Liquor and Beer Licenses in Texas

Getting your liquor and beer license in Texas is no easy task.

In fact, it is one of the more difficult states to get approval. Thankfully, Texas has adapted with the times and applying can be done online. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean the laws are lenient, in fact it is the opposite. There are several rules for the business, business owner, employees and a multitude of liquor and beer licenses to apply for. We break down how to get started and some simple guidelines business owners must follow once they have received their license.

Requirements to get an alcohol permit:

 First things first, you and your business must meet the requirements to apply. Your business must comply with the following; provide verification from a city clerk that your business is a zone where alcohol is permitted and provide verification of the alcohol content in their beverages. As the business owner, you must have these three things:
  • no felony convictions within the past five years.
  • zero violations of state liquor laws within the past two years.
  • no moral turpitude violations of liquor laws within the past six months.
  If you have all of the above, we can move on to the different type of liquor and beer licenses. According to the official TABC website, there are over 30  different types of liquor licenses. Yes, more than 30, you read that right. It is extremely important to make sure you are applying for the correct license.

Here is a  quick review of some of the most common license you can apply for. For the full list visit

  1. B – BREWER’S PERMIT: Permit to make ale and malt
  2. BA – MANUFACTURER’S LICENSE: license to manufactor alcohol
  3. beer and liquorBB – GENERAL DISTRIBUTOR’S LICENSE: permit to sell beer to other distributors, local distributors, private clubs and retailers.
  4. BE – RETAIL DEALER’S ON PREMISE LICENSE: to sell beer for consumption on or off premises but not for resale
  5. BF – RETAIL DEALER’S OFF PREMISE LICENSE: license to sell beer in a lawful container direct to the consumer but not for resale
  6. BG – WINE AND BEER RETAILER’S PERMIT: Permit to sell for consumption on or off the premises but not for resale, beer, ale, malt liquor and wine not more than 14 percent or 17 percent. Requires adequate seating area for customers.
  7. BI – IMPORTER’S LICENSE: License authorizes distributor to import beer from outside Texas.
  8. MB – MIXED BEVERAGE PERMIT: Permit to sell mixed drinks from unsealed containers and wine, beer, ale and malt liquor in containers of any legal size for on-premises consumption
  9. V – WINE AND BEER RETAILER’S PERMIT – EXCURSION BOAT: authorizes excursion boat to sell and serve beer and wine up to 14 percent or 17 percent
  10. Z – WINE BOTTLER’S PERMIT: Permit to purchase and import wine from Nonresident Seller, purchase wine in this state from holder of wholesaler’s, winery or wine bottler’s permits; and bottle, re-bottle, label, package and sell wine

The application process for your liquor and beer license

Once you have gone over what type of license or licenses  you canbegin the application process. Go to the official TABC website and begin to fill out the forms required. It is important to remember when opening a new business that this is not a simple task. Sometimes, getting approved for a license can take up to 6 months to a year. Start early and make sure all of your forms are correct! If anything is not properly stated on your forms your beer and liquor license can be denied. If paper work isn’t your thing or this seems just a bit to hard there are sever Texas license service agencies that can help. These agencies do all the paper work and applications for you. If you own or are opening several business we suggest making life a little easier and finding service agencies in your district.

Lastly! Lets go over cost

An alcohol license can cost anywhere from $25 for special temporary permits to more than $17,000 for manufacturers with at l

TABC Certificate
TABC Certificate

east 5 establishments. This again, depends on what type of license you are applying for. The average cost in the United States is around $1400. Not only will you have cost to get your permit to sell, your employees will also have cost.


In the State of Texas it is required for all employees that sell any type of alcohol to receive a a Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission certificate. You can have your employees and yourself take a course all together or individually. If taken together, Comedy TABC offers a discount for groups. Otherwise, as the business owner, it is your responsibility to make sure that all of your employees are certified before they begin working. Each employee should have a small business card like certificate stating that they have completed a TABC course.



There are a lot of them. More than you can imagine. Always make sure you are up to date with TABC standards. An undercover TABC officer can come into your establishment at any time. They do this through out the year with no warning. They may be looking for minors being served, unlicensed beverage being poured or employees that have not completed a TABC course.

All of this can fall on both the employee in the wrong and the business owner. To see a complete list of fines use the following chart found on the TABC website. Also, know that it is very common for restaurant/bars/clubs to be fined. Once you have received multiple fines, your business will face the risk of losing their license or being shut down. Below is a list of the most common reasons a Texas business has had their alcohol license revoked:

  • serving minors
  • service to intoxicated customers
  • selling during unauthorized times
  • being intoxicated on the job
  • allowing illegal activity
  • poor documentation
  • buying alcohol from anyone other than the distributor
  • refilling liquor or wines bottles with cheap stuff


We want everyone to remember that getting drink, service and sell alcohol is meant to be a privilege. Don’t over consume, over sell or skip on any TABC laws. Alcohol should make your time more enjoyable, so make sure to follow the rules. We hope this helped break down getting a license and we will see  you again soon.

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