Actually, getting approval in Texas is extremely difficult. However, it is possible to apply online and it is one of the states that have adapted with the times, which makes things a whole lot easier. That’s not to say there are lenient laws in Texas, though. In addition to rules for businesses, business owners, and employees, there are also many beer and liquor licenses to apply for.
If you are a business owner, go through our guidelines s to get a better understanding of how to get a liquor license in Texas.
- 1. What’s a Liquor License?
- 2. Types of Texas Liquor Licenses
- 3. How to Qualify for a Texas Liquor License
- 4. Eligibility for a Texas Liquor License
- 5. How Much Is a Liquor License?
- 6. TABC Licensing Courses
- 7. Alcohol Permit Requirements in Texas
- 8. Liquor and Beer License – Application Process
- 9. TABC Certificate
- 10. How Long Should I Wait for a Texas Liquor License?
- 11. Application Status of a TABC License
- 12. Renewals of TABC Licenses and Permits
- 13. TABC License and Permit Fees
- 14. Fines & Penalties
- 15. How to Make the Process Simpler
What’s a Liquor License?
First of all, let’s see what a liquor license is. It’s a government permit for selling alcoholic beverages. While it may sound simple, it should be noted that there are different types of liquor licenses. Once you realize what license you need to sell alcoholic beverages in a specific location, you will have to familiarize yourself with the laws that apply in that place or area.
Remember that the alcohol laws vary between states. For example, the number of places that can sell liquor at a time is limited in some states. If you run several new restaurants or bars in any of these states, you will have a hard time getting a liquor license at once.
Furthermore, there’s a specific Alcoholic Beverage Control board in each state. Aside from regulating the sale of alcohol, alcoholic beverage control agencies are supposed to help businesses understand the local laws and get information on liquor licenses in their state.
Types of Texas Liquor Licenses
What type of liquor license you need will depend mostly on how and where you intend to sell liquor.
- An on-license license is necessary to sell liquor consumed on business premises, such as restaurants and bars.
- Off-license is required for selling the liquor consumed off the business premises (in places like a grocery store or liquor store).
In Texas, 43 types of permits and liquor licenses apply to different types of drinks and businesses. You might be required to obtain several different types of liquor licenses to run your business. For instance, you should get separate liquor licenses for transporting alcohol to the premises and serving alcoholic beverages in Texas.
Be sure to know what licenses you need before completing the application process. The most common Texas liquor licenses include:
- B (Brewer’s Permit) – Permits to manufacture malt and ale
- BA (Manufacturer’s License) – Allows producing beer, alcohol, and liquor
- BB (General Distributor’s License) – Permits sale of beer to local distributors, retailers, and private clubs.
- BE (Retail Dealer’s On-Premise License) – Grants permission to sell beer for consumption off or on-premises.
- BF (Retail Dealer’s Off-Premise License) – Allows selling beer that will be consumed off the premises of the business.
- BG (Wine and Beer Retailer’s Permit) – Grants permission to sell malt liquor, ale, wine, and beer not more than 14% or 17%, depending on the type of drink.
- BI (Importer’s License) – Enables beer importation from outside of the state.
- MB (Mixed Beverage Permit) – Permits sale of mixed drinks from unsealed containers, while allowing on-premise consumption of ale, malt liquor, wine, and beer in containers that have a legal size.
- V (Wine and Beer Retailer’s Permit) – Grants permission to sell wine and beer (up to 14% or 17%) on excursion boats for immediate consumption.
- Z (Wine Bottler’s Permit) – Permits to import wine from Nonresident Sellers so that the packaging, bottle, and label can be changed by the permit holder before the sale.
NOTE: If you fail to apply for the required license(s) for some reason, your ability to produce, store, sell, and transport alcohol might be delayed in Texas.
How to Qualify for a Texas Liquor License
In order to obtain the proper license, you will be required by Texas law to distribute, produce, or sell alcohol properly. The qualification guidelines for the distribution, production, and sale of alcohol are regulated by the government agency called Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC).
Please note that you will need additional certification in case you run a retail business that involves selling alcohol for on-premises consumption. The same goes for selling alcohol privately at locations away from the businesses.
When it comes to special events, those planning to include alcohol sales as part of their fundraiser or event can qualify for liquor licenses too.
