State lawmaker wants ‘canned cocktails’ sold at grocery stores

A woman shops at a grocery store in this undated photo. (Courtesy: Jeremy Smith/Pixabay)

A Texas lawmaker has introduced a bill to allow liquor-based, ready-to-drink products to be sold in grocery stores.

State law currently only allows beer- and wine-based RTDs to be sold in grocery or convenience stores in the state.

The bill was filed by Rockwall Republican Rep. Justin Holland, who called it a “common-sense reform that will modernize Texas laws to provide fair treatment for spirits-based RTD cocktails.”

Holland and other supporters of the measure, including distillery interests in the state, say the alcohol content of liquor-based drinks is no higher than wine and beer RTDs, and in some cases, even lower.

Liquor-based RTDs in Texas can only be purchased at a package liquor store.

“In Texas, beer and wine-based RTDs can be sold in more than 30,000 locations, including grocery and convenience stores,” Holland said. “Meanwhile, spirits RTDs with the same or lower amounts of alcohol can only be sold in 3,200 locations. My bill closes this loophole, providing economic opportunity to tens of thousands of Texas businesses.”

The prospects of the bill are not known, but the push for the new rule is probably connected to the fact liquor-based RTDs are the fastest-growing segment of the distillery industry.

“As someone from Texas, I know how frustrating it can be to have to go from store to store simply to purchase my favorite canned cocktails when I can easily buy similar beer or wine products at grocery and convenience stores already,” said Chris Swonger, president and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.

The House bill, filed earlier this month, is HB2200.

To find a comprehensive list of bills filed — and the status of those bills — visit and click the 88th Texas Legislative Session tab, which has an interactive spreadsheet and a comprehensive list of AIM Media Texas’ legislative coverage.