the hard stuff? The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's code forbids it.
A ban put in place in 1995 prevents some publicly traded companies from opening package stores.
Back in 2015, Walmart filed a lawsuit against the TABC arguing that the law is unconstitutional and discriminatory because it prohibits competition while allowing some publicly traded companies, such as hotel chains, to sell liquor.
Check out pages 12 and 13 of Alcoholic Beverage Code Chapter 22.
Walmart Tried to Get the Supreme Court Involved
In 2018, a federal judge actually threw Walmart a bone and agreed that the law was unconstitutional, but a federal court of appeals later said Walmart hadn't made a good enough case for discrimination.
The appeal, by the way, was brought by the Texas Package Stores Association. The Dallas Morning News reports that members of the TPSA argued that locally owned stores would be more accountable than big chains like Walmart. Wally's people said that was ridiculous.
In 2020, Walmart tried to take their case to the Supreme Court, but the SCOTUS declined to hear it.
Walmart Isn't Giving Up
Walmart isn't backing down, and the company has filed a lawsuit against the TABC. They argue they have just as much right to apply for a liquor license as any other business so they can fairly compete.
KCBD-TV reports that the President of the Texas Retailers Association and the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute see that competition as being good for consumers. They're behind Walmart 100% here.
Some argue that the 1995 law was put in place to protect small business owners, but I personally find that claim dubious considering that Walmart can sell just about everything under the sun. I mean, how many small electronics shops, boutiques, toy stores, and general stores has Walmart's business model stamped out over the years?
It was a competition, and Walmart had the advantage.
I Prefer Shopping Local But...
I'm all for supporting locally owned businesses. I refer to the big chains at "ubiquitous non-destinations", and try to spend my money with local businesses as often as I possibly can.
That said, I can kinda understand where Walmart is coming from when they argue that they're a company with just as much a right to compete in our market as anyone else.
I may not be thrilled about it, but I get it.
What if Walmart Wins?
The Dallas Morning News reports that Walmart would open liquor stores adjacent to their current buildings with separate entrances. I don't know if they'd be required to do that or if it's just a decision they've made as a company.
They'd still have to obey current laws that prohibit hard liquor sales on Sundays and holidays. Good luck challenging that one, Walmart.
Texas Recently Expanded Sunday Beer and Wine Sale Hours
In case you missed it, Texas is about to give you a little more time to buy beer and wine on Sundays.
Beginning September 1, you can make a beer run at 10 AM no a Sunday rather than wait for Noon. I guess that's handy if you're going to be cooking out and forgot to pick up your buddy's favorite brew the day before.
The liquor stores will still be closed, though. You'll have to order a hard drink at a restaurant or hotel.