Eligibility for a Texas Liquor License
You’ll not be able to obtain a Texas liquor license if you:
- Broke the Texas alcohol/liquor code at least 2 years before the application.
- Got a felony conviction up to 5 years before applying for a new license.
- Acted in violation of rules on the alcohol code within the past 6 months so that it’s regarded as “moral turpitude.”
You must be 21 or older to obtain a Texas alcoholic beverage license, provided that you don’t have any tax debt. Additionally, you will have to prove “good moral character.”
How Much Is a Liquor License?
Liquor licenses in Texas go between $25 and $17,500. Wine and beer liquor licenses, for example, can cost $1,000 only. Chat with the local restaurants and bars to get a better idea of the license cost in your area. You can also review the areas similar in scope and size to yours.
Also, you need to take a look at the Permit and License Fees Chart. It’s worth a look! This chart provides an insight into the total cost of surcharges and expenses based on the license/permit fees. That will help you get a clear picture of the amount that should be paid when renewing or applying for a liquor license in Texas.
TABC Licensing Courses
It’s important to mention that permits and licenses expire 2 years after being issued. Don’t worry, you will be notified by TABC on time. Be sure to take a course before applying for a liquor license. That will help you get a richer understanding of your license responsibilities.
While it isn’t required, you should consider including a copy of your certificate when making an application for a license or permit. Reach out to the local TABC office as soon as you can if your permit/license is not listed for a course.
Who Is Eligible to Take the Course?
|If the applicant is:||Course can be taken by:|
|Proprietorship – individual||Individual|
|Limited liability company||Manager and/or officer|
|Limited partnership||General partner|
|Limited liability partnership||General partner|
|City/county/university||Primary public official|
What Courses Are Available in Texas?
Once you’ve reviewed your course carefully, you need to print out and submit your completion certificate with your application. It should be submitted to the local TABC office. Listed below are courses available:
- Beer Retail Dealer’s On-Premise License (BE)
- Beer Retail Dealer’s On-Premise License (BE )with a Brewpub License (BP)
- Beer Retail Dealer’s On-Premise License (BE) with a Food & Beverage Certificate (FB)
- Beer Retail Dealer’s Off-Premise License (BF)
- Consumer Delivery Permit (CD)
- Caterer’s Permit (CB)
- Daily Temporary Mixed Beverage Permit (TB)
- Mixed Beverage Permit (MB) with a Food & Beverage Certificate (FB)
- Mixed Beverage Permit (MB) with a Brewpub License (BP)
- Mixed Beverage Restaurant Permit with FB (RM)
- Mixed Beverage Permit (MB)
- Private Club Registration Permit (N)
- Private Club Beer & Wine Permit (NB)
- Private Club Exemption Certificate Permit (NE)
- Package Store Permit (P) with a Local Distributor’s Permit (LP), Package Store Tasting Permit (PS), and Local Cartage Permit (E)
- Temporary Permit Auction (CA)
- Temporary Beer or Wine & Beer License (BH)
- Temporary – Special 3-Day Wine & Beer Permit (SB)
- Temporary Wine & Beer Retail with a 4-Day Permit for Non-Profit Historic Preservation (HP)
- Wine & Beer Retailer’s Permit (BG)
- Wine & Beer Retailer’s Off-Premise Permit (BQ)
- Wine & Beer Retailer’s Permit (BG) with a Food & Beverage Certificate (FB)
- Wine & Beer Retailer’s Permit (BG) with a Brewpub License (BP)
- Wholesaler’s Permit (W) and Private Carrier’s Permit (O)
Alcohol Permit Requirements in Texas
Your business will have to meet some requirements when applying for a Texas alcohol permit. Make sure that verification is provided from a city clerk operating in the zone where alcohol is permitted.
Furthermore, you need to have no felony convictions during the past 5 years and no violations associated with moral turpitude within the past 6 months. That’s not all. You should have no violations of liquor laws during the past 2 years to get an alcohol permit.
Liquor and Beer License – Application Process
Did you figure out what type of license(s) you needed? If yes, you’re all set to start the application process. Visit the TABC website and start filling in the forms needed. Make sure to submit the correct forms. Otherwise, your license will be denied. It takes up to 12 months to get approved sometimes, so be patient.
