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TABC 2021 Changes | What Your Business Needs to Know

DATE: 25th August, 2022

We summarize the latest TABC 2021 changes that impact alcohol orders to-go and delivery for eligible permittees in Texas.

TABC 2021 Main Changes

The COVID-19 pandemic had wide ranging negative impacts on restaurants and other alcoholic beverage retailers. With many customers reluctant or unable to dine in, or shop in person, the legislature looked for ways to ease the financial burden on affected retail businesses and restaurants that serve alcohol.

On May 12, 2021, Governor Abbott signed into law House Bill 1024 which makes many of the changes which were originally just temporary now permanent and the law of the land in Texas. The law is aimed at improving revenue, helping businesses stay open, and therefore benefit the thousands of workers they employ.

There are several other changes to the law. Many of which are highlighted here, but it’s important to head to the TABC website>a to learn more, and read exactly what has changed for your specific license type.

Overview of Other Changes

The new law affects several different aspects of the alcohol beverage sales process, from permit applications, to issuing a new license, fees, and more. Other changes include the number of different types of licenses, days and hours of permitted sales, technology and more.

All retailers engaged in the sale of beer, wine, liquor or other spirits need to be aware of these changes. While the changes have made it easier to thrive in this economy, it’s important to remain compliant with the law so you don’t put your business in jeopardy. Here’s a summary of some of the biggest changes.

Applying for licenses

The biggest change in the application process for an alcohol permit is that now, applicants are required to use the new Alcohol Industry Management System (AIMS) portal. This convenient online portal allows users to complete all necessary tasks for licensing, register their products and produce excise tax reports.

License Changes

The license structure was greatly simplified. Previously there were 75 different types of licenses and that has now undergone consolidation cutting that number down to 37. Additionally, many businesses were required to hold multiple types of licensing, and most businesses are able to consolidate into just one.

There's a new fee structure that took effect on September 1, 2021. This applies to fees collected by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) only. Any fee paid to the local governments or is most likely not changing. Fees range from $900 up $2600 for retail. Nonprofit Temporary event fees are only $50 per day for up to 10 days.

Technology Changes

The AIMS technology is going to make the process for applying for and managing new permits, submitting forms and making applications easier than ever. New users will complete an “onboarding” process to get set up with the new system. A video walk-through and FAQs are available on the TABC website.

Use of the AIM system is mandatory, and as holders' existing licenses expire, they’ll need to complete the onboarding process as well. This will make the entire process user friendly and efficient for everyone. AIMS is also used for new temporary event permits or to submit payment.

Beer and Ale

One of the most interesting changes to come is the sunsetting of the distinction between beer and ale. Under the new TABC 2021, beer and ale are both treated as a “malt beverage.” The previous law classified beer as malt beverages containing 4% or less of alcohol by weight. Ale had more than 4% by weight.

Under the new law, malt beverages are defined as fermented and containing .5% or more of alcohol by volume. This greatly simplifies the law and licensing structure.

Alcoholic Beverage Sales

Alcohol sales to the public on certain days have undergone a change as well. Previously, grocery and convenience stores couldn’t sell alcohol until after 12:00pm on a Sunday. Now, they can start selling liquor as early as 10:00am.

Additionally, the new law provides for alcohol delivery through services like DoorDash, Drizly, Instacart and more. These services are permitted to deliver alcohol any time on Sunday.

Legal Requirements for Establishments Engaging in To-go or Delivery of Alcohol

There’s a variety of different requirements to sell alcoholic beverages to-go or to be delivered. Learn more by visiting TABC’s website and consulting their helpful chart. Different license holders have different requirements and regulations.

Some license holders, Mixed Beverage with FB required, for instance, can only provide pickup or to-go alcohol if it accompanies a food order. Other licenses do not have this requirement.

Most beverages need to be in original sealed containers. Certain retail locations may not permit the alcohol to be consumed on premise. Brewer’s license holders can’t sell more than 288 fluid ounces to the same person in a day. This is just a sample of the different regulations that apply to different license holders, so it’s best to check the chart and look at the restrictions and allowances for the specific license you hold.

  1. https://www.tabc.texas.gov/services/tabc-2021-changes/
  2. https://www.tabc.texas.gov/static/sites/default/files/2021-08/tabc-sept-2021-two-year-licensing-fees.pdf