HOUSTON -

A federal appeals court is allowing a trade group representing Texas liquor store operators to join a stalled federal lawsuit that Wal-Mart has filed against the Texas agency that dispenses permits to sell liquor by the bottle.
    
The giant retailer wants to get into the business of selling liquor in Texas, but contends restrictions on package liquor licenses, some dating to the end of Prohibition, handed out by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission amount to unconstitutional discrimination.
    
A trial set for next month in Austin got sidetracked when the judge refused to allow the Texas Package Stores Association, representing about 2,500 existing liquor store retailers, to get involved in the case.
    
Last week, a federal appeals court OK'd the trade group's presence, saying the outcome could affect its members.
    
The liquor industry in Texas generated nearly $14 billion in sales in 2014.