Posted on: September 21, 2023

TABC Delivery Law: Can You Take Alcohol to Go in Texas?

Can You Take Alcohol to Go in Texas?

Whether you're sipping on margaritas on sunny patios or enjoying a cold beer at a local barbecue joint, one thing's for sure: Texans know how to appreciate a refreshing drink. However, there have been significant changes in how we socialize and consume our favorite beverages in recent years.

The pandemic introduced some significant changes to alcohol delivery laws. Texas, along with numerous other states, enacted legislation that permitted restaurants and bars to sell alcoholic beverages for takeout purposes. Before the pandemic, most states, including Texas, had strict regulations prohibiting such sales. 

The TABC Delivery Law has sparked conversations and raised questions among Texas residents and visitors alike. Can you take alcohol to go in Texas? What are the rules and limitations surrounding this new law? In this blog, we will provide the details of the TABC Delivery Law, helping you understand its implications. 

Can You Take Alcohol to Go in Texas? 

Texas TABC to-go laws have recently been updated to allow customers and businesses to enjoy alcohol-to-go options safely. What initially started as temporary waivers to provide relief to businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic has now become a permanent change. This update has been implemented through House Bill 1024, which grants authorization to Mixed Beverage and Private Club permittees to sell alcohol, including mixed drinks, for customer pickup or delivery, as long as they meet the specified requirements outlined in the law. 

Certain other permittees, such as Beer and Wine Retailers, already had the authority to offer alcohol-to-go options before these updates. With this legislative change, Texans can now more conveniently access their favorite beverages from their preferred establishments. 

Where Should Alcohol Be When Transporting a Delivery Order? 

In Texas, when transporting alcohol in a car, it's important to comply with the regulations set forth by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC). According to the TABC Delivery Law, the alcohol should be stored in a sealed container and placed in a secure vehicle area, such as the trunk or a locked compartment. 

According to the regulations, if an alcoholic beverage is sealed by the permit holder and being delivered, it is prohibited from being transported in the passenger area of a motor vehicle. Instead, it must be placed in either the trunk of the car or in the area behind the last upright seat if the vehicle lacks a trunk. Alternatively, if the vehicle has a locked glove compartment or a similar secure storage container, the sealed alcoholic beverage can be stored there. These measures ensure the proper and compliant transportation of sealed alcoholic beverages per the regulations. 

The TABC emphasizes the need for responsible handling and transportation of alcohol to prevent any unauthorized access or consumption. By storing the alcohol in a sealed container and securing it in a designated area of the vehicle, you can ensure that the takeout order remains intact and compliant with the law. 

Can Passengers Drink Alcohol in a Car in Texas? 

According to Texas law, an open container is defined as any bottle, can, or container that has any amount of alcoholic beverage and has a broken seal or has been opened, or the contents of which have been partially removed. 

In Texas, the presence of open containers of alcohol in any seating area of a vehicle, whether it's the driver's side, passenger side, or backseat, is strictly prohibited. According to Texas Penal Code 49.031, it is illegal to knowingly possess an open container of alcohol in a vehicle on a public highway, regardless of whether the vehicle is in motion, stopped, or parked. This means that even if you're not the one driving, it remains unlawful to consume alcohol inside the vehicle while on the way to an event or any other location. 

Drinking in a vehicle is against the law in Texas, so it's best to refrain from pre-partying or consuming alcohol while inside a vehicle, irrespective of your role as the driver or passenger. This means that everyone in the vehicle should refrain from drinking alcohol while the car is in motion. This law aims to prevent drinking and driving and promote safety on the roads by discouraging alcohol consumption by occupants of a vehicle. 

It's important to note that there are certain exceptions to this rule. For example, passengers in a hired limousine or a motor home specifically designed for passenger use are allowed to consume alcohol inside the vehicle. 

Is It Illegal to Have Unopened Alcohol in Your Car? 

In Texas, it is permissible to transport unopened alcohol within the state. However, it is crucial to ensure that the container is completely sealed. It is important to note that simply resealing a previously opened container or recorking a bottle of wine does not meet the requirements of the Texas Open Container law requirements. Doing so would be considered a violation of the law. Therefore, when transporting unopened alcohol in Texas, it is imperative to ensure that the container remains securely sealed to comply with the regulations. 

Alcohol Delivery Certificate 

If you are interested in working in the alcohol service industry in Texas, particularly in establishments that serve or sell alcoholic beverages, obtaining TABC certification is a requirement. TABC alcohol training is an educational program designed to educate individuals about the responsible sale and service of alcohol under Texas laws and regulations. 

TABC alcohol training aims to ensure that those involved in the sale and service of alcohol are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to promote responsible consumption, prevent underage drinking, and maintain a safe environment for both customers and employees.

TABC alcohol training can be completed through approved providers who offer classroom or online learning. Upon successful completion of the training, individuals receive a TABC certification. 

At TIPS, we have over 40 years of experience. We ensure you receive training on the regulations and guidelines that affect your role. TIPS Texas TABC alcohol training courses teach sellers/servers to create a safer environment where alcohol is served and sold.