LUBBOCK, Texas — Alcohol to-go could become a statewide law this year, a move that the Texas Restaurant Association says could help save the restaurant industry.
The bill to keep to-go alcohol sales was filed earlier this month, and according to the TRA, the bill could help around 50 percent of Texas restaurants.
“It’s just one more lifeline that can kind of pull us through until we get out of this mess,” said Melissa Stewart, Executive Director of the South East Texas Region of the Texas Restaurant Association.
In March 2020, Governor Abbott signed a waiver allowing struggling restaurants to offer alcohol to-go when customers bought a meal.
“It was just really life-changing. It was an absolute life save that some of our restaurants really needed because it was a way for consumers to spend a little more money with us, and it was great for the friends and family at home to have that little sense of normalcy,” said Stewart.
The restaurant and bar industry suffered greatly from multiple shutdowns, and the TRA hopes that if this law is enacted it will give restaurants the boost they need to stay alive.
“Because we are already working on such a slim margin, it takes us longer than other industries to rebound. So, being able to continue the alcohol to go and maybe some of the other waivers would just be one more thing we could do to rebuild this industry quickly,” said Stewart.
Similar to the alcohol to-go, Two Docs Brewing has been able to sell their beer to-go and can their beer. Because of its popularity, it is now almost 50 percent of their business.
“It gave us the ability to sell something. I mean for a period there–I mean multiple months–we were completely shut down,” said Managing partner at Two Doc Brewing, Eric Washington.
Washington said if this law could help restaurants survive, it should be passed.
“You are able to buy the product with another realtor, and I think that any business should be able to sell their product in package form,” said Washington.
Now almost a year later since the original waiver, Stewart says alcohol to-go has just become a part of the community.
“The community really likes it. We have just had extremely positive reactions across the board, and I think people would be unhappy if it went away at this point,” said Stewart.
For this bill to be passed, it must first go through the Texas House and Senate before Governor Abbott signs it into law.