News Blog

Texas to Raise Legal Smoking Age

The Lone Star State is joining a number of other states across the country in raising the legal age to purchase smoking tobacco to 21. Senate Bill 21 is currently awaiting Governor Greg Abbott’s signature, and he is expected to sign the legislation.

The bill, which will make Texas the 14th state in the nation to raise the smoking age to 21, will bar stores from selling tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21, with the exception of military personnel. The bill is designed to reduce underage smoking, and reduce exposure to tobacco products among 18- to 20-year-olds, who are statistically most likely to develop nicotine addictions.

When signed by Governor Abbott, the legislation will make the process of obtaining cigarette licenses in Dallas, TX slightly more complex. Because of the new regulatory framework surrounding the way that retailers will be able to sell and distribute tobacco products, it’s important for prospective cigarette retailers to work with a trusted, knowledgeable permit service.

Here are some of the requirements that retailers will have to meet to obtain cigarette licenses in Dallas, TX following the passage of this new legislation:

  • You must pay an application and renewal fee: Every tobacco retailer in Texas needs to pay an initial application fee as well as a renewal fee before their current license expires. The application fee costs $180 for a two-year license. If you’re planning to carry wholesale tobacco products, you’ll need to pay $300 for each annual license.
  • Your license must be prominently displayed: Your Texas tobacco license needs to be prominently displayed at your retail location at all times. If it’s not, you might be fined for non-compliance. Repeat offenses may result in a suspension of your state tobacco license.
  • Records must be maintained: Tobacco license holders are required by law to maintain sale records dating back at least four years. These records must be available for audit and review upon request by a state inspection official.
  • Each location needs a separate license: If you own or manage multiple retail locations, you need to obtain a separate license for each locale at which you sell cigarettes. If you’re opening a new retail outlet, you’ll have to go through the entire licensing process over again, even if you already maintain a valid license at an existing storefront.
  • You must verify identification: Tobacco license holders are required to verify the identification of anyone trying to purchase cigarettes. While current law states that cigarettes can be sold to people over the age of 18, this will soon change to 21.

Since 1965, LaBarba Permit Service has been helping retailers obtain cigarette licenses in Dallas, TX. We possess expertise navigating a wide range of state agencies. We’re committed to helping retailers of all sizes obtain the permits and licenses necessary to succeed in today’s competitive market. We can help with alcohol licensing, late-hour permits, lottery licenses, zoning and more. To learn more, please reach out to one of our highly qualified permit experts today.

Do I Need A Liquor Permit for My Event?

If you’re hosting an event, you may wonder whether you need a liquor permit in Dallas, TX to serve alcohol. Texas’ liquor laws can be confusing, and it can be frustrating trying to figure out which licenses you need and obtain them well in advance of your event opening. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you determine whether you need a liquor permit for your event and take the headache and ambiguity out of this one piece of your event planning process.

Selling alcohol at your event

If you’re selling alcohol at your event, you definitely need a liquor permit in Dallas, TX. This can include many types of events, from festivals and block parties to private events and parties. However, in some circumstances, even if you’re not selling the alcohol directly, you still may need a permit. For the state’s purposes, any entry fees to the event, tips, donations and any method of collecting payment for the cost of the alcohol constitutes as selling alcohol.

Alcohol is available, but not for sale

If you will be giving alcohol away at your event, rather than selling it, you don’t need a liquor permit in Dallas, TX. However, it has to be completely free, meaning that anyone over 21 who comes to the event and asks for alcohol can receive it. That means, if you charge an entry fee for your event, you are technically charging for alcohol and will need a permit. However, for events like open bar weddings with completely free alcohol for guests, you don’t need a permit. A boutique that serves champagne while patrons shop, whether or not they buy anything, would not need a permit, as this setup would be considered free alcohol.

