Texas law requires that anyone selling alcohol in Texas hold a Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) license. Out-of-state retailers, which includes any business that buys and resells alcoholic beverages (i.e. wine shops, not wineries), are not eligible to obtain a TABC license. Now TABC is providing FedEx and UPS with lists of out-of-state retailers who have recently shipped wine into Texas illegally. Both UPS and FedEx have policies that prohibit customers from using their service to ship wine without authorization from the origin and destination states. The shipping companies notified the listed retailers that shipping wine without the proper authority violates their agreement and puts the business’ relationship with the large shipping companies at risk.

TABC will continue to provide UPS and FedEx with monthly lists of unlicensed retailers shipping wine into Texas until the illegal shipments stop. They also plan on contacting the ABC in the retailers home state and notifying them of the violations.

Texas does have a permitting process for in-state and out-of-state wineries to ship directly to Texas consumers. To date, there are more than 200 wineries in Texas, 800 wineries in California, and 200 other domestic wineries that hold a permit to ship to Texans.

TABC’s move is part of the continuing story of the state’s battle against direct shipments of alcohol from out-of-state. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court declined to review an appellate court decision, Wine Country Gift Baskets v. Steen, which held that TABC is not required to offer a permit to out-of-state retailers. According to the appeals court, the Interstate Commerce Clause and the Granholm decision intend to prevent discrimination against out of state producers and products, which means states can’t discriminate against out-of-state wineries, but that does not protect out-of-state retailers, who only resell the product.

More information on the TABC permitting process is available on their website.


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