AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) recently updated its guidance for restaurants reopening at 25% occupancy, adding taprooms and tasting rooms at breweries, wineries and distilleries into the mix – if they meet certain requirements.
"There are going to be some breweries, distilleries and wineries who have either on-site tasting roots or on-site taprooms," said Chris Porter, a spokesperson for the TABC. "Some of those operate additionally as restaurants and the same guidelines are going to apply to those folks."
The guidelines are separated into two sections for the businesses: dining in and in-store retail.
For dining in, taprooms and tasting rooms at breweries, wineries and distilleries can reopen May 1 if they meet both the following requirements:
- They operate as a restaurant with permanent food service on-site
- Alcohol sales do not exceed 51% of gross receipts.
They also must follow the 25% occupancy rule and follow the guidelines in the Governor's Report to Open Texas.
For in-store retail at breweries, distilleries and wineries, taprooms and tasting rooms can reopen May 1 for quick tastings to purchase products for off-site consumption as authorized by each license or permit type.
"It gives the customers an opportunity to taste the product that they may want to purchase and then take the sealed containers with them after purchase," Porter said. "It doesn't mean that they can allow people to basically sit on the premises and consume alcohol like they would at a typical bar or a club. But it's for the purposes of helping them make an informed decision whether to make their purchases and then take that alcohol with them to go."
"So, if they have more than 51% of the revenue coming from alcohol, then they will need to not operate as a restaurant during this time period. However, a lot of those also offer on-premise alcohol sales for like, beer-to-go, for example, or …what those locations can do is continue to operate as a retailer similar to a liquor store or grocery store," Porter said.
Gov. Greg Abbott hinted at keeping the Texas alcohol-to-go sales permanently in a tweet on Tuesday, saying, "Alcohol-to-go sales can continue after May 1. From what I hear from Texans, we may just let this keep on going forever."
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