News

Bill Filed to Make Alcohol To Go Permanent in Texas

Jan 7
2021

AUSTIN – Today, 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 (TRA) worked closely with both legislators and many stakeholders in the alcoholic beverage industry to craft this legislation, which 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.”

“Texas is a reliably pro-business state,” said Senator Hancock, Chairman of the Texas Senate's Business & Commerce Committee. “That's why our top-ten global economy was so strong and well-positioned before the virus hit, and it’s why we’re determined to learn and adapt just like businesses across our great state are doing. Making proven, effective regulatory rollbacks permanent is an important step, and I’m glad to partner with Texas restaurants in this effort.”

“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.”

"The Texas Package Stores Association looks forward to working with and helping our friends in the Texas restaurant business on their cocktails-to-go legislative initiative,” said Lance Lively, Executive Director of the Texas Package Stores Association. “We are interested in supporting laws that meet the restaurant industry and consumer priorities while always preserving important public safety standards.”

“The Texas Restaurant Association looks forward to working with the Texas Legislature and all interested stakeholders to ensure SB 298 / HB 1094 passes and is signed into law this session,” said Williams Knight. “This pandemic has been an incredibly difficult time for the food and beverage industry, but our restaurants are resilient and ready to rebuild, and permanent tools like alcohol to-go will help immensely.”

Background
SB 298 / HB 1094 makes 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. 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.”

About the Texas Restaurant Association
The Texas Restaurant Association was formed in 1937 to serve as the advocate in Texas and the indispensable resource for the foodservice industry. Today, as a leading business association, TRA represents the state’s $70 billion restaurant industry, which is comprised of more than 50,000 locations and a workforce of 1.3 million employees. Along with the Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation, the Association protects, advances, and educates the growing industry.

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