We want our FAQs to be your resource for the most commonly asked questions about the alcoholic beverage industry in Texas. Don’t see your question answered here or on one of our other FAQ pages? Contact us.
These FAQs often refer to:
A malt beverage is a fermented beverage containing 0.5% or more of alcohol by volume that is brewed or produced from malt or a malt substitute. This includes both beer and ale.
Before state law consolidated beer and ale into malt beverages in 2021, beer and ale were separate classifications.
No. If the ownership of a business changes hands, the new owner must apply for their own license or permit. The license or permit cannot be transferred to the new owner.
Yes, but only upon approval of the TABC after the holder submits an application requesting such a change. A license to sell beer may only be transferred to a location within the county in which it was originally issued. A permit to sell liquor may be transferred to another location in Texas.
Yes, for any violation of the Alcoholic Beverage Code after a hearing before the State Office of Administrative Hearings and possible appeal. See Code sections 5.35, 11.61 and 61.71.
It takes about 45 to 60 days. This time can vary depending on the type of license or permit you’ve applied for and the certification required by the local governing authorities in the city and county of the proposed location. It can take longer than 60 days, so it’s important begin the application process as early as possible.
For help with the licensing process, please contact your local TABC office. They can walk you through the process, provide you with the forms you need and answer your questions.
This is what the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code allows city councils or county commissioners to do:
- Adopt a local ordinance prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages within 300 feet of a public or private school, church and/or public hospital. The distance from a school can be increased to 1,000 feet under certain circumstances. Code Section 109.33 specifies how the distance should be measured.
- Adopt ordinances requiring a 300-foot distance between certain types of permits and day-care centers or child-care facilities. See Code Section 109.331.
Local governments are not required to have these ordinances (the statute is merely permissive) and are free to grant variances as they see fit. If the city or county has not adopted such an ordinance, then there is no requirement that a location selling alcoholic beverages must be any specific distance from a church, school, public hospital, daycare center or child care facility.
Citations issued by TABC agents are essentially the same as speeding tickets. They are handled in a municipal or Justice of the Peace court, and the local officials collect the fines. As with all tickets, a small portion is remitted to the State of Texas but does not go to TABC’s budget.
- It is illegal to take any alcoholic beverage into a restaurant/bar that has a Private Club Permit or Mixed Beverage Permit (distilled spirits, beer and wine). You can't leave with an alcoholic beverage unless it’s a malt beverage produced by a brewpub, or you are leaving with a bottle of wine you bought with a meal and did not finish. See Alcoholic Beverage Code Section 28.10.
- It is legal to take alcoholic beverages into or out of a restaurant/bar that has a beer/wine permit (no distilled spirits), or an establishment that does not have a permit to sell alcohol. But the business may have their own rules against it. If the business allows you to bring your own alcoholic beverages onto their premises, they are allowed to charge you a fee. This is often called a "corkage fee," especially when it refers to a bottle of wine brought into a restaurant. Some bars also sell "set ups," which are cups of ice or soda that the customer buys and mixes with their own distilled spirits.
- Please view TABC’s Coronavirus Information page for current information about delivery and to-go transactions.
All alcoholic beverage retailers must post one of two Handgun Warning Signs. The two signs are based on the retailer’s percentage of alcohol sales:
- The blue sign allows for licensed carry on the location.
- The red sign prohibits the carry of a firearm (except by a commissioned peace officer) on the premises.
Visit the Sign Requirements page to learn more.
Yes. But to be truly “free,” it must be available to any adult who walks in the door and requests it. If it’s only available to paying customers, the assumption is that the cost of the alcohol is included in the price of the service. In this case, the retailer would be “selling” the wine, and a permit would be required. When the establishment provides the alcoholic beverage, there can’t be any expectation of receiving money. The establishment can’t ask for a “donation” or “tip.” If the alcoholic beverage will only be available to paying guests, the establishment will need a permit.
