So, can you give away free alcohol legally in the state of Texas?
Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it is and it is not, we will let you be the judge after reading through exactly how you can do this.
According to TABC laws it is legal to provide free alcoholic beverages without a permit. Free alcohol and not having to deal with getting a permit sounds like the perfect recipe for a new business. So why isn’t everyone doing this? Let us explain the catch your looking for in this “too good to be true scenario.”
Below you’ll find three examples. One legal, two illegal. Can you spot the difference?
- Legal: You are shopping at high end retail store and they hand you a glass of champagne while you browse through clothing. After consuming your glass and shopping for some time you decide you don’t like anything and leave the store. ( we don’t advertise this as a great way to get a free drink butttt…)
- illegal: You are going to get a haircut and as you sit down in the chair your hair dresser ask if you would like a drink. You happily reply “yes” because why not? After a great drink and haircut (we hope it went well), you pay and go on your way.
- illegal: You go to check out a new restaurant in town. Because they just opened and don’t have their permit to sell alcohol they are running a special. “Every one that comes in for dinner receives free wine with their meal.” You can’t pass that up! So of course, you go and purchase your meal and enjoy your free wine.
Did you spot the difference?
If alcohol is going to be given away for free it must be done with out any promise of a purchase. It must be truly FREE. The second two options expect you to buy something in exchange for your alcohol. The same scenario is true if you find a place giving away alcohol but asking for “donations” or “tips.” Those scenarios are also illegal.
We aren’t here to rain on the free drink parade so let us explain. We love them just as much as the next guy, maybe more. The unfortunate part of this is that there are real consequences to breaking TABC laws. These consequences include penalties,fines and at its worst losing your business license.
If you are a business owner and this sounded like an easy “too good to be true” way to get customers in, it just might be. Stay safe and abide by TABC laws because if there is one thing we know for certain its that they don’t mess around in Texas.