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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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Sept 4, 2020

TABC Working With VFW, Veterans' Service Groups To Ensure Local Halls Remain Open

AUSTIN – A new initiative by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission helps veterans’ service groups such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion ensure their facilities can continue to provide critical services to military veterans during the COVID-19 pandemic. The move comes after concerns that numerous VFW halls and similar facilities, many of which contain bars, would be required to remain closed as part of Texas’ efforts to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. The new plan, which was jointly developed by TABC, the VFW and state elected officials, provides multiple options for veterans’ services groups looking to reopen their doors: Temporarily suspend alcoholic beverage license/permit: Eligible veterans’ service organizations may contact TABC to temporarily suspend their alcoholic beverage license or permit without penalty. This enables the organization to reopen its facility, though no alcohol may be sold. Re-diagram licensed premises: The organization can alter their licensed premises to exclude common areas away from the facility’s bar. This enables the organization to reopen the unlicensed portions of its facility to provide services to veterans. Operate as a restaurant: The organization can apply for a TABC Food and Beverage Certificate, allowing them to operate as a restaurant by either using their own kitchen facilities or by partnering with a third-party food vendor. For this option, alcohol sales must comprise less than 51% of the location’s gross receipts. TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles, an Army veteran, said the changes are part of an overall agency strategy to serve veterans. “TABC is grateful for the support of the VFW and the governor as we begin the statewide rollout of this program,” he said. “Helping those who have served our country falls in line with TABC’s core value of customer service, and I appreciate any opportunity to support our veterans.” Providing service to veterans is a personal mission for many TABC employees, according to agency Chairman Kevin Lilly. “TABC is proud to count dozens of armed forces veterans as employees,” Lilly said. “For many of us, finding ways to assist our fellow veterans is part of daily life. This program exemplifies our agency’s dedication to supporting those who have served our nation.” The program will greatly assist veterans’ organizations suffering under the COVID-19 pandemic, state Sen. Donna Campbell, M.D., said. “Our state’s veteran service organizations play a critical role in assisting the men and women who worked selflessly to defend our freedom,” said Campbell, who chairs the Texas Senate’s Veterans Affairs & Border Security Committee. “This plan will allow groups such as the VFW and American Legion to continue providing these services, which are needed now more than ever. I thank the TABC for their efforts on this matter." Veterans’ services organizations with questions on the program may contact their local TABC office for more information. To locate your nearest office or learn more, visit tabc.texas.gov. Media Contact: Chris Porter Public Information Officer chris.porter@tabc.texas.gov  

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Sept 1, 2020

Transformed TABC Website Offers Improved User Experience, Access to Public Records

AUSTIN — A top-to-bottom redesign of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission’s public website has gone live, offering users vastly improved search capabilities, the ability to download application forms, and quick and easy access to public information. The new site, which launched today, is the result of a more than nine-month redesign process that relied on feedback from agency employees, state lawmakers and members of the alcoholic beverage industry. The site is also fully optimized for mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, making it easier for users to access important TABC functions and information on the go. “When designing the new site, we counted on feedback from the people who use the site the most — alcoholic beverage industry members,” TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles said. “Their input allowed us to build a website that provides a vastly better experience for industry veterans as well as everyday Texans.” The redesign is the first phase of several planned changes to the TABC website, Nettles added. Future updates will add increased functionality, including the ability to apply for a new TABC license or permit online. “As the alcoholic beverage industry continues to modernize and reinvent itself, so must TABC,” Nettles said. “This website is another step forward in our mission of providing the very best customer service to the 29 million Texans we serve. I’m grateful to our team and our industry partners for all of their hard work in making the new website a reality. We’re especially pleased that the transformed website makes it easier to learn more about TABC assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m hopeful all affected businesses will use the site to take advantage of the many services we can offer.” To learn more about the improvements to the TABC website, visit: tabc.texas.gov/news/articles/quick-guide-to-the-new-tabc-site-2020/. Media Contact:Chris Porter Public Information Officer (512) 206-3462

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Aug 27, 2020

TABC Offers Resources, Support for Businesses Affected by Hurricane Laura

AUSTIN — The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is ready to assist Texans whose businesses suffered damage following Hurricane Laura’s landfall early Thursday. While the storm’s worst effects were felt in neighboring Louisiana, TABC officials say businesses whose inventory was damaged by flooding, or those who need replacement documents from TABC, should contact their local office for assistance. Businesses may also obtain authorization to move product between locations. “While officials in counties across Southeast Texas continue to assess the damage, it appears we have avoided the worst of the damage,” TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles said. “Even so, it’s clear that tens of thousands of Texans are without power, and some businesses may need help as they begin the process of recovery.” Business owners are encouraged to visit TABC’s Disaster Assistance webpage to learn more about available assistance, including: Forms for declaring damaged alcoholic beverage inventory Deadline extensions for license/permit renewals Waiving of penalties for late excise tax reports Information about the latest Credit Law Delinquent Lists TABC’s Disaster Assistance Webpage can be found at: https://www.tabc.texas.gov/services/tabc-licenses-permits/disaster-assistance-for-licensees. Business owners with additional questions may contact their local TABC office for more information. Media Contact:Chris Porter Public Information Officer (512) 206-3462

