Texas is a place known for freedom, so it really stands out when other states have freedoms that we do not. One thing that really chaps my hide is that I cannot buy whiskey from a distillery and have it shipped to my house.
One of my favorite things to do is buy whiskey from boutique distilleries that may have a small footprint. Not all of it is good, but it's a way to get a whiskey that's very limited for a reasonable price. I also like to get distillery-only selections that you can’t get in your local liquor store.
How do I do it? The only way is to either go to the location of the distillery, which could be anywhere in the US or the world, or have it shipped. Makes sense, right? Wrong!
Texas does not allow you to ship liquor from a distillery. This is part of the good ol' boy's club that's set up in the state of Texas. Texas forces you to go through an in-state retailer. The Texas Tribune goes over the whole thing here. The only way to get liquor from the retailer is if it's shipped to a distributer that has a license to distribute in Texas. A small out-of-state distillery is not going to have a license to sell to an in-state distributer, so you're back to driving all over the US if you want to get something special to bring back home.
So why does Texas do this? Texas does this to protect the retailers. If you can buy directly from the out-of-state distillery, then you will not buy from retailers at a markup. It's the same reason you can’t buy liquor from Costco or Walmart. A liquor retailer can’t be owned by a company; it must be owned by an individual. It's also why you don't see liquor stores open on Sunday. If they were open on Sunday, then all the retailers would need workers on Sunday, and that would cost more money. It's all wrapped around this crazy concept of keeping small liquor store owners safe.
The problem is that it hurts the consumer. You'll have to pay more out of your pocket because you must pay the distillery, the distributor, and the retailer their share of the profits before you can take your liquor home. It also means you can’t get a lot of whiskeys from out of the state. This needs to change in Texas.
So the next time an out-of-state friend visits with one of the best whiskeys you've ever tasted but you can't get it here, call your state representative and tell them you want a change. The whole Texas process protects the retailer at the expense and freedom of the consumer.