Eligibility to apply for a temporary permit for your event

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) issues temporary permits to holders of TABC retail permits if they’re having an event at a location separate from their TABC-licensed premises. In addition, other organizations that don’t already have a liquor permit in Dallas, TX can obtain a temporary permit to sell alcoholic beverages at a special event if the event is not being held on TABC-licensed premises. These organizations include civic, religious or charitable organizations. If you are not part of this type of organization and don’t already hold a TABC permit for a primary location, you are not eligible to apply for a temporary liquor permit for your event, and you’ll not be allowed to sell alcohol.

If you need assistance in applying for a liquor permit in Dallas, TX for your special event, LaBarba Permit Service is here to help. We can help walk you through the process and determine your eligibility and necessity for a liquor permit. Obtaining a permit can be cumbersome and frustrating, and it helps to have a professional with considerable expertise in permits. If you are looking to sell alcohol at your event, you will need a temporary liquor permit in Dallas, TX. Give us a call today, and let us help!

Texas Senate Making Big Changes

Big changes are happening in Texas this year, with some new laws passed by the Texas Senate affecting companies with a beer and liquor license in Dallas, TX. Liquor laws are trending toward being more relaxed across the country, and Texas is no exception. In May of this year, the Senate voted to allow breweries to sell beer to go. Read on to learn more about what this means for your business, and what other laws were changed along with it.

How the bill allowing beer to go was passed

The bill passed in May restored a measure that allowed breweries to sell beer to go from their taprooms, as well as instated a bill that allowed the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) to continue operating. Part of what was passed will also loosen some restrictions on the number of liquor store permits individuals can hold.

Prior to this bill being passed, Texas was the only state in the country that restricted the sale of beer to go from breweries. Senator Dawn Buckingham, a proponent of the bill, said the matter was a historically divisive issue, but she represents her constituents that are in favor of the bill. The amendment allows individuals to hold up to 250 liquor store permits, which is a huge leap from the previous five allowed permits. This allowance will hopefully foster the free market approach to the liquor business while still allowing the TABC to issue permits responsibly.

The amendment for selling beer to go was due to involvement by the Wholesale Beer Distributors of Texas, which is a large lobbying group that represents the interests of beer distributors, and the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, which is a lobbying group representing the interests of local breweries. The bill is awaiting approval from the House before the changes go into effect. However, they have indicated that they would pass the bill.

How selling beer to go affects your business

Selling beer to go as well as being able to hold multiple permits can benefit your business in many ways. In fact, all of these measures are believed to increase economic development, entrepreneurship, job creation and even tourism. Brian Birdwell, the TABC bill’s sponsor, believes that the state has archaic alcoholic beverage codes, and he has been crafting his amendments in an effort to update them. Updated laws will hopefully level the playing field for liquor vendors and breweries, making it easier to expand their business and own multiple liquor stores or locations.

If you’re working on getting your beer and liquor license in Dallas, TX, LaBarba Permit Service is here to help. Obtaining a permit from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission can be a cumbersome and time-consuming process, and getting successful results requires considerable expertise if the process is to be less confusing and frustrating. If you’re looking to take advantage of the Senate’s new amendments and open a second location, LaBarba Permit Service can help you get the proper permit from the TABC so you can start making a profit. Reach out to us today to arrange a consultation and learn more about what we can do for you.

Why Exactly Is TABC Certification in Dallas, TX So Important?

For a lot of employees, the TABC certification process may seem like a bit of a drag. The certification program is, of course, absolutely necessary for anyone who is going to be put in charge of serving alcohol, but for people who are forced to go through the course, it can help for them to know why exactly the process is so critical.

Here are just a few of the main reasons why TABC certification in Dallas, TX matters so much to people in the industry.

Job marketability

From the employee standpoint, good luck getting a job involving alcohol anywhere in the state of Texas if you aren’t TABC certified. Sure, state law doesn’t necessarily require TABC certification to sell or serve alcohol, but most of the employers you’ll find in the state list it as a requirement for applications to the job. In other words, while it’s not legally mandated, it’s still essentially required anyway.

