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Some Austin businesses begin selling beer to-go amid coronavirus closures

Margaritas and beer to-go? Austin is finding a way to make it through city-wide coronavirus closures.

AUSTIN, Texas — Some Austin businesses are doing all they can to stay in operation after the City of Austin announced Wednesday that all bars and restaurants would virtually be closing their doors to the public.

Like restaurants, some breweries have been forced to close their taprooms – but they're still able to sell their beer in cans and growlers.

Enter to-go sales.

Austin Beerworks set up a to-go stand outside their North Austin brewery. They said every bit helps.

"Not every brewery has economies of scale, not every brewery has access to market and beer-to-go sales is an opportunity for them to get their products in front of consumers and for consumers to be able to drink those how they want to," said Adam Debower, co-owner of Austin Beerworks. "And thank God this bill actually passed because I can't imagine where our industry would be right now, without beer-to-go sales."

A new state law went into effect around six months ago allowing beer-to-go sales. And to-go sales are now offered on Austin Beerworks' online store.

RELATED: Texas governor signs bill allowing breweries to sell beer to-go

According to Texas law, orders are required to be picked up in person, but online payment helps minimize contact during the coronavirus pandemic.

Austin's famous taco joint El Arroyo is also beginning to sell margaritas to-go.

A Reddit thread has been created to help locals find breweries now selling beer to-go.

This all comes on the same day Gov. Greg Abbot issued a waiver allowing restaurants to deliver alcoholic beverages with food purchases to patrons, including beer, wine and mixed drinks. He also directed the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) to waive certain provisions to allow manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers of alcoholic beverages to repurchase or sell back unopened product.

"The State of Texas is committed to supporting retailers, restaurants, and their employees," said Gov. Abbott. "These waivers will allow restaurants to provide enhanced delivery options to consumers during this temporary period of social distancing."

So, as long as the sale is accompanied by food, a restaurant with a mixed beverage permit may sell beer, wine or mixed drinks for delivery.

And the buy-back waiver will alow alcohol distributors and manufacturers to repurchase excess inventory from restaurants, bars and clubs affected by event cancellations due to COVID-19.


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