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Catch up with the latest news and guidance from TABC. You can read our news releases, marketing practices advisories, licencing and audit bulletins, industry notifications, announcements, and articles.

For media inquiries and other public information, visit the Public Information page.

May 26, 2021

TABC To Increase Operations To Stop Alcohol Sales to Minors

AUSTIN — As students across the state prepare to celebrate summer, agents from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission are ramping up efforts to prevent the sale of alcohol to minors. The agency, which regulates all aspects of the Texas alcohol trade, uses underage compliance operations (UCOs) to identify retailers who violate the state’s age limit on alcohol sales. It’s a crime in Texas to sell alcohol to any person younger than 21. During a UCO, a minor working for TABC attempts to purchase alcohol from a retailer while under surveillance by TABC agents. Businesses found violating the law could face administrative action, such as a fine or temporary suspension of their license to sell alcohol, while the employee who made the sale could face a misdemeanor criminal charge. UCOs have been an important part of TABC’s toolbox for years, but the pace of operations slowed during 2020 as the agency observed COVID-19 safety protocols. “While we’re extremely fortunate that the vast majority of alcohol retailers do the right thing, these underage compliance operations play a critical role when it comes to keeping alcohol out of the hands of minors,” said Bentley Nettles, TABC Executive Director. “Now that Texas’ bars and restaurants are open at full capacity, TABC is committed to ensuring retailers are empowered to decline any sale of alcohol that places public safety at risk.” TABC agents are observing strict health and safety protocols to protect all UCO participants. Participants undergo a COVID-19 rapid test and are screened for contact with the virus before each night’s operation. For more information about TABC and underage compliance operations, visit tabc.texas.gov/public-safety/enforcement-initiatives-operations/. Media Contact: Chris Porter Public Information Officer media@tabc.texas.gov

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May 13, 2021

TABC Urges Businesses To Complete New Licensing Applications by July 31

AUSTIN — The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is urging members of the alcoholic beverage industry to prepare now for a month-long pause in accepting applications for new licenses or permits. The pause must happen for TABC to launch new technology that will revolutionize how the industry conducts business with the agency, letting them easily complete TABC tasks anytime and anywhere. The pause begins Aug. 1 and will remain in place until Sept. 1. TABC will be unable to accept new license or permit applications — including applications for new primary licenses, subordinate licenses, and supplemental changes — during that time. The pause will allow agency staff to migrate industry members’ data from the current system to the new Alcohol Industry Management System (AIMS), which launches Sept. 1. Businesses should view specific instructions and deadlines now on the TABC website. AIMS will usher in a new way of working with TABC that is easier, more efficient and less disruptive to businesses. Texans will be able to apply for a new license or renew their current license entirely online, replacing an old system that required applicants to submit paperwork directly to a TABC office. Business owners can also more easily track their application status, print out licensing forms and required signs, and apply for other TABC programs and initiatives. The month-long licensing pause will affect any industry member looking to apply for an original permit, TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles said. “We certainly understand that this month-long data migration represents a challenge to Texas alcoholic beverage industry members, which is why we’re urging all affected business owners to prepare now,” Nettles said. “Our goal is to minimize the impact to the industry we serve while allowing us to hit the ground running when AIMS comes online Sept. 1.” TABC urges business owners planning to submit an original licensing application to complete their paperwork, as outlined on the TABC 2021 Changes webpages and TABC Rules, and submit payment before July 31. Regular licensing services will resume Sept. 1 using the new AIMS technology. The agency will continue to process applications for new licenses and permits completed by July 31 during the pause, and renewal applications will not be affected. Sept. 1 marks the effective date of several new state laws related to the alcoholic beverage industry, including the merging of multiple license and permit types, as well as changes in malt beverage rules and license fees. To learn more, visit the TABC 2021 Changes webpage. Media Contact: Chris Porter Public Information Officer media@tabc.texas.gov

