AUSTIN, TX (May 12, 2021) - Today, Governor Abbott signed HB 1094 by Representative Geren and Senator Hancock, making permanent restaurants’ ability to safely sell alcohol with pickup and delivery food orders. The Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) worked closely with Gov. Abbott, the Texas Legislature, and stakeholders throughout the alcoholic beverage industry to craft this legislation, which will be instrumental in the restaurant industry’s recovery from the pandemic.
“The Texas Restaurant Association and our members applaud Gov. Abbott and the Texas Legislature for fast-tracking HB 1024 to ensure restaurants maintain their ability to sell alcohol to-go,” said Emily Williams Knight, Ed.D., President and CEO of TRA. “Gov. Abbott’s emergency waiver allowing alcohol to-go during the pandemic saved thousands of restaurant jobs, creating a new revenue stream and unleashing the innovation that restaurants will need to rebuild from the pandemic. We still have a long road to recovery ahead, but with tools like alcohol to-go, the restaurant industry’s future is brighter than ever in Texas.”
Alcohol to-go was one of the few silver linings in a very difficult year, becoming extremely popular amongst Texas restaurants and consumers. A May 2020 survey by the National Restaurant Association found that 81% of Texans are in favor of making alcohol to-go permanent, with 42% saying they strongly favor it. The survey also found that the vast majority of restaurants that sell alcohol were taking advantage of the ability to sell alcohol to-go, allowing them to rehire employees.
“Alcohol to-go is exactly what restaurants need and Texans want,” said Ellis Winstanley, President of Cozumel Empresas, the holding company for El Arroyo in Austin, Texas. “Restaurants are about experiences, and alcohol to-go lets restaurants give their customers a more complete experience from the comfort of their home. We are very thankful that our governor and the legislature have taken the opportunity to support the restaurant community and our customers!”
Because HB 1024 passed overwhelmingly in the Texas Legislature, it becomes effective immediately. TRA will continue to work closely with the Governor’s Office, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), the industry, and all relevant stakeholders to ensure its implementation is safe and efficient.
HB 1094 by Rep. Geren and Sen. Hancock makes permanent Gov. Abbott’s emergency waiver allowing restaurants to safely sell alcohol to-go. More specifically, restaurants with a food and beverage certificate and either a mixed beverage permit or a private club registration from TABC may 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.