Watching the Clock: How the TABC Regulates Hours of Operation for Off-Premises Retailers

Liquor Storefront

Different types of alcoholic beverage retailers must abide by different rules when it comes to the hours during which they can sell alcohol. Last week, we looked at what Texas law has to say about when you can purchase an adult beverage at bars, restaurants, and other locations that sell alcohol for on-premises consumption. Most notably, these locations have a unique ability to stay open as late as 2 a.m. under certain circumstances.

Today, we are switching our focus to the “off-premises” retailer, or retailers such as liquor stores, grocery stores and convenience stores that sell alcohol to be consumed at a location other than the licensed premises.

Liquor Stores

Hours of Sale: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

These hours of sale are the only hours that liquor stores can be open. This is one of many reasons why you do not see grocery or convenience stores holding the permit that allows you to have the traditional liquor store — the Package Store Permit. Unlike other permits, the holder of a Package Store Permit may only have its doors open during hours that it is legal to sell alcohol, and they must follow the exceptions below as well.

Exceptions

Closed on Certain Holidays

All liquor stores are closed Sundays. In addition, they must also close on these holidays:

New Year’s Day
Thanksgiving Day
Christmas Day

What if the holiday falls on a Sunday? The holiday closure slides to the following Monday. In other words, if Dec. 25 falls on a Sunday, all liquor stores in Texas are closed on Sunday the 25th and Monday the 26th. If Dec. 25 is a Tuesday, for example, all liquor stores in Texas will be closed on Tuesday and will be back to their regular schedule thereafter.

Grocery Stores, Convenience Stores, & Other Off-Premises Retailers

Hours of Sale:

Monday - Saturday: 7 a.m. to Midnight

Sunday: 12 a.m. to 1 a.m., 12 p.m. to Midnight

The authorized hours of sale for off-premises consumption are pretty straight forward. Note that they follow the hours of sale allowed for on-premises retailers with two exceptions.

First, sales of alcohol are prohibited before noon. On-premises retailers have the option of selling alcohol from 10 a.m. to noon as long as it is served with food, which is not an option for off-premises sales. Note that, unlike liquor stores, these retailers can still be open during hours when the sale of alcohol is prohibited. For example, in grocery stores on Sunday morning there are signs reminding you that, though they are open, you must wait until 12 p.m. to purchase wine or beer.

Second, the extended hours do not apply to off-premises sales. Extended hours only apply to sales for on-premises consumption. Thus, you cannot make a beer run at 1:30 a.m. Make sure you make your last “to-go” purchases before midnight, except for on Saturday night (Sunday morning) when that time stretches a bit longer to 1 a.m.

Don’t see your type of establishment described here? There are a few more specific variations listed in the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code that govern hours of sale (and consumption) for retail permits that are not as common, including the Wine Only Package Store Permit and a permit held by a Public Entertainment Facility.

Check back for a future blog discussing the hours of sale and consumption authorized at your favorite winery, distillery, brewery, or other member of the manufacturing tier.

Disclaimer: Nothing in our articles or on our website is legal advice and should not be taken as such. Please address all legal questions to your counsel. While our team is not a law firm, we can refer you as needed.

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