A peace officer may inspect the premises covered by a license or permit at any time without a search warrant to perform any duty imposed by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code. The premises include all of the grounds and related buildings, vehicles and appurtenances (items and accessories), as well as the adjacent premises under the control of the permittee or licensee when covered by the TABC license or permit.
In some cases, specific parts of the premises may be diagramed off the licensed premises and not subject to search without a warrant. A copy of the TABC-approved diagram must be publicly posted with the license or permit. If living quarters are located on the premises and have not been diagramed off the licensed premises, it is suggested that the officer get voluntary consent to search or secure a search warrant before searching this area.
If the minor is:
- Employed by a licensee or permittee.
- In the visible presence of an adult parent, guardian, or spouse or other adult who they have been committed to by a court.
- Under the immediate supervision of a commissioned peace officer engaged in enforcing the provisions of the Alcoholic Beverage Code. See Section 106.05.
Generally, no license/permit holder may employ someone younger than 18 to sell, prepare, serve or otherwise handle alcoholic beverages or help in doing so. The exceptions are:
- Package Store Permit (P): Must be 21 or older to work on premises in any capacity or to deliver alcohol off-premises. This age limit does not apply to someone who is employed by the person's parent or legal guardian to work in a package store owned by the parent or legal guardian.
- Retail Dealer’s Off-Premise License (BF): No minimum age (unless part of a wine-only package store).
- Wine and Beer Retailer’s Off-Premise Permit (BQ): No minimum age.
- Wine-Only Package Store Permit (Q): 16 years old in any capacity.
No person under 18 can be employed to sell, prepare, serve or handle alcoholic beverages or assist in doing so.
Unless they’re the minor's parent, legal guardian or adult spouse, any person who makes an alcoholic beverage available to a minor violates the law and is subject to criminal penalties. See Alcoholic Beverage Code Section 106.
However, there is a defense to prosecution if the minor falsely represents themselves to be 21 or older by displaying an apparently valid Texas driver's license or Department of Public Safety ID card with a physical description consistent with their appearance.
State law does not require that a person over 21 provide any ID to purchase alcohol in Texas. But since store clerks, wait staff and bartenders can be held criminally liable for selling to a minor, they often require a military, state or federal government-issued photo ID to prove their age.
Learn more on our Age Verification page.
Generally yes, if they do not possess or consume an alcoholic beverage. A minor may not enter the premises of a package store unless accompanied by an adult parent, spouse or guardian. A licensee or permittee may have a “house rule” that minors may not enter their licensed premises.
There is no minimum age for attending a seller/server training course. Depending on the type of permit held by the establishment, there may or may not be age limits for selling/serving alcohol. The limits are as follows:
- Off-premises license or permit (e.g., most grocery or convenience stores): no age restriction on employees.
- On-premises license or permit (e.g., bar or restaurant): employees must be 18 or older.
- Package store (liquor store): employees must be 21 or older.
- Wine-only package store (store that sells wine for off-premise consumption containing a higher alcohol content than your typical grocery store): employees must be 16 or older.
Hours of Sale and Consumption
On-premise license or permit (e.g., bar or restaurant):
- Monday – Friday: 7 a.m. – midnight
- Saturday: 7 a.m. – 1 a.m. (Sunday morning)
- Sunday: Noon – midnight (10 a.m. – noon only with the service of food)
- If the establishment is in a city or county legal for late hours and they have a late-hours permit, they can sell alcohol for on-premise consumption until 2 a.m. any night of the week.
Off-premise beer/wine license or permit (e.g., convenience store or grocery store):
- Monday – Friday: 7 a.m. – midnight
- Saturday: 7 a.m. – 1 a.m. (Sunday morning)
- Sunday: 10 a.m. – midnight
- A wine-only package store that holds a beer license may not sell wine containing more than 17% alcohol by volume on a Sunday or after 10 p.m. on any day.
- A wine-only package store that does not hold a beer license must have the same hours of sale as a package store.
Liquor store (also known as package store):
- Monday – Saturday: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
- Closed on Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
- If Christmas Day or New Year's Day falls on a Sunday, closed the following Monday.