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May 12, 2021

INDUSTRY NOTICE: Steps to Legally Offer Alcohol-To-Go Under House Bill 1024

Gov. Greg Abbott has signed House Bill 1024 (alcohol-to-go) into law and it is now in effect, replacing the COVID-19 protocols for selling alcohol to go. This law allows eligible Mixed Beverage Permit (MB) holders and Private Clubs (N/NB/NE) to sell beer, wine and cocktails to consumers for pickup or delivery if sold with a food order. To make sure you are ready to sell alcohol to go under the new law, review these three items: Read the alcohol-to-go guidance for Mixed Beverage (MB) and Private Club (N/NE/NB) permit holders. Ensure that you have a current Food and Beverage Certificate (FB) issued by TABC. If you do not have the FB Certificate, submit an application as soon as possible. Under the law, you may not begin or continue selling alcohol to go without this. TABC will do everything it can to timely process and issue FB Certificates to qualified applicants. To help the struggling restaurant industry, TABC will temporarily use discretion on enforcing the FB Certificate requirement for businesses that make good faith efforts to timely submit their FB Certificate applications and payments but have not yet been issued the certificate by TABC. However, if an applicant receives notice that TABC has denied their request for an FB Certificate, the applicant may no longer conduct alcohol-to-go activities. To submit your FB Certificate application, mail (do not email) a completed L-AFB form and a payment of $776 (application fee) to either of these addresses:   TABC Licensing Division 5806 Mesa Drive Austin TX 78731 TABC Licensing Division P.O. BOX 13127 Austin, TX 78731-312 Note: If you previously submitted an application using the L-LRC form and those instructions, TABC will still accept that application and you do not need to submit a new application. After submitting your FB Certificate application to TABC, please post a copy of your FB Certificate application next to your permit at your location. This will help TABC’s Audit and Enforcement personnel in using discretion on enforcing the FB Certificate requirement.   Alcohol delivery drivers are encouraged to take the Texas Responsible Alcohol Delivery (TRAD) certification course. This course teaches delivery drivers how to safely deliver alcohol to consumers in Texas. Businesses that hold a TABC Consumer Delivery Permit could be protected from liabilities if their drivers are TRAD certified. The course could also provide some protections to individual delivery drivers.

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May 12, 2021

Alcohol-To-Go Is Now Permanent Law of the Land in Texas

AUSTIN — Texas law now lets customers and businesses safely enjoy alcohol-to-go options. Temporary waivers to provide relief to businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic have been updated and made permanent, thanks to recent action by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Legislature. The change comes as part of House Bill 1024, which was approved by the Legislature on April 28 and signed into law by Gov. Abbott on May 12. The law, which took effect immediately after it was signed by the governor, authorizes Mixed Beverage and Private Club permittees to sell alcohol — including mixed drinks — for pickup by customers or delivery, as long as they meet the requirements in the law. Certain other permittees, such as Wine and Beer Retailers, already had authority to send alcohol to go. “This new law will help businesses keep their doors open and ensure Texans keep their jobs,” said TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles. “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.” Under the new law, Mixed Beverage and Private Club permittees may: Allow customers to pick up alcohol (i.e., mixed drinks, wine and malt beverages, which will include both beer and ale starting Sept. 1) with food orders. Deliver alcohol with food orders to customers. Use third parties, including agents of the retailer or contractors holding a Consumer Delivery Permit (CD), to make deliveries on their behalf. Alcoholic beverages such as wine or malt beverages must be in their original containers or tamper-proof containers sealed by the retailer and properly labeled when sold for pickup or delivery. Distilled spirits should be sold in an original single-serving container of 375 milliliters maximum. Mixed drinks that contain distilled spirits must be in a tamper-proof container sealed by the retailer with a label that includes the retailer’s business name and the words “alcoholic beverage.” Permit holders must follow all requirements in the law, including holding a Food and Beverage Certificate (FB). Alcoholic beverages picked up or delivered under this authority may not be transported in the passenger area of a motor vehicle. TABC also offers the Texas Responsible Alcohol Delivery Training course specifically for drivers who will be delivering alcoholic beverages directly to consumers. For more information, including guidelines on alcohol delivery, visit tabc.texas.gov. View TABC Alcohol Delivery and Pickup webpage. Media Contact: Chris Porter Public Information Officer media@tabc.texas.gov

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May 3, 2021

INDUSTRY NOTICE: House Bill 1024 Pickup and Delivery of Alcoholic Beverages for Off-Premises Consumption

