Alcohol To-Go Permanent, Per New Texas Law Just Signed by Gov. Abbott

THANKS TO THE efforts of the Texas Legislature and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Texans who have grown accustomed to ordering alcoholic beverages for pickup or delivery during the pandemic will be able to continue doing so permanently — undoubtedly welcome news to those who have gotten used to ordering margaritas by the gallon (which is arguably exactly how they should be ordered).


House Bill 1024 was approved by the Legislature on April 28 and immediately goes into effect after being signed into law by Gov. Abbot today. It turned the temporary waivers granted during the pandemic — allowing businesses to sell alcohol, including mixed drinks, for pickup by customers or for delivery — into permanent rules enshrined under Texas law. The bill also allows third parties, including agents of the retailer or permitted contractors, to make deliveries on the behalf of customers. All alcohol orders must be made with food orders.

"This new law will help businesses keep their doors open and ensure Texans keep their jobs," said TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles in a statement. "TABC is grateful to Governor Abbott and members of the Texas Legislature for their leadership on this critically important measure. And a big thank you goes out to the efforts of alcohol retailers who have been safely and responsibly selling alcohol to go under last year's waiver."

Establishments must continue following strict rules dictating how their adult beverages are packaged — for example, serving wine or malt beverages in their original or tamper-proof containers, and serving distilled spirits in original single-serving containers of no greater than 375 milliliters — but the law is extremely welcome news for Texas bars and restaurants who have been hit exceptionally hard by the pandemic.

Food

“I WISH I came here sooner to experience this amazing city,” says advanced sommelier Rachel Van Til of her move to Houston just one year before the pandemic lockdown. When Covid appeared in 2020, along with layoffs and closings, it led to a career swerve for Van Til, a working mom who was a sommelier at Pappas Steakhouse. She took over the wine program at The Clubs at Houston Oaks, a posh (initiation fees can range into the six figures) members-only club northwest of the city with 10 lodges, 17 lakes, 900 acres and six dining options. Speaking of lots of good food and vino, the club’s 2022 Wine and Food Classic is this February 12 — it’s a great chance to taste hundreds of wines from around the world and learn about them from winemakers and professionals. “It’s our largest event of the year and it’s open to the public.” In our Q&A, Rachel dishes on her favorite date night, best wines to try this year and her brush with the me-too movement!

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