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Aug 6, 2020

TABC Arrest Store Clerk Connected to Fatal Motorcycle Crash

AUSTIN — The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has arrested and charged a Center Point woman with illegally selling alcohol to an intoxicated man accused of causing a fatal July 18 motorcycle wreck that left four people dead near Kerrville. Ranelle Diane Welch, 37, turned herself into Kerr County authorities on August 6 following a TABC investigation. Welch is charged with Sale to Certain Person, which is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. She was later released on a $2,000 bond. Welch was working at a Dollar General store in Center Point around noon on July 18 when she sold beer to Ivan Robles-Navejas, 28, of Center Point. Investigators believe Robles-Navejas was already intoxicated when Welch sold him the alcohol. A short time later, Robles-Navejas was involved in a collision between his vehicle and members of the Thin Blue Line Motorcycle Club, who were riding in a group on Texas 16. According to investigators with the Department of Public Safety, Robles-Navejas' vehicle crossed the center line, hitting 11 motorcycles and killing three riders at the scene. A fourth rider died of his injuries several days later. The Thin Blue Line Motorcycle club is comprised of active and veteran peace officers as well as supporters of law enforcement. State law prohibits the sale of alcohol to any person who exhibits signs of intoxication at the time of sale. "This is an extremely tragic case which may have been avoided if this individual was prevented from purchasing additional alcohol beverages prior to the crash," TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles said. "TABC will hold accountable all businesses and employees who may have contributed to this case by illegally selling alcohol. We're grateful for the support of the Department of Public Safety, whose investigators were instrumental in assisting TABC agents in identifying the source of the alcohol in this case." The case remains under investigation. Media Contact:Chris Porter Public Information Officer (512) 206-3462

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July 10, 2020

Judge Rules in Favor of TABC's Permit Suspension of Texas Nightclub

AUSTIN — A Texas administrative judge has affirmed the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's 30-day suspension order against a nightclub in McAllen. On June 18, TABC agents inspected Elevate Nightclub, and discovered that it was not operating in accordance with the Governor's executive order and had failed to monitor and enforce social distancing standards. The agency served the business with a 30-day permit suspension order the next day. "TABC is grateful for the administrative judge's decision affirming the agency's emergency suspension order of Elevate Nightclub," TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles said. "It's our hope that emergency suspensions such as this will continue to be the exception, not the rule. The vast majority of business owners are heeding Gov. Abbott's executive order and placing the safety of their customers and employees first." TABC is strictly monitoring bar and restaurant activity and will pursue emergency permit suspensions if there are violations that threaten public health and safety. TABC has the authority to suspend any permit that poses a continuing threat to the public welfare. The first infraction will result in a 30-day license suspension, and the second will result in a 60-day suspension. The Governor's Strike Force to Open Texas has developed specific guidelines bars and restaurants must follow. To see the guidelines and learn more about the governor's efforts to reopen Texas, visit open.texas.gov. Find TABC's resources for businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic at tabc.texas.gov/coronavirus. Media Contact: Chris Porter Public Information Officer (512) 206-3462

