The lawsuit was filed last week and challenges the TABC on the “constitutionality of certain Texas statutes under the United States Constitution.” To sell liquor in Texas, you need to have a package store permit, which can only be obtained by privately traded entities. Since Wal-Mart is a huge, publically traded company, the store isn’t allowed to have one of these necessary permits.
There are also strict limits on how many package store permits a company can have. From the lawsuit:
Even if publicly traded corporations were allowed to sell distilled spirits to retail customers, Walmart is forbidden from owning or holding more than five package store permits because Texas law irrationally prohibits companies and persons from owning or holding more than five packages store permits.
Walmart and Sam’s Club combined are already the state’s largest wine and beer retailer. The company has 543 wine and beer retailer’s off-premises permits, which allow them to sell beer and wine. If Walmart were able to obtain the package store permit required for selling liquor in the state, it would have to first abandon all of these wine and beer permits because, according to Texas law, you can’t have both at the same time.
The lawsuit is a separate endeavor from Walmart’s recent lobbying efforts with the Legislature, but both cases have a common goal in mind: Walmart wants to start selling booze—hard booze—and some strict Texas statutes are cramping its style.
Texas hasn’t been known to budge when it comes to its liquor laws, but given Wal-Mart’s sheer size as a company, this lawsuit may have a fighting chance at changing permitting laws in the state. And just think of the convenience! You would be able to dash into a Wal-Mart package store for liquor and cheap mixers, before popping next door to the super center to grab bulk quantities of ibuprofen and Gatorade for the inevitable hangover, which is just about as convenient as it can get in Texas.