Dealing with paperwork can be a difficult task for some people. Luckily, there are service agencies in Texas that can handle your application and paperwork for you. Look for them in your district. These service agencies are particularly helpful for those running several businesses.
Applying for a TABC Temporary Permits
This type of license is required for those selling alcohol during short-term events such as festivals and fairs. It’s not required for an event that doesn’t involve selling alcoholic drinks. The temporary permit is typically geared towards businesses having a liquor license that plan to host events off-premise for civic, religious, and charitable organizations.
Applying for On-Premise Consumption
You will need to submit the Form L-ON when applying for an on-premise beer license. Keep in mind that the application must be done with the certificate/permit for late-hour operations. There are some additional requirements for those operating excursion boats, buffets, or club cars. They are also required to get a county clerk certificate submitted. It is intended to verify the wine and/or beer alcohol content, depending on what type of alcoholic beverage is serving.
Whether you operate a business establishment, restaurant, or nightclub, it has to be placed in a wet area. Make sure alcohol consumption is legal in that area to avoid problems with the local laws. In addition, make sure the application process includes your city or county certificate that is meant to verify this fact.
Applying for Off-Premise Consumption
Establishments or businesses selling alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption must submit the Form L-OFF. Just as with on-premises liquor licenses, the business establishments must be located in wet areas. That fact should be verified by presenting a city or county certificate. When it comes to package stores that sell liquor, they need to announce the business opening by publishing a notification in the newspaper.
Every employee that sells alcoholic drinks in Texas is required to possess a certificate for Alcohol & Beverage Commission. This card-like TABC certificate shows that small businesses and employees have completed a course. You and your employees can take this course individually or together.
How Long Should I Wait for a Texas Liquor License?
It usually takes from 45 to 60 days to obtain a liquor license in Texas. Please note that it depends on the kind of permit or license. Besides, this time frame also depends on the type of certification in the county and city of the proposed location. Sometimes it takes more than two months to get a license/permit. That said, you should start your application process at your earliest opportunity.
Application Status of a TABC License
If you have a pending permit or license application, you can check your status online by clicking here. They update the License Information System on a daily basis. Under “Status Type,” you will see the “Pending Original” option. It allows you to check the pending original application with a simple click of the mouse.
Renewals of TABC Licenses and Permits
In Texas, it’s possible to renew TABC licenses and permits online through the Public Inquiry System. It is just one click away from you. Once you visit this online portal, you’ll notice the Licensing button. Simply click it to initiate the renewal process. Alternatively, the license and permit forms can be submitted by mail or in person. Check this page for more information.
TABC License and Permit Fees
It is always a good idea to contact local tax assessor-collectors before renewing a TABC license or permit. This will ensure that you get the correct information about local fees. It should be noted that the state fee is separate from the local fee. Many Texas cities require local fees for TABC licenses or permits.
Fines & Penalties
TABC standards tend to change over time, so you should always stay tuned to avoid penalties and fines. Undercover TABC officers occasionally visit establishments all year round and they can do this at any point without warning you. The officers may check everything from unlicensed beverages to completion of a TABC course for employees. They may also check whether you serve alcohol to minors.
Be sure to meet TABC standards. In the worst-case scenario, you will lose your alcohol license and your business will end up being shut down after receiving multiple fines. Go to the TABC official website and take a look at the penalty charts on the TABC Violations page to see all the fines in Texas.
It’s not uncommon for bars, restaurants, and clubs to be fined for one reason or another. Here are some of the most common reasons for revoking licenses in Texas:
- Serving intoxicated customers or minors
- Being drunk at work
- Selling or providing alcohol during unauthorized times
- Allowing an activity that is not legal
- Having poor documentation
- Purchasing alcohol from people who are not legal distributors
- Refilling wine or liquor bottles with cheap stuff
How to Make the Process Simpler
Applying for a liquor license or permit can be overwhelming and complicated for some business owners and entrepreneurs. That’s why they often ask for help besides bringing legal counsel to their licensing hearing. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the TABC whenever you want. Reach out to their business development experts and advocates. In addition to walking clients through the licensing process, they can also make it easier to complete the application.