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Booze To-Go: San Antonio Foodies Can Now Take That Beer, Wine, or Mixed Drinks On The Go

Posted by 
Rick Martinez
Rick Martinez
 2021-05-14

It's official! Alcohol to-go becomes the new norm in Texas

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Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott made it official this week by signing off on House Bill 1024. This now allows restaurants to sell alcohol along with pickup and delivery orders.

"It turned out that Texas liked (alcohol to go) so much, the Texas Legislature wanted to make that permanent law in the state of Texas," Gov. Abbott said this week.

And on Thursday, May 12, it became official. Alcoholic drinks are now permanently available to-go in Texas.

As the pandemic began in 2020, Abbott had signed an executive order allowing "alcohol to-go" and then extended it indefinitely. 

The waiver was part of an effort to keep bars and restaurants afloat, one of the few silver linings to come out of a challenging year for Texas bars and restaurants — as many had closed or were at a reduced capacity.

Historically in Texas, people were not allowed to sell alcohol on Sundays in liquor stores. A law was later made to remove this rule. The beat towards making it more accessible indeed goes on.

Abbott's approval shouldn't come as a surprise, however. During January's celebration of National Beer Can Appreciation Day, the Governor tweeted a picture of himself holding a Dos Equis and saying, "Stay thirsty, my friends."

The new, permanent alcohol-to-go option could benefit the restaurant industry after it has faced an excruciating year during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the Texas Restaurant Association, 700,000 restaurant employees in Texas lost their jobs in the early days of the pandemic. Thousands of Texas restaurants have closed.

"Gov. Abbott's emergency waiver allowing alcohol to-go during the pandemic saved thousands of restaurant jobs, creating a new revenue stream and unleashing the innovation that restaurants will need to rebuild from the pandemic," said Emily Williams Knight, Texas Restaurant Association CEO, in a release. "We still have a long road to recovery ahead, but with tools like alcohol to-go, the restaurant industry's future is brighter than ever in Texas." 

Places with mixed-bev permits and who also have a kitchen on-site will have the ability to sell mixed alcoholic drinks to-go and must abide by the following rules and guidelines:

  • The drinks have to be made at the restaurant or bar
  • The mixed drinks have to be sealed at the restaurant or bar with the name of the business and states that it is an "alcoholic beverage" 
  • The drinks mjust be put into bags that are closed with a zip tie
  • The mixed drinks can only be sold with food
  • The mixed drinks can't be placed in the passenger areas of vehicles 
  • There is no size regulation for the mixed drinks
"This new law will help businesses keep their doors open and ensure Texans keep their jobs," TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles said. "TABC is grateful to Governor Abbott and members of the Texas Legislature for their leadership on this critically important measure. And a big thank you goes out to the efforts of alcohol retailers who have been safely and responsibly selling alcohol to go under last year's waiver."

Restaurants with a food and beverage certificate and either a mixed beverage permit or a private club registration from TABC may sell beer, wine, and cocktails with food orders purchased for pickup or delivery, which also means third-party deliveries are allowed under this waiver too.

Companies such as GrubHub, Doordash, and Favor. 

The bill requires that all alcoholic beverages be sealed either in their original, manufacturer-created container or a tamper-proof vessel that's labeled with the business' name and the words "alcoholic beverage." 

According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, the legislation passed overwhelmingly in the Texas Legislature and goes into immediate effect, making Texas the 10th state to make alcohol to-go permanent.

References:

>> TABC website

>> Texas state website, HB 1024

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