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News Releases

Get the latest headlines from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. You can look through all of the agency’s recent news releases on this page.

Members of the media should contact the TABC public information officer to make an inquiry.

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Jan 14, 2022

TABC Issues Emergency Order Suspending El Tucanazo’s Liquor Permit for 30 Days Following Deadly Jan. 8 Shooting

AUSTIN — The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has issued an emergency order suspending the liquor permit of a Houston-area bar for 30 days following a deadly shooting that left one person dead early Jan 8. Costa Lounge, d/b/a El Tucanazo, 7136 Clarewood Drive in Houston, was served with the 30-day emergency order Jan. 11. The suspension will remain in place for 30 days effective immediately. A hearing to affirm, amend, or set aside the order will be held the State Office of Administrative Hearings Jan. 22. Section 11.614 of the Alcoholic Beverage Code authorizes TABC to suspend a business’ liquor license or permit for up to 90 days if it’s believed that continued operation of the business could prove a risk to public safety. During the suspension, no alcohol may be served or sold at the location. The case remains under investigation by TABC and the Houston Police Department. TABC Media Contact: Chris Porter TABC Public Information Officer media@tabc.texas.gov

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Jan 11, 2022

TABC Highlights Its 24/7 Fight to End Exploitation During Human Trafficking Prevention Month

AUSTIN — As state leaders and law enforcement officers prepare to mark National Human Trafficking Awareness Day on Jan. 11, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is joining with the Office of the Governor and others to help combat this crime in the Lone Star State. As the regulator of the alcoholic beverage industry in Texas, TABC plays a key role in stopping organized crime – including human trafficking – taking place within licensed alcohol retailers such as bars, nightclubs and convenience stores. “TABC is on the front lines when it comes to stopping human trafficking in Texas,” TABC Chairman Kevin J. Lilly said. “What some people forget is that alcohol retailers such as bars or restaurants can sometimes serve as a legitimate front for traffickers or other organized crime syndicates. What TABC is doing is using our authority over all alcohol retailers, distributors and manufacturers to build a network of industry members, law enforcement agencies and citizens to stop this blight on our state.” TABC’s Special Investigations Unit is responsible for conducting long-term investigations into suspected human trafficking taking place within licensed businesses, and agents frequently join forces with local, state and federal partners on long-term, undercover investigations into organized crime across the state. The agency also employs a victim services coordinator to assist trafficking victims in obtaining much-needed medical and social services after they’re freed from suspected traffickers. Ultimately, stopping trafficking comes down to the actions of everyday Texans who take a stand against organized crime in the Lone Star State, Lilly said. “Hands down, the most important tool we have in the fight against human trafficking is the cooperation of Texans and their willingness to stand up for the health and safety of their communities,” Lilly said. “It’s absolutely critical that all Texans make themselves aware of the warning signs of human trafficking, and that we all commit to do our part to help end this terrible crime.” As part of Human Trafficking Prevention Month, TABC’s social media channels will feature stories from educators and law enforcement on the fight against human trafficking in Texas. To learn more about TABC’s mission to stop human trafficking and to get additional resources, visit our Stop Human Trafficking page. To learn more about the Office of the Governor’s Preventing Human Trafficking initiative, visit the Preventing Human Trafficking webpage. Media Contact: Chris Porter – Public Information Officer media@tabc.texas.gov

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Dec 20, 2021

TABC Assisting Travelers, Protecting Texans During Busy Paisano Border Travel Season

AUSTIN — Employees of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission will spend the first two weeks of January assisting travelers entering Texas during the busy Paisano travel season. Paisano season refers to a roughly two-week period following the holidays in which travelers with families living in Mexico cross the border to visit their relatives. In many cases, the returning travelers bring alcohol back into the state with them, which requires a short stop at one of TABC’s Ports of Entry facilities at the border. State law requires all travelers entering the state with alcohol to pay a small tax and administrative fee on any spirits, wine or beer brought into Texas. TABC Ports of Entry employees assess and collect the tax while keeping an eye out for any potentially illegal or dangerous beverages, according to TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles. “The Paisano season is obviously an extremely exciting and hectic time for travelers, and we want them to know that TABC will have additional staff members standing by to help travelers bring their alcohol into Texas safely and legally,” he said. “We’ll also be paying special attention to disallowing any potentially dangerous beverages before they can enter the Texas marketplace.” Illicit beverages include those brought in unapproved containers, such as gasoline cans or unlabeled bottles, as well as those suspected of containing illegal or dangerous substances. During the 2020 Paisano season, TABC regulatory compliance officers (RCOs) disallowed 162 illicit alcohol containers while approving more than 146,798 containers for entry into Texas. The agency also collected nearly $511,606 in revenue at the Texas-Mexico border during the period. For more information about TABC’s mission at the Texas-Mexico border, visit: tabc.texas.gov/poe. Media Contact: Chris Porter – Public Information Officer chris.porter@tabc.texas.gov

