Apparently there was a lot of bottled-up demand for hard liquor sales in far north Fort Worth.
At least eight liquor stores have opened in Tarrant County Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 since voters approved packaged spirits sales in that area in November. The precinct covers a portion of Northeast Tarrant County that includes far north Fort Worth, the cities of Haltom City and Watauga and parts of Hurst and North Richland Hills.
According to Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission records, the permits have been issued to liquor stores within about a three-mile radius, roughly bordered by U.S. 377, Interstate 35W, Loop 820 and Heritage Trace Parkway.
And a ninth store is on the way. Total Wine & More plans to open a large store in Alliance Town Center, at the former site of a Hobby Lobby. Construction is underway to revamp the site, and signs in front of the building at 3103 Texas Sage Trail invite passers-by to inquire at the company’s website about job openings.
“We hope to open the Alliance store in mid-November,” Total Wine spokesman Edward Cooper said in an email. “That store will be Total Wine & More’s 10th store in DFW and 25th store in Texas.”
In Tarrant County, the company also has locations in Fort Worth’s Hulen area and Arlington.
The state records may not reflect other liquor stores that plan to open, TABC spokesman Chris Porter said.
“TABC generally doesn’t have record of a new store opening until we receive the application,” he said. “In many cases, it can take a few weeks for an applicant to get local approval before TABC receives their application on the state side. During this time, the “60-day” sign (large white sign giving notice of an application) would be on display at the business.”
Stores already open in far north Fort Worth include three on North Beach Street: Liquor Den, Reggis Liquor and US Liquor. There are also two on Basswood Boulevard: American Liquor and Liquor Depot.
GG’s Convenience Store and the Liquor Outpost are located on Western Center Boulevard, and Tarrant Liquor Inc. is located on North Tarrant Parkway, near Park Vista Boulevard.
Total Wine & More, a Maryland-based company with about 165 locations nationwide, is one of several liquor superstores that have entered the market in recent years as more cities have approved liquor sales. Last summer and fall, the company led a petition drive to get a question on the November ballot allowing liquor sales.
But instead of going to each city to seek approval for package stores, this time supporters formed a political action committee known as J.P. 1 Citizens for Total Wine & More and took advantage of a state law that allows voters in a county J.P. precinct, which crosses multiple city limits, to cast ballots on the measure.
Nearly two-thirds of voters in Precinct 1 approved the package sales.
Now that the law has passed, liquor stores can open in those cities without permission of each city council, although the stores must comply with local zoning ordinances.
A similar measure that would have allowed liquor sales in Grapevine failed in November after local leaders loudly opposed it, saying it would hurt the city’s boutique wine industry. But liquor stores are located nearby in Colleyville.
Texans drink 3 million gallons of hard liquor per month, according to TABC. That’s the equivalent of 384 million shots of whiskey.
A decade or two ago, many cities in Northeast Tarrant County were “dry” — meaning alcohol wasn’t sold. But during the past 20 years or so, laws were relaxed to allow restaurants to serve beer, wine and mixed drinks. Then, convenience stores and supermarkets were allowed to sell beer, followed by wine.
And now, the stronger alcohol is legal in most places, too.
This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.