AUSTIN – On Friday, February 17, 2017, Twin Liquors, the state’s second largest liquor store chain opened its 81st Texas store by exploiting a discriminatory loophole in the law for the 76th time.
Although David Jabour, President of Twin Liquors, attributes the success of the chain to a “dedication to the customer,” the company’s expansion has been made possible by an anti-competitive provision in the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, which actually restricts consumer choice and unfairly shelters the chain from competition.
Since 1935, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code has limited the number of package store permits to no more than five per person. However, a glaring loophole in the law has allowed immediate family members of liquor store owners to consolidate their permits under a holding company and acquire an unlimited number of additional permits. As a result, a handful of families, including the Jabours, have amassed hundreds of liquor stores that dominate regional markets, while being sheltered from competition from small business owners who do not have immediate family members with whom to consolidate their permits.
“It is unacceptable that the Jabour family and a handful of other privileged families have established liquor store cartels that now dominate regional markets by taking advantage an anti-competitive loophole over and over again, while most individual liquor store owners are prohibited from expanding their operations beyond five stores,” said Travis Thomas, spokesman for Texans for Consumer Freedom (TCF).
Two bills have been filed to eliminate this anti-competitive provision of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code and end the preferential treatment given to some families over others, including SB 750 , filed by Senator Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury), and HB-1872, filed by Representative Phil King (R-Weatherford).
Thomas went on to say, “It is time for the State of Texas to stop the discriminatory practice of limiting access to the market based on an applicant’s family tree. Texas consumers and business owners deserve far better than this affront to free markets and fair competition.”