Governor Abbott pushes to make alcohol-to-go permanent

Posted at 5:40 PM, Jan 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-13 20:06:26-05

On Tuesday to kick off the start of the 87th Legislative Session, Governor Greg Abbott announced to Texas legislators his plans to keep the sale of to-go alcoholic beverages.

After a tough year for small businesses, many local restaurants and bars are hopeful about this possibility.

The governor signed a waiver in March allowing restaurants and some bars to sell to-go alcoholic beverages as long as food was included. The waiver ended in May 2020 but was extended in June with the addition of to-go mixed drinks as long as businesses abided by the state's guidelines.

“It’s been really successful. I think we really started it when things... when everything was shut down, and it picked up pace, and now we’re going to continue,” said Taylor Daily, marketing director of Barnett's Public House.

“I did notice that our alcoholic beverages, mixed beverages, liquor sales have gone up during the pandemic, because wine was always our top seller. So people are drinking more alcoholic beverages,” said Kelly Galanis, co-owner of 1424 Bistro.

The waiver came about to help allow bars and restaurants bring in revenue during the shut downs and limited capacity restrictions, as well as other negative economic impacts brought on by the coronavirus.

“Our sales are greatly down. We are struggling like so many other restaurants. We really need people to remember us,” said Galanis.

“We’re definitely in this together. The only reason we are still here is because of our Waco community,” said Daily.

Not every business can sell to-go alcoholic beverages. In order to qualify for alcohol delivery and pickup, the business must hold a mixed beverage permit as well as operate as a permanent restaurant.

“It’s good for the people who are in AirBnB or who are just kinda stopping by for the night or week. It’s really good for the people who are not yet comfortable coming to a bar because of the pandemic,” Daily explained.

The beverage must be sold alongside food and must be sealed with no holes or any opening that could provide a way to consume the beverage with the lid intact.

Barnett’s mixed cocktail kit has been a huge success, and 1424 Bistro provides many different mixed drinks or wine-to-go to add on to your cozy meal at home.