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Nov 22, 2021

TABC Inspection Leads to Felony Arrest for Drug and Weapon Violations at Harris Co. Liquor Store

HARRIS COUNTY — An inspection of a liquor store by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has resulted in the felony arrest of a Harris County man along with the seizure of several pounds of marijuana and firearms. TABC agents made the arrest while inspecting D&K Spring Liquor at 23311 Aldine Westfield Road in Spring on Nov. 17. Arrested was 37-year-old Damian Shimfarr, who was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of marijuana. Shimfarr was taken to the Harris County Jail and later released after posting bond. The drugs and firearms were discovered by TABC agents along with approximately $6,000 in cash. Among the firearms were two handguns and an AR-15-style rifle. “Drugs, guns and cash fuel organized crime, and TABC will not tolerate crime at businesses we regulate,” TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles said. “We will follow this arrest with a full investigation to hold accountable anyone who’s using a licensed business as a hub for illegal activity.” TABC is continuing the investigation and will explore possible administrative action against the business. Anyone with information about illegal activity within a TABC-licensed business can file a report on the TABC website, by emailing complaints@tabc.texas.gov or by calling 888-THE-TABC.   Media Contact: Chris Porter – Public Information Officer chris.porter@tabc.texas.gov (512) 206-3462

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Nov 19, 2021

TABC Offering Assistance to Military Veterans Seeking To Start Business in Alcoholic Beverage Industry

AUSTIN — The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is working with statewide organizations and business leaders to assist military service members seeking to start their own businesses within the alcoholic beverage industry. TABC’s Empowering Texas Veterans initiative, launched in 2019, partners veterans who have established a business in the industry with protégés who want to begin a business on their own. The mentor will advise the protégé on issues and challenges associated with establishing a new company. “Our number-one goal with this program is to make sure there is no wrong door for veterans seeking information about breaking into the alcoholic beverage industry,” TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles said. “We are proud to work with our partner agencies to ensure eligible veterans are directed to the right people with the right answers as they take their first steps into the industry.” As the state’s regulator of the alcoholic beverage industry, TABC ensures mentors are able to assist potential business owners throughout the application process. Multiple Texas state agencies, including the Texas Workforce Commission, Texas Veterans Commission and Texas Comptroller, assist both mentors and protégés by providing administrative support as well as information on issues such as veterans’ benefits, licensing fees and more. For more information about the program, help with starting a business, or to download an application, visit the TABC Veterans page. TABC Media Contact: Chris Porter TABC Public Information Officer media@tabc.texas.gov