Eligible Mixed Beverage Permit (MB) holders and Private Clubs are now authorized to sell beer, wine and cocktails with food orders that are purchased for pickup or delivery under the following conditions: Retailer eligibility to offer consumer pickup or delivery to consumers: Hold a Mixed Beverage Permit (MB) and a Food and Beverage Certificate (FB) for the permitted premises; or Hold a Private Club Registration Permit (N) and a Food and Beverage Certificate (FB) for the permitted premises. General authority — Eligible Mixed Beverage (MB) and Private Club (N) permit holders may: Allow customers to pick up alcohol with food orders, Deliver alcohol with food orders to customers, Use third parties acting as an agent of the MB or N to make deliveries, Use independent contractors holding a Consumer Delivery Permit (CD) to make deliveries on their behalf. Restrictions on what may be picked up or delivered — Eligible MB and N permittees may allow pickup or delivery of any number of malt beverages (defined as beer and ale prior to Sept. 1, 2021), wines and/or distilled spirits ONLY WHEN: The alcohol is accompanied by a food order that was prepared on the business’s premises; and           Note: There is no required food-to-alcohol ratio. Malt beverages and wine are in their original container sealed by the manufacturer. Malt beverages and wine are in a tamper-proof container that is sealed by the permit holder (example: growlers of ale) and clearly labeled with the permit holder’s business name and the words “alcoholic beverage." Distilled spirits are in an original single-serving container sealed by the manufacturer and not larger than 375 milliliters (example: cocktail kit); or Distilled spirits are mixed with other beverages or garnishes and stored in a tamper-proof container (example: in-house mixed margarita) clearly labeled with the permit holder’s business name and the words “alcoholic beverage." “Tamper proof container” is defined as a “container that once sealed, clearly shows whether it has been opened. The term includes a cup or similar container that is placed into a bag that has been sealed with a zip tie or staple or sealed with shrink wrap or a similar seal.” Limits on where alcohol may be delivered: Deliveries may only be made to a location: Where the sale of that type of alcohol is legal; and Within the county where the business is located, or up to 2 miles beyond the city limits in which the business is located if that city crosses a county line.  Note: Permittees may NOT deliver alcohol to another licensed or permitted location. Requirements for completing the customer pickup or delivery to the customer: Recipients must not be intoxicated; Recipients must present valid proof of their identity that confirms they are at least 21 years old before the alcoholic beverage is handed over to the recipient; and Recipients must sign a receipt (may be electronically signed) acknowledging the pickup/delivery, OR the individual representing the permitted business (restaurant employee or third party) must acknowledge the completion of the pickup or delivery through a software application. Permit holders should retain the signed receipts or the software application data for a period of one year following the transaction and should be able to make those receipts/data available to TABC upon request for audit purposes. Restrictions on transporting alcohol Alcoholic beverages that are sealed by the permit holder and are picked up or delivered under this authority may not be transported in the passenger area of a motor vehicle. Therefore, alcoholic beverages that are sealed by the permit holder must be placed in the trunk of a vehicle; the area behind the last upright seat of the vehicle, if the vehicle does not have a trunk; or a glove compartment or similar storage container that is locked (See Texas Penal Code, Section 49.031(a)(2)).   Revised to reflect that HB 1024 is now effective (May 12, 2021).

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April 20, 2021

Industry Spotlight: Rathskeller Bar

In our second Industry Spotlight, we’re bringing you the story of a bar that holds the oldest beer license in Texas. TABC’s Industry Spotlight series tells the stories behind your favorite bars, restaurants, businesses and drinks. To start, we’ve selected businesses that have some of the longest-standing licenses and permits and no recent history of violations. This month we’re spotlighting the Rathskeller Bar, housed in the Hermann Sons Home Association’s historic building in downtown San Antonio. This “time capsule” bar, as association president Lori Todd describes it, has held its TABC beer license for more than 83 years. Rathskeller BarOwner: San Antonio Hermann Sons Home AssociationAssociation President: Lori ToddLocation: San AntonioOriginal License: Sept. 1, 1937

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April 12, 2021

Use These Charts to Get Ready for Sept. 1 License Changes

We’ve posted two charts to help you prepare for the new, simplified license and permit types coming Sept. 1, 2021. In 2019, state lawmakers streamlined alcohol laws to help Texans more easily do business with TABC. Those changes take effect Sept. 1, putting in place the updated license and permit structure. To help you understand the upcoming changes, we created the following charts: Sept. 1, 2021 License Consolidation Explained — shows how certain current licenses will change and be merged into the new license structure. Sept. 1, 2021 License and Permit Types — shows the new license and permit types starting Sept. 1. Download the charts and learn more on TABC’s License Changes page.

