El Arroyo's iconic signage spreads the word about Governor Abbott's new waiver on alcohol sales.
Cocktail from Tim Love's Atico. (Photo by Courtney Dabney).
Racks of wine at Rancho Loma Vineyards. (Photo by Courtney Dabney).
Tajin rimmed margarita at Toro Toro. (Photo by Courtney Dabney).
With nothing but bleak news, and in many cases, tearful layoffs sweeping through the Texas restaurant and bar community this week, Governor Greg Abbott gave the industry one concession to smile about.
He issued a waiver “that will allow restaurants to deliver alcoholic beverages with food purchases to patrons, including beer, wine and mixed drinks.” The unprecedented move was taken in reaction to pleas for aid from restaurant and bar owners across the state.
“Under this waiver, effective immediately, restaurants with a mixed beverage permit may sell beer, wine, or mixed drinks for delivery as long as they are accompanied by food purchased from the restaurant,” the statement reads.
You heard that right, when you order a meal for curbside or delivery, you can now even purchase your favorite mixed drink, beer or wine to accompany it.
This is a huge deal. According to Jon Bonnell, owner of Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine and Waters Restaurant (both in Fort Worth), about 30 percent of restaurant receipts come from alcohol sales. Abbott’s move puts that back on the table.
“This is a vital lifeline that Governor Abbott has extended to the restaurant community,” Bonnell tells PaperCity. “None of my business models were designed without beverage service included in our plan. This can be done responsibly and will make a massive difference to the independent restaurant community that has chosen to remain open. From the bottom of my heart Governor Abbott, thank you.”
“The Governor also directed the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) to waive certain provisions to allow manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers of alcoholic beverages to repurchase or sell back unopened product,” the statement notes.
This will help business owners who had sunk crucial resources into purchasing product prior to the shutdowns, which would otherwise be sitting untouched during this health crisis. “The buy-back waiver allows alcohol distributors and manufacturers to repurchase excess inventory from restaurants, bars and clubs affected by event cancellations due to COVID-19,” Abbott notes.
Abbott points out that these waivers are in response to the financial hardship caused by the coronavirus that has disproportionately affected the hospitality industry.
“The State of Texas is committed to supporting retailers, restaurants, and their employees,” Abbott says. “These waivers will allow restaurants to provide enhanced delivery options to consumers during this temporary period of social distancing.”