Austin, Texas, is well known for its lively nightlife, particularly its music venues. With nearly a million residents and tens of millions of tourists annually, the establishments stay rocking and slinging drinks. Even more businesses of this type pop up in the city every year. In order to do so, much like a public assembly permit, so people can lawfully occupy the space, they need to have a valid liquor license or permit from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC). Selling alcohol without a valid license or permit is illegal in the state. Monshaugen & Van Huff, P.C. can help Austin, Texas businesses obtain the proper TABC licenses or permits. Simply contact us to get started.

Austin, Texas TABC Licenses


Establishments That Need a Permit

Any place of business that plans to sell alcohol, which includes drinks that will be consumed on- or off-premise, has to have a TABC permit. This includes a:

  • Bar
  • Restaurant
  • Food business that sells mixed or straight drinks
  • Nightclub
  • Liquor store
  • Music hall

Additionally, those in the alcohol-making or distributing business must have a valid permit as well. This includes a:

  • Brewery
  • Winery
  • Distillery
  • Rectifier

What Permit Type Do You Need?

There are multiple TABC liquor licenses and permits that Austin applicants can apply for in three main tiers: Retail, Manufacturing, and Distribution.

Retail Permits

Retail licenses and permits apply to any bar, live music or sports venue, Group A occupancy establishment, restaurant, or other food business in the city to sell liquor for on-premise consumption. This includes mixed drinks, wine, and straight liquor sales. Retail licenses and permits also apply to liquor stores that sell alcohol for off-premise consumption.

Manufacturing Permits

Manufacturing licenses and permits from the TABC apply to any Texas company that produces alcohol or alcoholic beverages in the state to sell to others in the state or nationwide. This includes wineries, breweries, distilleries, and rectifiers (companies that rectify alcohol into another product).

Distribution Permits

Distribution licenses and permits are for Austin, Texas businesses that import ready-made alcoholic products to supply to Austin establishments for resale. These licenses and permits also allow the company to transport the beverages to the purchaser.

In addition to having a valid license or permit, most businesses in the city will need to report alcohol sales to the Texas Comptroller.

The Licensing Process

License and permit applications are submitted online through the TABC website, using its Alcohol Industry Management System (AIMS). In the system, you will learn which documents you need to complete the application, and it can also help you determine which application to fill out. The documents needed may vary depending on the type of establishment that you plan on opening in the city, and could include:

  • Zoning permits
  • Menus
  • Floor plans
  • Insurance papers

It’s important to make copies of these documents, so you have them ready to submit through AIMS. You can also pay your fees online.

Finally, the chance may arise that you have to defend your decision to apply for a license or permit in the city of Austin. This means appearing in a public arena and addressing any concerns brought by the public.

How We Can Help

However, sometimes the application process can be confusing or challenging, but Monshaugen & Van Huff, P.C. can help you navigate the TABC permitting process for your business in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, and El Paso. Contact us to discuss your needs today or to go over how to complete your application.