TABC Venue Regulations

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) is the state agency regulating all phases of the alcoholic beverage industry in Texas. It is important to ensure compliance with TABC regulations at the risk of prosecution. Contact your regional field office concerning your particular venue. Phone numbers are available at: http://www.tabc.state.tx.us/contact_us/local_field_office.asp. The is section was created by TMO legal fellowship intern Emily Burrows during the summer of 2009.

Disclaimer: The Texas Music Office does not intend for this advice to provide or replace professional legal advice in any way. These suggestions are only intended to provide a short-answer reference guide to the basic legal and business practices associated with the music industry. In your own interest, consult with an attorney before entering into any contractual agreement or taking any action against copyright infringement.


What if I want to sell alcohol at my venue?

You cannot sell alcohol without having an appropriate license or permit.1 There is a potential for fines and/or jail time if you sell alcohol without TABC authorization.2

TABC offers a complete retailers guide at http://www.tabc.state.tx.us/publications/licensing/GuideRetailers.pdf. Consult the guide for a broad overview of the process including personal history forms, business packets, city notifications and city clerk certifications.

Types of Licenses & Permits:

Beer Licenses

  • Wine and Beer Retailer’s Permit3
    • Permit authorizes the holder to sell for consumption on or off the premises where sold (but not for resale), beer, ale, malt liquor and wine not more than 14 percent or 17 percent (depending on type of local-option election).
    • Requires adequate seating area for customers.
    • Cost:
      • Dallas, Harris & Tarrant Counties: $1,235.00 (original) & $985.00 (renewal)
      • Excluding Dallas, Harris & Tarrant Counties: $410.00
  • Retail Dealer’s On-Premise License4
    • License authorizes holder to sell beer for consumption on or off premises in a lawful container to the ultimate consumer, but not for resale.
    • Requires adequate seating area for customers.
    • Cost:
      • Dallas, Harris & Tarrant Counties: $1,235.00 (original) & $985.00 (renewal)
      • Excluding Dallas, Harris & Tarrant Counties: $385.00
  • Retail Dealer’s On-Premise Late Hours License5
    • License authorizes a Retail Dealer's On-Premise license or Wine and Beer Retailer's permit holder to sell and serve wine, beer, and ale until 2 A.M.
    • Cost: $389.00
  • Brewpub License6
    • License authorizes the holder to manufacture, brew, bottle, can, package and label malt liquor, ale, and beer and to sell or offer without charge, on the premises of the brewpub, to consumers for consumption on or off those premises.
    • The license must be held with permit or license authorizing on-premises consumption (see above).
    • Cost: $681.00

Liquor Permits

 

  • Mixed Beverage Permit7
    • Permit authorizes the holder to sell mixed drinks from unsealed containers and wine, beer, ale and malt liquor in containers of any legal size for on-premises consumption.
    • Cost:
      • Original 2 year permit: $6,512.00
      • 1st renewal: $5,012.00
      • 2nd renewal: $3,512.00
      • 3rd and all subsequent renewals: $2012.00
  • Mixed Beverage Late Hours Permit8
    • Permit authorizes a Mixed Beverage permit holder to sell mixed beverages until 2 A.M.
    • Cost: $578.00 (2 year permit)

Alcohol Served With Food

  • Food and Beverage Certificate9
    • The certificate may be issued to the holder of a Beer Retailer’s On-Premise Permit or Wine and Beer Retailer’s Permit if food service is the primary business being operated on the licensed premises OR to the holder of a Mixed Beverage Permit or Private Club Permit if food service is available on the premises and the gross receipts of alcoholic beverages do not exceed 50 percent of total gross receipts.
    • Cost: $690.00 (2 year permit when subordinate of liquor)
  • Mixed Beverage Permit with Food & Beverage Certificate10
    • Permit authorizes a restaurant located in an area voted wet for the legal sale of mixed beverages in restaurant by food and beverage certificate holder to sell mixed drinks, wine, beer, ale and malt liquor for consumption on the premises of the restaurant.
    • Cost:
      • Original 2 year permit: $6,512.00
      • 1st renewal: $5,012.00
      • 2nd renewal: $3,512.00
      • 3rd and all subsequent renewals: $2012.00

Caterer’s Permits

  • Caterer’s Permit11
    • Someone who holds a caterer’s permit may sell mixed beverages on a temporary basis at a place other than the premises that the permit holder’s permit is issued in.12 In order to obtain a caterer’s permit, the applicant must already possess a mixed beverage permit.13 A TABC supervisor must approve the caterer’s permit if there will be alcoholic beverage industry sponsorship or advertising (donations of money or product).14 Additionally, if the event will be held in a park, public facility, commercial building or as an outdoor festival, TABC must receive written authorization (use permit or letter) from the facility owner/management.15
    • Cost: $1,236.00 (2 year permit)

What liabilities might I face?

  • Criminal Liabilities:
    • Criminal negligence for furnishing alcohol to a minor16
    • Criminal negligence for selling to an habitual drunkard or an intoxicated or insane person17
  • TABC Regulations:
    • Depending on the severity of your violations, you may have your TABC license suspended or revoked (and may be potentially barred from reapplying) or have to pay a fine18
    • TABC is legally authorized to enter a licensed premise without permission or notification.19 Minors are permitted to attempt to purchase alcohol for sting operations on behalf of TABC.20
  • Civil Liabilities:
    • If someone you serve becomes intoxicated and causes bodily injury or property damage, you may be liable for damages to the injured party21
  • There may also be local laws prohibiting loud events in certain areas. Contact your local law enforcement agency for all applicable rules before opening a venue. For more information, see our section.

Server Training

  • An employer will not be responsible for their employee’s sale of alcohol to a minor or intoxicated person if the employer requires their employees to attend a TABC commission-approved seller training program and the employer has not directly or indirectly encouraged the employee to violate the law.22

 


1 TEX. ALCO. BEV. CODE ANN. § 61.01
2 Id. at § 1.05(a)
3 Id. at Ch. 25
4 Id. at Ch. 69
5 Id. at Ch. 70
6 Id. at Ch. 74
7 Id. at Ch. 28
8 Id. at Ch. 29
9 Id. at Ch. 25
10 Id. at Ch. 28
11 Id. at Ch. 31
12 Id. at § 31.01
13 Id. at § 31.03
14 TABC Catering Certificate Request Form L
15 Id.
16 Id. at § 106.03(a)
17 Id. at § 101.63(a)
18 16 TEX. ADMIN. CODE Part 3, Ch. 34 – Schedule of Sanctions & Penalties
19 TABC § 101.04
20 See TABC §§ 106.02, .05; Phillips v. State, 161 S.W.3d 511
21 TABC § 2.02(a)
22 TABC § 106.14