Distillery group calling on lawmakers to 'Boot the Ban'

Thousands of bottles of distilled spirits roll off a  labeling line at Still Austin on any given day, but walking out of the South Austin business with a bottle on a Sunday is against the law.  

It’s a rule Still Austin co-founder Joanna Salinas doesn’t think is fair.

"Having to tell the consumer, no, when they want to buy your product, that’s hard," said Salinas.

To change the law,  Salinas Thursday hosted a kick-off of a campaign called "Boot the Ban".

"It makes it really a struggle for a new business like ours," said Salinas to the group that came to the event. 

The focus of Boot the Ban" is SB 1013. The Bill would allow distilleries and package stores to let customers buy and leave with their product after a Sunday visit, but only if that's approved by a local referendum.

"The business model has changed," said Chris Swonger. 

Swonger is with the Distilled Spirits Council. The group was involved in organizing the "boot the ban" campaign.



"Texas is a great free-market state, and this old aged blue law doesn’t fit for the economic vitality of the state going forward," said Swonger. 

 Ironically, the most vocal opposition to the legislation is coming from the Texas Package Stores Association. 

In a policy statement the organization posted:

 "If we have to open on Sunday, causing overhead to go up, it will drive the cost of the product up. Given overhead costs and minimal profits, Sunday liquor sales are bad for small businesses and bad for Texas."

A hearing has taken place in a Senate committee, but there has been no vote to move SB 1013 forward. The legislation only has a few more days left to get out of committee. 

To help save the bill, one special billboard has been created: a very fast billboard. 

A race car is wrapped in the campaign logo and will run at the Circuit of the Americas on Saturday. 

The Infinity Series car is owned by Sam Hunt.

"I like to go to church on Sundays but I also like a cold beer in the afternoon, so I think that they just need a fair shake to be able to do what they do and be successful especially on one of the most popular days of the week for beer sales," said Hunt.

Supporters of "Boot the Ban" say regardless of what happens on the race track Saturday the finish line for them remains at the state Capitol at end of the month, which is when the Legislation has to move out of committee.