Statewide TABC back-to-school undercover operations catch 131 retailers selling alcohol to minors
AUSTIN — A statewide effort by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to enforce Texas’ underage drinking laws found that 14% of the more than 1,100 retailers visited during the operation sold alcohol to a minor.
The finding was part of a statewide push timed to coincide with the start of the college fall semester. During the operation, minor-aged volunteers under the supervision of undercover TABC agents entered licensed retailers where they attempted to buy alcohol. While similar operations regularly occur across the state, the back-to-school operation targeted retailers in cities where colleges or universities are located during the month of August.
In all, TABC agents conducted a total of 1,131 underage compliance operations across the state, finding a total of 131 violations, or a compliance rate of 86%. The high compliance rate is a testament to retailers’ efforts to keep employees informed of the law’s requirements, according to TABC Executive Director Thomas Graham.
“Our state’s alcohol retailers are the first line of defense when it comes to preventing the illegal sale of alcohol to minors,” Graham said. “While TABC will continue to hold violators accountable, our first goal is to serve as a resource to help educate businesses and ultimately keep them in compliance.”
Businesses cited for selling alcohol to a minor could face TABC administrative action including a civil fine and the temporary or permanent suspension of their liquor license. Individual employees who sell alcohol to minors could also face Class A misdemeanor charges.
Businesses seeking more information about underage drinking laws can download free educational materials at www.2young2drink.com and tabc.texas.gov/public-safety/retailer-resources/. Business owners can also request free training by TABC auditors on best practices to avoid selling alcohol to minors.
TABC Public Information Officer