Deep In The Hearts of Texas Wine Retailers is Fear
Is it really possible that Texas wine retailers are attempting to kick out Total Wines & More from operating in their state by attempting to re-open a two decade old lawsuit that ended by the courts telling that state that its requirement that liquor stores be owned only by residence is unconstitutional?
This would amount to Texas wine retailers, operating under the auspices of the Texas Package Store Association, attempting to protect themselves from competition? Could that possibly be? Texans? Those free market, freedom loving folks?
Well, it turns at that following a decision by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals this yea that Missouri’s residency requirement for wholesalers was constitutionally find and dandy has indeed spurred on the Texas Package Store Association to as for reconsideration of this old lawsuit concerning residency for liquor stores that back in the day went under the name, “The Baby Dolls Case”.
Why reconsider now? Well, it’s not just a matter of another court having a different take on the protectionist residency requirement issue. It also turns out that Total Wines & More has recently and successfully opened up a number of stores in Texas. Total Wines isn’t owned by Texans, but rather by that dreaded species of people known as Marylanders. It also turns out that Total Wine serves the wine consumers better than most of the members of the Texas Package Store Association and to combat their betters, these Texas wine retailers are now looking for the courts to save their butts.
But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there are principles at work here.
According to Lance Lively (Yes, that is his name), executive director of the Texas Package Store Association, “We think this is a states’ rights issue.”
“States’ Right”. Whenever you hear someone justify something by referencing “states’ rights”, you can bet they are either looking to protect themselves from having to operate on a level playing field or they want to keep lunch counters safe for white folk. We will have to see how this one plays out.
In the mean time, Ed Cooper, a spokesperson for Total Wine has his own thoughts on the move by the Texas Package Store Association: “There are retailers in Texas who don’t want competition. It boggles the mind that people in a state with a governor who is constantly saying the state is open for business will do something so anti-competitive.”
Ed is being nice. Despite the reputation of Texas, it is the home to the most aggressive effort by liquor folks (both retailers and wholesalers) to use their friends in the legislature and in the courts to stifle competition and save the marketplace for lazy elements of the trade that think competition is a dirty word and fear it like they fear the liberating wind of consumer choice. These elements have regularly opposed winery-to-consumer shipping, retailer to consumers shipping, private labels, and now out-of-state retailers who have proven themselves to be the real friends of consumers.
This move against Total Wine & More as well as against a modern market place is more of the same.