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April 9, 2021

TABC Reminds Texans of the Tragic Dangers of Not Drinking Responsibly

AUSTIN — As Texans return to bars and restaurants following the end of pandemic restrictions, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is asking residents and businesses to remember that they have a part to play in combating overconsumption and keeping Texans safe. The agency, which regulates the manufacture, distribution and sale of alcohol across Texas, is observing Alcohol Awareness Month throughout April. The yearly observance is part of an effort by all levels of government to provide help to people with alcohol use disorder. “Alcohol is an important part of the Texas economy, and the vast majority of consumers and businesses do the right thing by consuming and serving responsibly,” said TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles. “Unfortunately when a small number of people neglect the laws that protect our health and safety, it’s often innocent Texans who end up paying the price.” As the state’s sole alcohol regulator, TABC agents investigate cases where the illegal sale or service of alcohol leads to serious injury or death. Some recent high-profile cases illustrate how failure to follow the law can result in tragic loss of life: 2016: Jocelyn Valero — Houston-area restaurant El Muelle was the subject of a joint TABC/Harris County District Attorney’s Office investigation after staff were alleged to have sold alcohol to Edin Palacios, who was later accused of causing the death of Jocelyn Valero in an alcohol-related crash as she was returning from her prom. The investigation found that Palacios had been allowed to consume nearly a dozen beers before leaving the business. He was later sentenced to 32 years in prison, and the business was charged with selling alcohol to an intoxicated person and paid a $15,000 fine. The bartender who served the drinks was also arrested and charged with selling alcohol to an intoxicated person. 2017: Matthew Ellis — Matthew Ellis, 20, had just arrived at Texas State University in San Marcos and attended a pledge party for the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. A few hours later, he was found unresponsive in a nearby apartment with a blood-alcohol level of .38 (four times the legal limit). Ellis died of alcohol poisoning, and it was determined that 21-year-old Austin Rice, a sophomore, had illegally provided the alcohol that contributed to Ellis’ death. Rice was sentenced to two years’ probation, and the Phi Kappa Psi Texas State chapter had its charter revoked by the fraternity’s national organization. 2018: Chloe Robison and Salma Gomez — A crash involving a 17-year-old driver who had purchased alcohol from a Humble convenience store left two Atascocita High School students dead and a store clerk charged with selling alcohol to a minor. Gumaro Munoz Campos of Humble was arrested by TABC and charged with selling alcohol to a minor after an investigation uncovered evidence indicating he sold alcohol to Jaggar Smith, 17, the night of the accident. Smith was later charged with two counts of intoxication manslaughter after the car he was driving struck a tree, killing passengers Chloe Robison and Salma Gomez. Both girls were scheduled to begin their junior year of high school just weeks after the accident. In addition to encouraging responsible service and consumption, TABC wants to be sure Texans with substance use disorders know help is available: Texas Health and Human Services outreach, screening, assessment and referral (OSAR) service U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Helpline: 800-662-4357 (800-662-HELP) For more information on responsible alcohol service, visit TABC’s YouTube channel. Media Contact: Chris Porter Public Information Officer media@tabc.texas.gov

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March 31, 2021

Most Businesses Put Safety First During Spring Break Celebrations

AUSTIN — Leaders from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission are expressing thanks to alcoholic beverage industry members after a three-week statewide operation found the vast majority of businesses took action to prevent alcohol sales to minors and intoxicated patrons during the busy spring break period. The large-scale operation, the first following Gov. Greg Abbott’s order to fully reopen Texas bars and restaurants March 10, worked to identify businesses that improperly sold alcohol in violation of the Alcoholic Beverage Code. Under state law, it’s illegal to sell alcohol to a person who is younger than 21 or intoxicated. In total, TABC agents conducted 2,322 inspections between March 11–28, filing just 75 administrative cases against licensed businesses. Most inspections took place along the Texas Gulf Coast, and in urban centers with major colleges or universities. “We couldn’t be more pleased with the results of this year’s operations,” TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles said. “For many of these businesses, spring break represented the first time they could fully open their doors in more than a year. Despite this, the vast majority of businesses placed the safety of their customers first and were able to enjoy a safe and successful spring break.” Businesses which sell alcohol to a minor or an intoxicated person could face possible TABC administrative action, such as a civil fine or a suspension of the business’ alcohol license. Employees who improperly sell alcohol could also face a misdemeanor criminal charge, leading to a fine or jail time. To learn more about TABC’s public safety efforts, visit tabc.texas.gov/public-safety. Media Contact: Chris Porter Public Information Officer media@tabc.texas.gov

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March 17, 2021

Industry Spotlight: The Oyster Bar Restaurant

Welcome to the first edition of a new online series from TABC, where we’ll bring you the stories behind your favorite bars, restaurants, businesses and drinks. The alcoholic beverage industry in Texas is as diverse as the state itself. Whether it’s a place you enjoy with family and friends over dinner, the brewer of your favorite beer, or the store down the road, we want to share the rich history of TABC license holders. To start, the agency is selecting businesses that have some of the longest-standing licenses and permits and no recent history of violations. That’s why our first Industry Spotlight profile features the Oyster Bar Restaurant, which has been in business for more than 70 years. The Oyster Bar Restaurant Owner: Justo Barrientes Jr.General Manager: Mary LompraLocation: South TexasEstablished: 1950 (original location)

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