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Starting an Alcohol-Selling Business

Updated: Aug 31


While each business is different, this is a general list of items to complete in creating and establishing an alcohol-selling business. Because of the broad list and the multiple types of permits and businesses, we recommend you hire someone to help with licensing or call our office so one of our TABC lawyers can help you start this process!


Establish your Entity


First, most businesses start with establishing an LLC, corporation, or other entity through the Texas Secretary of State. Creating an entity can be simple and can usually be done online if you so choose. As to which entity works best for your business, it will depend. Each entity has a description available on the Secretary of State’s website so you can decide what works best for your business structure, or you can contact your accountant or TABC lawyer to help you make that decision. Having this entity helps shield you, as the business owner, from certain liabilities.


Request for your EIN


Once you have created an entity, you will need to obtain your federal employee identification number or EIN. This is needed for tax purposes and for your TABC license application. Contact your accountant or TABC lawyer for help in requesting your EIN.


Apply for a TABC Permit


Next begins the process of applying for a permit through the TABC. The applications can be found online, or you can hire a TABC lawyer or licensing agency for help in this process. The TABC offers multiple types of permits, and the kind of permit you will need will depend on your circumstances. For example, restaurants or locations whose primary sales stem from food tend to have a Food and Beverage (FB) certificate, but only establishments who project 50% or less sales from alcohol sales can apply for an FB. Private club permits (N) differ from mixed beverage permits (MB), and additional late hour permits may be required to extend hours of service.


Check your Location


In addition, you will need to verify your location is not within 300 feet (or 1,000 feet of a public or private school, depending on your local city or county ordinance code) from a school, daycare, church, or hospital. Schools and daycares are measured from property line to property line, while churches and hospitals are measured from front door to front door. If your location falls within 300 feet of a school, daycare, church, or hospital, you can possibly obtain a variance through the City Council or County Commissioners’ Court. Our office has experience in obtaining these variances, and a TABC lawyer at our firm will be happy to help you if you will require a variance. This variance process must be completed before the TABC will issue a permit.


Tap the Experts


After completing all requirements of the application and modifying your application if necessary, you will finally obtain your permit. You will need to ensure your staff is seller server certified and that your establishment abides by all other regulations before beginning operations. If you have decided to open a business and will require a TABC permit, feel free to call a TABC lawyer at Griffith & Hughes.


Our TABC lawyers can help you at any stage of this process, ranging from establishing an entity, obtaining a variance, private club formation, or submitting permit applications to the TABC. Many of these steps are required when there is a change in the business such as new owners, new locations, a change in personal history, and other scenarios, and our office can help with submitting those changes to the TABC as well.

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