- A sports venue is a public entertainment facility property that is primarily designed and used for live sporting events, as defined by Alcoholic Beverage Code Section 108.73.
- In addition to any other period when the sale of alcohol is authorized, a licensed or permitted premises located in a sports venue may sell alcoholic beverages between 10 a.m. and noon Sunday.
Festival, fair or concert:
- In addition to any other period when the sale of alcohol is authorized, a licensed or permitted premises located at a festival, fair or concert may sell alcoholic beverages between 10 a.m. and noon Sunday.
- Monday – Saturday: 8 a.m. – midnight
- Sunday: 10 a.m. – midnight
This depends on the type of area.
An “extended-hours area” means an area subject to the extended hours of sale provided in Alcoholic Beverage Code sections 105.03 or 105.05. In an extended-hours area, a person may not consume or possess with intent to consume an alcoholic beverage in a public place:
- Monday – Saturday: Before 7 a.m. or after 2:15 a.m.
- Sunday: Before noon or after 2:15 a.m.
- Exception: Consumption is legal between 10 a.m. and noon Sunday:
- At an on-premise establishment when the beverage is sold along with the service of food to a customer.
- At a winery, fair, festival, concert or sports venue.
In a standard-hours area, a person may not consume or possess with intent to consume an alcoholic beverage in a public place:
- Monday – Friday: Before 7 a.m. or after 12:15 a.m.
- Saturday: Before 7 a.m. or after 1:15 a.m.
- Sunday: Before noon or after 12:15 a.m.
- Exception: Consumption is legal between 10a.m. and noon Sunday:
- At an on-premise establishment when it is sold along with the service of food to a customer.
- At a winery, fair, festival, concert or sports venue.
A general, local or branch distributor's license holder may sell, offer for sale or deliver beer anytime except between 1 a.m. and noon Sunday.
- A Wholesaler's Permit (W) holder may sell, offer for sale or deliver liquor anytime except Sunday and Christmas Day.
- A Local Distributor's Permit (LP) holder may sell, offer for sale or deliver liquor to a retailer between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. on any day except Sunday, Christmas Day or any day when a Package Store Permit (P) holder is prohibited from selling liquor.
Distributors and wholesalers of malt beverages and wine can restock, rotate, affix prices, and reset or rearrange alcoholic beverages they sell from 5 a.m. to noon Sunday. See TABC Administrative Rule 45.109(d)
- When the time changes at 2 a.m. in the fall, licensees and permittees may sell for an additional hour because the legal time is 1 a.m.
- When daylight saving time takes place in the spring, the legal time is 3:00 a.m. when the time changes. Technically, no one should be publicly consuming or selling alcoholic beverages at that time. TABC agents have traditionally given patrons the 15 minutes they have under the extended-hours definition to consume the rest of the drinks legally purchased before 2 a.m.
Yes. There are no laws against selling alcohol on election day.
Alcohol To Go
Due to COVID-19 and current executive orders, the most up-to-date information about alcohol delivery and to-go sales is on our Coronavirus Information page. Visit that page to learn more.
Importing Alcoholic Beverages for Resale
The holder of a Manufacturer’s License (BA) or General Distributor’s License (BB) who also holds an Importer’s License (BI) can purchase beer from the holder of a Nonresident Manufacturer’s License (BS). They can then sell the beer to retailers and distributors in Texas. Beer is defined as a malt beverage containing half of 1% or more alcohol by volume and not more than 4% alcohol by weight.
The manufacturer of the beer being shipped into this state will need to hold a Nonresident Manufacturer's License (BS). This license holder may transport beer into Texas by common carrier holding a Carrier's Permit (C) or in motor vehicles owned or leased by the nonresident manufacturer. This beer may only be shipped and sold to holders of an Importer's License (BI).
With some restrictions, the holder of a Wholesaler's Permit (W) or Winery Permit (G) can purchase wine from the holder of a Nonresident Seller's Permit (S) outside of Texas. They can then sell the wine to retailers and wholesalers inside Texas.
