Texas distilleries push for end to Sunday sales prohibition

Texas Politics

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Weekends are busy — in a good way — at Still Austin Whiskey Co.
Customers can tour the 10,000 square-foot distillery in south Austin and sample the Straight Bourbon Whiskey. But the distillery can only partially capitalize on the foot traffic.

“On Sundays, we’re allowed to be open. We’re allowed to give tours. We’re allowed to have people come in and sample our product and have a drink but if they’ve enjoyed it and want to leave with a bottle, they can’t,” Still Austin co-founder Joanna Salinas told KXAN.

House Bill 937, sponsored by state Rep. Richard Raymond of Laredo, would dismantle Texas’ remaining “blue laws” and allow distilleries and liquor stores to sell their products seven days a week — a step distillery owners say is necessary after a difficult financial year caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Last year, Gov. Greg Abbott allowed restaurants to sell alcohol to-go to help alleviate some of the financial pressures of the pandemic. Restaurants are not blocked from selling mixed drinks to-go on Sundays.

The Texas House passed a bill in March to make the rule permanent.

“As a young business, turning away someone who wants to buy your product is hard,” Salinas said.

A separate bill would lift a restriction that prevents distilleries from selling more than two bottles to a single person within 30 days.

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