Can I sell drinks at outdoor events?

Human beings are social animals and what better way to socialize than getting together outdoors under the beautiful Texas sun.  That is, until we remember we’re in Texas when the sweat starts rolling down our cheeks. That’s when its time to reach for a cold one. As we’re reaching, it’s easy for the more entrepreneurial of us to spot a good business opportunity.

It’s only logical to think there should be some way for someone to go around to events outdoors and offer a cold beer or a frozen margarita to a sweaty throng of sports fans from a mobile facility like a trailer or food truck.  Unfortunately, it’s just not possible with the liquor laws in Texas.

You cannot obtain a liquor license for any kind of mobile business that travels around town serving customers at multiple locations using a food truck or trailer.  A liquor license can only be issued to a physical address, which means you need a permanent, fixed location like a restaurant.  Food trucks are mobile and have no address, so they don’t qualify unless they operate from the same physical address.

The only time you can really be outdoors selling drinks as a vendor is if you already have a liquor license (for your restaurant, for example) and you’re participating in a civic event like a “taste of my town” that’s sponsored by your local government.  Restaurants at events like this will set up a booth or tent to sell their food and, with a TABC temporary permit, can also sell drinks.  These events usually have control barriers in place to prevent folks from leaving the event with their drinks in hand and violating open container laws.

However, we have in fact processed applications for private sporting facilities like golf courses and soccer clubs who maintain their own fields. Facilities like this are usually fenced in, have access to running water, permanently fixed outdoor dining tables and seating as well as public bathrooms. These facilities are, of course, permanent structures with physical addresses and the liquor licenses are obtained by the private companies or individuals that own and operate them.

If you have a TABC liquor license already at your business, you can also obtain a TABC catering license that allows you to set up a cash bar at special events located in wet areas.  If you’re catering a wedding reception, for example, using a TABC catering license you can also set up a cash bar and sell drinks by the glass. Many outdoor facilities available for rental qualify as a good location for catering alcohol so you should consult your local TABC field office in advance to see if you can cater alcohol at the location.

If you have more questions, please feel free to contact us at Texas Liquor License. No question is unworthy of an answer. We understand how complicated the Texas alcohol laws can be to the uninitiated and it’s always best to do as much research as you can before you pull the trigger on that new business idea.  We look forward to being of service to you.


(c) 2015, Texas Liquor License.

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