A winery outside of Texas or the primary American source of supply will need to hold a Nonresident Seller's Permit (S). This permit is required of all entities that export alcoholic beverages containing alcohol in excess of 4% by weight into the state. The nonresident seller must ship their products by a common carrier that holds a Carrier's Permit (C) and may only sell to the following permit holders in Texas:
- Winery (G)
- Wholesaler (W)
- General Class B Wholesaler (X)
Texas Penal Code Section 49.02 defines intoxication as not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties because of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body. It can also be having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.
A person commits a public intoxication offense if they appear in a public place while intoxicated to the degree that they may endanger themselves or another person. Public intoxication is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $500. See Texas Penal Code Section 49.02.
No. They may offer a portable breath test, but breath or blood samples are not required for a public intoxication citation.
Selling an alcoholic beverage with criminal negligence to an intoxicated person is a violation of Alcoholic Beverage Code Section 101.63. It’s a misdemeanor punishable by a fine between $100 and $500 and/or up to a year in jail.
No. TABC agents are obligated to regularly inspect bars and restaurants. And any location permitted to sell or serve alcoholic beverages in Texas is defined as a public place. According to Texas Penal Code Section 1.07, a “public place” means anywhere the public or a substantial group of the public has access and includes, but is not limited to, streets, highways and common areas of schools, hospitals, apartment houses, office buildings, transport facilities and shops.
Bring Your Own Beverage (BYOB)
There are no statewide bring-your-own-beverage (BYOB) laws in Texas. Check with your city or county for relevant local ordinances. State law does say it's illegal to bring alcoholic beverages onto the premises of the holder of a Mixed Beverage Permit (MB) or Private Club Registration Permit (N). Otherwise, nothing in state law prohibits a guest from bringing their own alcoholic beverages onto the premises of a bar or restaurant or other establishment that is licensed to sell wine or beer, or into an establishment that is not licensed to sell alcoholic beverages.
You may allow customers to bring their own alcoholic beverages onto your premises while you are applying for a TABC permit. If you are obtaining a Wine and Beer Retailer's Permit (BG), you can continue to allow customers to bring their own alcoholic beverages, even after you obtain a TABC permit. Some establishments that sell only wine and beer allow customers to bring in distilled spirits and sell "set-ups." This would not be legal with a Private Club Registration Permit (N) or Mixed Beverage Permit (MB).
Avoid legal violations on the premises before and after getting your TABC permit. Illegal activity on the premises will interfere with the permitting process.
- Minors Possessing or Consuming Alcohol: The punishment for making alcoholic beverages available to a minor is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $4,000, confinement in jail for up to a year or both. The violator’s driver's license will be automatically suspended for 180 days on conviction. People 21 or older (other than the parent or guardian) can be held liable for damages caused by intoxication of a minor under 18 if the adult knowingly provided alcoholic beverages to a minor or allowed the minor to be served or provided alcoholic beverages on the premises owned or leased by the adult.
- Legal Hours of Public Consumption: The legal hours of public consumption still apply to BYOB establishments or special events held in a public place. Even if the location does not hold a TABC permit, guests can't drink alcoholic beverages on the premises all night long.
- Legal hours of public consumption begin 7 a.m. Monday – Saturday and noon Sunday.
- Legal hours of public consumption end at 2:15 a.m. if in an extended-hours area. Otherwise, legal hours end at 12:15 a.m. Sunday night – Friday night and 1:15 a.m. Saturday night.
Public Intoxication: A person commits public intoxication if they appear in a public place while intoxicated to the degree that they may endanger themselves or another person. See Texas Penal Code Section 49.02.
According to Texas Penal Code Section 1.07(40), a “public place” means anywhere the public or a substantial group of the public has access and includes, but is not limited to, streets, highways and common areas of schools, hospitals, apartment houses, office buildings, transport facilities and shops. Section 47.01(8) specifically excludes restaurants, taverns and nightclubs from being private places.