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How to Prep for Your TABC Exam


As a bartender or food handler, prepping for your TABC exam is difficult. Not only is it one of the most important things you can do for your career, if you work in an establishment that serves alcohol, it’s required by law.

What is the TABC?

So first of all, let’s quickly define the TABC--after all, it’s not just an exam you have to take. It stands for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, and was established by the Texas state government back in 1935.

According to Wikipedia, the TABC has the authority to:

  • "Grant, refuse, suspend, or cancel permits and licenses in all phases of the alcoholic beverage industry
  • Supervise, inspect, and regulate the manufacturing, importation, exportation, transportation, sale, storage, distribution, and possession of alcoholic beverages
  • Assess and collect fees and taxes
  • Investigate for violations of the Alcoholic Beverage Code and assist in the prosecution of violators
  • Seize illicit beverages
  • Adopt standards of quality and approve labels and size of containers for all alcoholic beverages sold in Texas
  • Pass rules to assist the agency in all of the above
  • In addition to their regulatory roles, TABC agents are fully empowered state police officers with statewide criminal jurisdiction and may make arrests for any offense."

What Need to Know for the Test

So for those needing to crack open the books and start studying, here are a few of the many things you need to know before taking your TABC certification exam.

  • There is no minimum age to obtain a TABC certification, although there are a few stipulations. If you’re “off premises” i.e. at a grocery store, there is no age restriction on permit-holders. If you’re a server at a bar/restaurant, you must be 18 or older to hold a proper TABC certification.
  • You cannot transfer your certification ownership to others.
  • According to the TABC, “It is ILLEGAL to take any alcoholic beverage into a restaurant/bar that has a private club permit or a mixed beverage permit (distilled spirits in addition to beer/wine). You can't leave with an alcoholic beverage, unless it is a malt beverage produced by a brewpub, or you are leaving with a bottle of wine you bought with a meal and did not finish. Section 28.10 of the Alcoholic Beverage Code says, "A mixed beverage permittee may not permit any person to take any alcoholic beverage purchased on the licensed premises from the premises where sold, except that a person who orders wine with food and has a portion of the open container remaining may remove the open container of wine from the premises."
  • Furthermore, the TABC also say, “it is LEGAL to take alcoholic beverages into or out of a restaurant/bar that has a beer/wine permit (no distilled spirits), or an establishment that does not have a permit to sell alcohol. However, the business may have their own rules against it. If the business allows you to bring your own alcoholic beverages onto their premises, it is legal for them to charge you a fee. It is often referred to as a "corkage fee," especially when it refers to a bottle of wine brought into a restaurant. Some bars also sell "set ups" which refers to cups of ice or soda that the customer buys and mixes with their own distilled spirits.”
  • Minors are not allowed on premises where alcohol is packaged or sold unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Those are just a few of the many rules and regulations you’ll need to know to pass your TABC certification course. For more information on what you need to know to get your TABC certification, visit the TABC website here. Please allow 30-60 days for those who have passed the course and are looking to receive a permit.

Ready to enroll in a course? Visit our TABC course training page here and get started!