There’s a lot of nightlife to be had in El Paso, Texas, which has prompted many people to open establishments, from upscale nightclubs and restaurants to dive bars in artsy areas. In order to sell alcohol, though, businesses must first comply with state and local regulations. The first thing any establishment wishing to sell liquor must do is obtain the proper permits from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC). It’s a very in-depth process, though, and sometimes people need help applying.
TABC License Requirements
In order to apply for permits to sell alcohol and alcoholic beverages in Texas, there are certain criteria applicants must meet. They can be found through a local TABC office or online.
The applicant for any of the permits must be of the legal drinking age. In Texas, and the United States as a whole, this is 21 years old.
Businesses can only apply for a Texas liquor license under one tier of what is known as the three-tier system. The three tiers are:
- Retail permits – applies to individual Texas establishments, such as restaurants or bars that serve alcohol on premises, and liquor stores that sell alcoholic beverages, hard liquor, beer, or wine for offsite consumption directly to customers.
- Manufacturing permits – for companies that make and then sell beer, wine, or other alcohol to another business.
- Distribution permits – for those who import the beverages in large quantities and then sell them to a local business for resale.
While convicted criminals aren’t barred from obtaining a liquor license in Texas state, the convictions must be old. By Texas law, that means no felonies within a 5-year period preceding the application. Additionally, the applicant should have no convictions or be under suspicion of violations of moral turpitude within 6 months preceding the application date.
Navigating the Process
Whether you’re looking to complete your application for the first time or renewing an existing one in El Paso, navigating the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission licensing process can be challenging. Here are some things you’ll need to keeping in mind when completing your TABC permit paperwork.
It’s better to be overprepared than underprepared in this instance. Make sure you check with a local office to ensure exactly what you need. This could include insurance paperwork, zoning permits, floor plans, and menus, for starters. Make copies of all the necessary documents in advance.
AIMS is short for Alcohol Industry Management System and is the online platform for applying in Texas state. It can help outline everything you’ll need.
Public Hearing Appearance
In order to obtain your license to sell alcohol in Texas state, and especially in El Paso, you may very well need to appear at a public hearing if someone protests your application. Here, you’ll be given a chance to defend your chance for receiving a permit.
Obligations as a TABC License Holder
One of the main requirements as TABC permit holder is that you conduct business in good faith. That means once you’re licensed, ensure customers meet the legal drinking age and know when someone is too intoxicated to keep serving.
Most TABC license holders are required to display the appropriate signs in a place that is visible to the public. The exact signs you might need depend on the type of permit you’re applying for. If you have questions about this, it’s important to reach out to the TABC office for clarification.
Additionally, the TABC has restrictions against allowing illegal activities onsite in Texas where alcohol is present, such as drug use, prostitution, or gambling.
Violations of any of the above rules can result in risk — such as revocation or suspension — to an existing TABC permit in El Paso. If a business, such as a restaurant, is found to be selling alcohol without the proper license, it can be barred from ever obtaining a license in the future.
Let Us Guide You
Texas state TABC applicants sometimes need help completing their applications. Monshaugen & Van Huff, P.C. has multiple services to help navigate the process and help you learn the ins and outs, whether you’re applying in El Paso, Austin, San Antonio, or other Texas cities. Just contact us today to get started.