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June 29, 2020

TABC Continues Efforts to Ensure Compliance with Governor's Executive Order

AUSTIN — The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has suspended seven bars' alcohol permits for 30 days after they refused to comply with an executive order from Gov. Greg Abbott requiring that bars cease operations to limit the spread of COVID-19. The order, issued by Abbott on June 26, requires all bars earning at least 51% of their revenue from sales of alcohol to suspend operations. Restaurants earning less than 51% of their revenue from alcohol sales may continue to operate at 50% of their indoor seating capacity. Businesses that do not comply with the order face up to a 30-day suspension of their license to sell alcohol for the first violation, followed by up to a 60-day suspension for the second violation. Continued violations could result in additional penalties, including cancellation of the business' alcohol license or permit. TABC agents visited nearly 1,500 businesses across the state June 26-28 to ensure compliance with the order. Of those, 59 were operating in violation of the governor's order, with 52 agreeing to immediately cease operations after TABC's visit. The remaining seven businesses did not agree to suspend operations and were issued 30-day suspensions of their permit. These businesses include: Black Stone USA, Fredericksburg Bokeeters Cocktail Bar, New Caney Prospect Park, Houston The Park @ The Domain, Austin The Venue Private Club, Wills Point Two other locations' permits were suspended June 26 and were previously announced by TABC: Whiskey Girl, Abilene Outlaws Longview, Longview "We know this is an extremely difficult time for our state's bar owners and we sympathize with all of the owners, operators and employees who are hurting during this pandemic," TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles said. "It's the duty of all Texans to do what's necessary to prevent the spread of this disease. Taking these steps now will help ensure a quicker re-opening once this pandemic has passed." Texans can report a potential violation by emailing complaints@tabc.texas.gov, calling 888-THE-TABC, or using the free TABC:Mobile app for Apple and Android devices. To view TABC's guidance for the alcoholic beverage industry, visit www.tabc.texas.gov/coronavirus. Media Contact: Chris Porter Public Information Officer (512) 206-3462

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June 27, 2020

TABC Applauds Majority of Bar Owners Who Are Following the Law and Protecting Texans During Pandemic

AUSTIN — Following Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order limiting certain businesses and services as part of the state's effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission found the vast majority of Texas bars abiding by the new rules. "We want to thank bar owners across the state who are making great sacrifices to protect their fellow Texans," TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles said. "We know bar and restaurant owners have been suffering mightily throughout this pandemic. By taking these extraordinary steps to limit capacity and close doors, lives will be saved and we can increase the chances of successfully reopening businesses in the future." TABC agents visited 628 bars across Texas Friday night, finding just 30 bars open in violation of the governor's executive order. After TABC agents spoke with management and provided them with the executive order, 28 bars agreed to shut their doors. Two remained open, defying the governor's executive order. TABC issued an emergency order to suspend the liquor permits of those bars for 30 days. The businesses issued an emergency order for a 30-day permit suspension are: The Whiskey Girl, Abilene Outlaws Longview, Longview TABC is committed to protecting Texans and will pursue emergency license suspensions if there are violations that are a threat to public health and safety. The agency has the authority to suspend any license that poses a continuing threat to the public welfare. The first infraction will result in a 30-day license suspension, and the second will result in a 60-day suspension. The agency is also asking concerned citizens to report possible violations by emailing complaints@tabc.texas.gov, calling 1-888-THE-TABC, or by using the free TABC:Mobile application for Apple and Android devices. For more information about requirements for bars and restaurants to reduce the spread of COVID-19, visit the Governor's Open Texas Strike Force webpage at www.open.texas.gov. For more information about TABC's efforts to assist businesses during the pandemic, visit www.tabc.texas.gov/coronavirus. Media Contact: Bryan Black Director of Communications and External Relations (512) 206-3361

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June 27, 2020

Restaurants and Certain Bars Can Now Mix Drinks On Premise and Sell To Go

AUSTIN — Following an executive order from Gov. Greg Abbott limiting on-premise alcohol sales during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is working to inform alcoholic beverage industry members about a new initiative by the governor to help restaurants and bars with permanent food service facilities maintain revenue streams. While new actions to contain the spread of COVID-19 limit on-premise service of alcohol, a new statutory waiver approved by the governor today allows restaurants and certain bars with a Mixed Beverage Permit to sell mixed drinks to go and for delivery. Under the waiver, these businesses may sell drinks containing distilled spirits mixed and sealed by the business itself. Previously, mixed drinks to go were prohibited under the Alcoholic Beverage Code. However, the governor's action temporarily waives that law. "Operating during this pandemic has proved an incredible challenge for all segments of the alcoholic beverage industry," TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles said. "Opening up the ability for these businesses to sell mixed drinks to go will help ease the burden for many of these struggling businesses." To qualify for alcohol delivery and pickup, a business must hold a Mixed Beverage Permit and have permanent food service capabilities on the premise. Alcohol orders must also be accompanied by a food order and follow all other requirements in TABC's Industry Notice. It's a criminal offense to knowingly possess an open container in a passenger area of a motor vehicle. Prior to delivering a mixed alcoholic beverage or providing the beverage to go, it must be in a closed or sealed container. If the covering or lid on the top of the container has any holes that would provide a way to consume the beverage with the lid intact, it would constitute an illegal open container. TABC agents will continue their efforts to ensure businesses are complying with the governor's executive orders, including those limiting on-premise alcohol service. Meanwhile, businesses with questions about the new guidelines are encouraged to contact their local TABC office or check the agency's Coronavirus Information Page at www.tabc.texas.gov/coronavirus. For more information about the state's response to COVID-19 as well as efforts to re-open the economy, visit www.open.texas.gov. Media Contact: Bryan Black Director of Communications and External Relations (512) 206-3361