You’ll also find that employers who do not require TABC certification tend to have other red flags associated with their business. In general, the businesses that have been around for a long time and do things the right way are not just going to be better employers, but they’ll also require certification. Therefore, you instantly become more marketable as an employee if you go through the certification process.

High-quality training

In looking at the certification course itself, it is actually great training and an excellent way to set yourself up for success in the beverage industry. There’s a lot of really important and valuable information in the course that pertains to the liability you have civilly and criminally in working with alcohol, as well as the liability of your employer. You’ll learn how and when to cut people off, how to properly check identification (and make sure it isn’t fake) and a whole lot more that will affect your everyday job.

Many people make the mistake of assuming these tasks associated with the job are just common sense, but that’s really not the case. These are important skills that require training and practice.

Employer protection

On the employer side of things, having TABC certified employees goes a long way toward protecting your business. There are safe harbor laws in Texas, which means employers are able to protect their alcohol licenses and permits from being taken away if an employee sells to a minor or to an intoxicated person. TABC certification is an important step in an employer’s ability to qualify for this protection.

In addition, trained and knowledgeable employees who have gone through the certification process are less likely to make these mistakes to begin with, decreasing the chance that these issues will arise in the first place.

For more information about the various benefits associated with the TABC certification course and why it’s so important for employees to get certified, contact the team at LaBarba Permit Service today. We’d be happy to answer any questions and get you the information you need to begin pursuing the certification process.

Common Reasons Restaurants Lose Their Texas Liquor Licenses in Dallas, TX

Just as you can earn a liquor license for your restaurant, you can just as easily have it revoked if you fail to abide by the rules associated with maintaining that license. There are a number of mistakes or missteps you can make that could lead to the TABC penalizing you by taking away your liquor license.

Here are just a few examples of some of those mistakes that can lead to the loss of a Texas liquor license in Dallas, TX:

  • Serving alcohol to minors: There’s a simple way of avoiding this issue: just make sure you’re checking for IDs on all of your customers so you can be sure you’re not serving anyone underage. And when you do check identification, make sure you actually take the time to do it properly. If you have any reason to believe a customer is less than 21 years old, you must check their ID, and you should take the necessary training to be able to identify fake IDs as well.
  • Overserving intoxicated customers: Just because a customer keeps asking for more drinks does not mean you have to keep serving them. In fact, you are legally expected to stop service if the customer is getting too intoxicated. Keep in mind that there’s a chance you could be legally liable for the actions of any intoxicated patron after they leave your establishment. Therefore, know the signs of intoxication and know when to cut someone off.
  • Being drunk on the job: It is illegal for your employees to be intoxicated while on the premises. It’s dangerous and highly unprofessional. If you’re going to be responsible for serving alcohol to others (and cutting them off when they’ve had enough), you need to have your wits about you.
  • Selling during illegal hours: Every state and some local municipalities set their own rules regarding when alcohol can be sold. If you sell alcohol outside of the legally allowed hours, you run the risk of losing your liquor license.
  • Poor recordkeeping: You must keep copies of all of your alcohol-related invoices, as well as copies of your liquor license. This recordkeeping is crucial for your business, because if any TABC agent decides to pay your business a visit, they’re going to want to see your license and those invoices as part of their inspection. An inability to comply will, at the very least, look very poor on your part, but could result in you losing your liquor license altogether.
  • Not purchasing alcohol from a legal distributor: It’s important to be aware of all the alcohol distribution laws in Texas, as those laws are not necessarily the same from state to state. Texas has a three-tier system made up of retailers, distributors and manufacturers. You are only allowed to purchase alcohol from distributors as a retailer—you are not allowed to purchase directly from a manufacturer, or from another retailer. You can’t just go and pick up some beer at a grocery store if you run out of that specific brand during a shift—that’s illegal and could jeopardize your liquor license.

These are just a few examples of some of the most common mistakes made by restaurants and retail businesses that could lead to the loss of a Texas liquor license in Dallas, TX. For more information, contact LaBarba Permit Service today with any questions.

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