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Distillers: 33% of Texas distilleries face closure if state laws don't change

"We're not asking for a handout we're asking to remove the handcuffs that the distilleries have been operating under," the Texas Whiskey Association said.

Inside a building older than prohibition stands a business, going through its own dry spell.

"Our sales have gone down some 75% and once the market caught up on sanitizer we didn't have any more of those sales either," Maverick Whiskey General Manager Ken Fey said.

Like most of the distilling industry, Maverick Whiskey stepped up and provided hand sanitizer for those in need but, as the sanitizer market caught up with demand not much, has moved from their shelves.

"We fall prey to the 51% rule filing into the category of a bar as its currently configured," Fey said. "So that's been a bad situation for us."

A bad situation Fey says is only made worse because of Texas laws.

Currently, distilleries are only allowed to sell two bottles per person every 30 days and distilleries are not allowed to ship directly to customers; distillers say Texas is the largest state in the country that still has that restriction.

"We're not asking for a handout we're asking to remove the handcuffs that the distilleries have been operating under that have only been exacerbated by COVID-19," Spencer Whelan, the Texas Whiskey Association executive director said. 

The organization tells KENS 5 they have sent thousands of letters asking for an easement on the restrictions.

"None of the letters have been responded to by the Governor's office yet," Whelan said.

Radio silence that hits distillers all over. As they all try to navigate a moment in history they hope doesn't repeat itself.

"It hurts a bit for sure," Dennis Rylander, the owner of Ranger Creek Brewing and Distillery said.

KENS 5 did reach out to the Governor's Office for comment on this matter and have yet to hear back.

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