Alcohol to-go from Texas restaurants could become permanent

Updated: Mar. 25, 2021 at 10:19 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Getting alcohol to-go from restaurants could soon be here to stay in Texas.

The policy created at the beginning of the pandemic to help restaurants stay in business is looking to become permanent through a bill recently passed by the Texas House.

This bill was formally approved today with Representative Four Price and Representative John Smithee, who serve the Panhandle region voting for to-go alcohol sales to stay.

However, not every restaurant believes they will benefit if the bill becomes law.

“If we hadn’t been able to sell to-go throughout the summer, it’s kind of some scary thoughts on our end. We’re not entirely sure we would be open today if that were the case,” said Kaleb West, co-founder and brewer, Pondaseta Brewing Company.

“It did help us keep going during the pandemic. The alcohol sales is what kind of kept everybody coming to us and coming to the door,” said Megan Adams, bar manager, Polk Street Eats.

Roughly a year ago Governor Abbott signed a wavier allowing Texas restaurants to serve alcohol to-go.

This wavier helped many businesses stay afloat during the pandemic.

“We pretty quickly had to close our doors to the public and not allow people inside our facility and we pivoted offering a lot more options available to go,” said West.

Pondaseta Brewing Company could already sell alcohol to-go prior to the pandemic, but the pandemic forced the brewery change their to-go orders to a drive-thru setting allowing them to sell more types of alcohol.

Now, they are hoping the bill passes the senate because it could benefit them in other ways.

“The house bill, if it allows retailers in Texas to sell beer to go. It will actually benefit a lot of our costumers that we wholesale product to. I think it levels out the playing field and makes things a lot easier for the consumer,” said West.

Other restaurants say since the state opened up, they haven’t needed to sell alcohol to-go and don’t foresee this bill making a big impact.

“As far as doing to-go stuff just for alcohol, I really don’t see a big huge pick-up for it but we’ll see,” said Adams.

In fact, the bill worries some.

“Hoping that it won’t make for more DWI’s or more unwanted traffic down here,” said Adams.

The bill will now head to the Senate for approval.

There is also a similar bill in the Senate co-authored by local Senator Kel Seliger that would allow restaurants to sell beer, wine, and cocktails with food orders that are purchased for pickup or delivery, including through third-party delivery companies.

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