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June 24, 2020

TABC to Continue Operation Safe Open This Weekend; Checking Bars/Restaurants for COVID-19 Safety Requirements

AUSTIN — Following an initial round of inspections that resulted in the permit suspensions for 17 bars and restaurants, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission this weekend will continue Operation Safe Open, a statewide effort to ensure bars and restaurants are complying with requirements to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Last weekend, TABC agents visited nearly 600 businesses. The enforcement effort comes after a nearly six-week-long outreach effort by TABC to educate business owners about the state's health and safety requirements, which were enacted by Gov. Greg Abbott in early May. These requirements include indoor maximum capacity limits of 75% for restaurants and 50% for bars, as well as six-foot social distancing requirements between groups both indoors and outdoors. Businesses found in violation of these requirements face a 30-day suspension of their license to sell alcohol for the first offense. "The fact that there were fewer than 20 violations found among 600 businesses inspected shows that bar and restaurant owners are taking their responsibilities seriously," TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles said. "Our goal throughout Operation Safe Open is to encourage Texas businesses to operate safely, only those which put their customers' lives in danger will face penalties." As part of this weekend's operation, TABC will work with local law enforcement and code enforcement officials to identify locations where violations may be taking place. The agency is also asking concerned citizens to report possible violations by emailing complaints@tabc.texas.gov, calling 1-888-THE-TABC, or by using the free TABC:Mobile application for Apple and Android devices. "It will take all of us working together to reduce the spread of COVID-19," Nettles said. "Texas' bars and restaurants will play a critical role in growing our state's economy, and following the state's guidelines will allow them to fulfill this role while keeping their customers and employees safe." For more information about requirements for bars and restaurants to reduce the spread of COVID-19, visit the Governor's Open Texas Strike Force webpage at www.open.texas.gov. For more information about TABC's efforts to assist businesses during the pandemic, visit tabc.texas.gov/coronavirus. Media Contact: Bryan Black Director of Communications and External Relations (512) 206-3361

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June 22, 2020

Alcohol Permits for 17 Bars Suspended Following Weekend Operation to Protect Texans

AUSTIN — Following a weekend of undercover operations, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission found evidence to suspend the permits of 17 bars and restaurants. Operation Safe Open is an effort by TABC agents to inspect businesses across Texas to ensure they're following protocols to slow the spread of COVID-19. These requirements include indoor customer capacity limits of 50% for bars and 75% for restaurants, along with social distancing of at least 6 feet between groups of customers. "These violations represent a very small number of the 3,500 licensed businesses inspected by TABC since the beginning of May," TABC Chairman Kevin J. Lilly said. "A large majority of business owners are showing their commitment to keeping customers and employees safe, and we're grateful for all of their hard work. TABC is committed to assisting the industry as we all work for a safe Texas." "Protecting the health and safety of Texans during this pandemic is our top priority," TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles said. "I'm incredibly proud of all the TABC employees working to ensure Texas bars and restaurants are able to operate safely. Our goal from the start has been to educate business owners about the requirements of the Governor's executive order, and our Enforcement, Legal and Communications teams have done outstanding work to keep the industry and the public informed on ways to stay safe while helping to reopen the Texas economy." The businesses issued an emergency order for a 30-day permit suspension are: Monday Burnhouse, San Antonio The Cantina (W. Exchange Ave.), Fort Worth Soho Lounge, Austin Siete Banderas, Laredo Electric Cowboy, Longview Sunday Handlebar Houston, Houston BARge 295, Seabrook Harris House of Heroes, Dallas The New PR's, Fort Worth UnBARlievable (West 6th), Austin Little Woodrow's, Lubbock Coconuts, El Paso Saturday Buford's Backyard Beer Garden, Austin Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot Icehouse, Austin Friday Werk Bar, El Paso Marty's Live, Dallas Elevate Night Club, McAllen TABC is strictly monitoring bar and restaurant activity and will pursue emergency license suspensions if there are violations that are a threat to public health and safety. TABC has the authority to suspend any license that poses a continuing threat to the public welfare. The first infraction will result in up to a 30-day license suspension, and the second will result in up to a 60-day suspension. The Governor's Strike Force to Open Texas has developed specific guidelines bars and restaurants must follow to safely restart their businesses. To see the guidelines and learn more about the governor's efforts to reopen Texas, visit open.texas.gov. Find TABC's resources for businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic at tabc.texas.gov/coronavirus. Media Contact: Bryan Black Director of Communications and External Relations (512) 206-3361

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