Texas Legislators Consider Making ‘Alcohol to Go’ Permanent

AUSTIN (WBAP/KLIF) – Texas legislators will take up key issues like the state budget and education this legislative session but will also consider making a temporary waiver surrounding alcohol-to-go permanent.

Senator Kelly Hancock and Representative Charlie Geren filed SB 298 / HB 1094 to make permanent Governor Abbott’s emergency waiver allowing restaurants to safely sell alcohol with pickup and delivery food orders. The Texas Restaurant Association  worked closely with both legislators and many stakeholders in the alcoholic beverage industry to craft this legislation, which it believes will be instrumental in the restaurant industry’s recovery from the devastation caused by COVID-19.

“The Texas Restaurant Association and our members applaud Chairman Hancock, Chairman Geren, and all of the restaurant allies whose support resulted in the filing of SB 298 / HB 1094 today,” said Emily Williams Knight, Ed.D., President and CEO of TRA. “Without Governor Abbott’s temporary waiver allowing restaurants to safely sell alcohol with their to-go food orders, Texas would have seen many more restaurants – small and large – close their doors and lose their employees because of this pandemic. We know the road to recovery will be long, which is precisely why we need tools like alcohol to-go to become permanent. But even more than that, the filing of this bill is exciting because it demonstrates that Texas is ready, not just to rebuild, but to rebuild stronger than ever.”

SB 298 / HB 1094 would make permanent Governor Abbott’s emergency waiver allowing restaurants to safely sell alcohol to-go. More specifically, restaurants with a mixed beverage permit and a food and beverage certificate from TABC will be able to sell beer, wine, and cocktails with food orders that are purchased for pickup or delivery, including through third-party delivery companies.

“Chairman Hancock and I have been working alongside TRA, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, and other stakeholders over the past several months on legislation to allow restaurants with mixed beverage permits to safely sell alcohol to-go directly to their customers, or to be delivered by third-party delivery companies,” said Representative Geren, Chairman of House Administration. “I look forward to working with the legislature to pass this bill that will be a valuable revenue source to help our Texas restaurants come back from the devastating impacts of the pandemic.”

According to the TRA, the bill also codifies key safety provisions in the Governor’s waiver, including the requirement that all alcoholic beverages be sealed either in their original, manufacturer-sealed container, or in a tamper-proof container that is labeled with the business’ name and the words “alcoholic beverage.”

Listen to Clayton Neville’s story below:

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