Distilled Spirits Council Calls on Texas Legislature to Bring State Distilled Spirits Laws into the 21st Century

The Distilled Spirits Council called on the Texas Legislature to modernize state laws governing distilled spirits to promote competition and economic growth.

The Texas Sunset Advisory Commission today approved recommendations to the 86th Texas Legislature on changes to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code.

“Even though more than 80 years have passed since the end of Prohibition, Texas in many ways still regulates the beverage alcohol industry as if we are still living in the 1930s,’’ said Dale Szyndrowski, vice president of the Distilled Spirits Council. “While the Sunset Commission took some steps to bring Texas into the 21st century, we still have far to go.”

The Sunset commission was created by the Legislature in 1977 under the Texas Sunset Act to make state government more efficient, effective and accountable. The Sunset commission, composed of legislators and public members, periodically evaluates a state agency’s mission and performance to determine if the agency is still needed and to explore ways to ensure the state funds are well spent.

“The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code is filled with outdated and often-contradictory provisions that serve no purpose than to restrict competition and protect entrenched special interests,’’ Szyndrowski said. “From protectionist and unconstitutional ownership restrictions for package stores and murky trade regulations to antiquated ‘blue laws’’ banning the retail sale of spirits on Sundays, Texas laws remain severely outdated and need reform.

“Texas lawmakers have an opportunity to modernize Texas spirits laws this year. By establishing a modern framework to promote a free and fair market, state lawmakers will encourage competition, innovation and economic growth to the benefit of all Texans,’’ Szyndrowski said.

The Distilled Spirits Council is recommending key changes in state law, including: removing unconstitutional ownership restrictions for package stores; repealing antiquated “blue laws” that ban the retail sale of distilled spirits on Sundays; and updating trade practices for distilled spirits to treat all industry players fairly.