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Nov 15, 2021

TABC Executive Director A. Bentley Nettles Announces Intent To Retire

AUSTIN — Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission Executive Director A. Bentley Nettles has announced his intent to retire as the agency’s 14th director of day-to-day operations, following a five-year tenure that saw the regulatory agency achieve new highs in customer service, public safety and modernization. Nettles, who was appointed by the commission in May 2017, will retire from the position on April 30, 2022, after a career in public service spanning 37 years. Nettles will work with the five-member commission to help select his successor, who will take leadership of an agency responsible for regulating more than 58,000 businesses across Texas. “As General George S. Patton said during World War II, ‘All good things must come to an end,’” Nettles said. “This decision has been a long time in the making, and I wanted to ensure that TABC was in a good place prior to a transition in leadership. Thanks to the hard work of our more than 600 employees and their dedication to service across Texas, I believe now is the right time to announce my retirement.” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Nettles’ tenure as executive director promoted the state’s alcoholic beverage industry while helping keep Texans safe. “General Nettles’ leadership as executive director of TABC has made Texas safer and our businesses better,” Abbott said. “On behalf of all Texans, I thank General Nettles for his 37 years of tremendous service to the Lone Star State and congratulate him on his retirement.”  Nettles was appointed to lead TABC after successful careers as an attorney and as a member of the Texas Army National Guard, where he rose to the rank of brigadier general. His experience leading large organizations during times of transition was key to his selection as executive director, according to TABC Chairman Kevin Lilly. “There’s no question that General Nettles was the best person for the job,” Lilly said. “TABC faced incredible challenges when he came on board, and thanks in large part to his leadership, he will leave behind a stronger, more modern and more trusted agency. I speak for the entire commission when I offer our thanks for a job well done and well wishes for what will surely be a bright future. I would also be remiss in not lauding his efforts in developing what is now considered one of the premier law enforcement agencies in fighting the scourge of human trafficking.” TABC reached numerous milestones under Nettles’ leadership, including the successful implementation of historic legislative changes and recommendations from the Sunset Advisory Commission following its review of the agency in 2019. Those include the consolidation of multiple license and permit types, bringing the total number of permit types from 75 to 37; new standards that make it easier for malt beverage manufacturers to enter the industry; and efficiencies in policy and rulemaking to make the process more transparent while ensuring stakeholder participation. Nettles also oversaw the creation of numerous internal and external agency programs, including: A regulatory warning system to help businesses avoid administrative penalties and fees. A standardized penalty schedule for use when assessing administrative violations. A TCOLE-approved training program to help peace officers investigate suspected human trafficking. The Target Responsibility for Alcohol-Connected Emergencies (TRACE) unit, which ensures an immediate response to incidents such as DWIs, assaults or homicides. A top-to-bottom redesign and update of the TABC website. The Alcohol Industry Management System (AIMS), a new online portal allowing business owners to apply for licenses and permits, file reports and more from their computers or mobile devices. The Empowering Texas Veterans Initiative, which assists service members seeking to start a business in the alcoholic beverage industry. The agency’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which allowed businesses to operate safely while ensuring compliance with state health and safety guidelines. “I couldn’t be prouder of everything TABC has accomplished over the past five years, and it was all thanks to the incredible work of our TABC employees and of the alcoholic beverage industry,” Nettles said. “I can’t thank them enough for all they’ve done to serve the people of Texas. First and foremost, however, I owe a deep debt to my wife Tracey. Everything I’ve accomplished throughout my career is thanks to her support and love, and I’m truly grateful for everything she’s done for me and our two boys over the years. I’m looking forward to dedicating more time for my family while enjoying the opportunity to read about TABC’s future accomplishments.” To learn more about TABC and its mission, visit tabc.texas.gov. TABC Media Contact: Chris Porter TABC Public Information Officer media@tabc.texas.gov

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Oct 6, 2021

TABC Earns Outstanding Agency Award from Southeast Texas MADD Chapter, TxDOT

AUSTIN – The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission’s Target Responsibility for Alcohol-Connected Emergencies (TRACE) unit was honored with the Outstanding Agency Award from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the Southeast Texas chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The award recognizes organizations that have helped investigate and prevent drunken driving accidents. TABC’s TRACE unit is responsible for investigating businesses suspected of selling or serving alcohol to people accused of being involved in alcohol-related incidents, such as assault or drunken driving fatalities. Businesses found to have violated the state’s alcohol laws could be required to suspend alcohol sales or pay a fine. Since the TRACE unit was established in January 2021, it has investigated more than 1,200 suspected incidents, leading to more than 200 active investigations. Of those, 55 have resulted in TABC taking administrative action against a business. More than three-quarters of TRACE investigations involve suspected DWIs, TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles said. “There’s no question that drunken driving is one of the biggest risk factors when it comes to the retail sale of alcohol,” Nettles said. “Thanks to the education efforts of our partners at MADD and TxDOT, as well as the work of the TRACE unit, I’m proud to say that the vast majority of businesses are doing their part to prevent future tragedies.” MADD’s mission to end drunken or impaired driving accidents has resulted in numerous successful partnerships across Texas, including a longstanding relationship with TABC. “We could not further our mission of ‘No More Victims’ without these partnerships and collaborations with all of our law enforcement agencies. Through MADD’s ‘Take the Wheel’ initiative, it is an honor to recognize those officers who put their life on the line every day to keep our roads safe,” said Debra Marable, MADD Texas state program director. “MADD supports our law enforcement heroes and everything they do to help us eliminate drunk and impaired driving.” TABC is Texas’ sole alcohol regulatory agency with oversight over the manufacture, distribution and sale of alcohol across the state. TABC agents are commissioned peace officers responsible for upholding public safety and ensuring a safe and law-abiding alcoholic beverage industry. To learn more about TABC’s efforts to reduce alcohol-related injuries or fatalities, visit tabc.texas.gov.  

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Sept 30, 2021

TABC To Host Roundtable With DFW-Area Industry and Elected Leaders

AUSTIN – Local members of the alcoholic beverage industry and Texas Legislature will join leaders from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission at a roundtable discussion Oct. 6 in Grand Prairie. The roundtable begins at 1:30 p.m. at the Grand Prairie Police Station’s Public Safety Building Community Room, 1525 Arkansas Lane. The event is an opportunity for TABC to engage with industry members and elected leaders on the topics affecting more than 57,000 businesses regulated by the agency. Those topics include new statutes affecting legal hours of alcohol sales, revised licensing fees, consolidation of alcohol permits and the recent launch of TABC’s new Alcohol Industry Management System. “TABC relies on feedback from our elected leaders and the businesses we serve to successfully carry out our mission,” said TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles. “The goal of these roundtables is to foster those important partnerships while identifying ways we can better serve our industry and the people of Texas.” As the state’s sole alcohol regulator, TABC is charged with helping people obtain the necessary licenses or permits to do business while ensuring industry members comply with the laws put in place by the Texas Legislature. For more information about recent changes at TABC and within the alcoholic beverage industry, visit tabc.texas.gov/2021. MEDIA MEMBERS: For information about interview availability at the roundtable, contact Chris Porter at (512) 206-3462 or email media@tabc.texas.gov.

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Aug 31, 2021

TABC Prepares Businesses as Agency Goes Digital Sept. 1

AUSTIN — The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is working with more than 57,000 businesses across the state to ensure they’re ready for a number of new changes taking effect Sept. 1 — including a new online system designed to make it easier than ever to do business with the agency. Starting Sept. 1, businesses in the alcoholic beverage industry can begin using TABC’s new online system — the Alcohol Industry Management System (AIMS) — for conducting licensing tasks, making payments and completing reporting requirements. This means businesses can finally say goodbye to mailing or hand delivering their paperwork and checks to the agency and instead do everything from the convenience of a computer or mobile device 24/7. By eliminating manual processes and going online, TABC expects to significantly improve its customer service. Other major changes taking effect Sept. 1 include the consolidation of more than 75 TABC license and permit types into 37, with the goal that most businesses will need only one license or permit to conduct most of their activities. This will be accompanied by new licensing fees based in part on the new authorities afforded to the new license/permit types. These changes stem from reforms adopted by the Texas Legislature in 2019 as part of TABC’s review under the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission. All state agencies are required to undergo a sunset review every 12 years to identify areas for improvement and increased efficiencies. TABC has been working with businesses and local governments for more than a year to prepare them for the Sept. 1 changes by hosting forums, sending email communications, and providing detailed information on its website about the coming changes and how they impact businesses. These resources are available on the TABC 2021 Changes webpage at tabc.texas.gov/2021. “Our goal throughout this process has been to maintain open and honest communication with the businesses we serve,” TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles said. “Their feedback, starting in 2019, has been instrumental in helping us to implement these changes in a way that enhances our customer service while building a stronger alcoholic beverage industry for the Texas of tomorrow.” Over the next year, all TABC-licensed businesses will transition to AIMS based on key reporting and renewal dates. For a complete listing of all 2021 changes, including information for local governments, business owners and temporary events, visit the TABC 2021 Changes webpage at tabc.texas.gov/2021. Media Contact: Chris Porter TABC Public Information Officer media@tabc.texas.gov

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Aug 26, 2021

TABC Cancels Liquor Permit for Boom Boom Sports Bar

AUSTIN – The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has permanently canceled the liquor permit of a San Antonio sports bar where three people died following a mass shooting Aug. 15. The owners of Boom Boom Sports Bar, 1621 S. New Braunfels Ave., agreed to the cancellation during a conference with TABC on Aug. 24. A permanent cancellation of the business’ liquor permit means alcohol may no longer be sold at the location, cutting off an important revenue stream and effectively shutting the business down. TABC had initially issued a 90-day emergency suspension of the bar’s license shortly after the shooting took place. A formal order canceling the bar’s liquor permit was signed by TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles on Aug. 25. “Cutting off a bar’s ability to sell alcohol is among the most serious actions TABC can take in cases like this,” Nettles said. “Our goal at TABC is to help alcohol retailers understand their role in keeping the peace and upholding the safety of their customers and staff. It’s my hope that by working together, we can reduce violence and help ensure a safe alcoholic beverage industry for all Texans.” Following the cancellation, TABC will continue to work with investigators from the San Antonio Police Department, whose criminal investigation of the shooting remains under way. Background Investigators from TABC’s Target Responsibility for Alcohol-Connected Emergencies (TRACE) unit and the San Antonio Police Department responded to a shooting at Boom Boom Sports Bar in the early morning of Aug. 15. The shooting resulted in the deaths of three people and injuries to several others. TABC’s investigation sought to determine whether the sports bar’s policies or practices played a role in the shooting. One person, 34-year-old Daniel Barragan, has been arrested by San Antonio police in connection with the shooting.   For more information, visit tabc.texas.gov. Media Contact: Chris Porter Public Information Officer  media@tabc.texas.gov   

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