TABC announces new warning-based system

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission will implement a new warning-based system designed to encourage voluntary compliance with state liquor laws among businesses which manufacture, distribute, or sell alcoholic beverages.

Starting Sept. 15, TABC will use new standards to determine which non-public safety-related violations will result in a warning for a business, as well as those which require further action such as administrative sanctions. TABC officials will consider a business’ violation history, as well as the severity of the alleged violation, as they determine the best way to work with the business in order to regain compliance.

The new standards give TABC greater flexibility in issuing warnings to businesses and will, in some cases, reduce the need for administrative hearings and sanctions, according to TABC Executive Director A. Bentley Nettles.

“Our ultimate goal with this change is to get these affected businesses back into compliance with Texas law quickly and ensure they have the tools they need to stay that way,” Nettles said. “Businesses which put public safety at risk will still be held fully accountable by TABC. However, we will look for ways to correct less-serious violations in a manner which reduces the overall impact on the business when appropriate.”

Businesses which receive a warning under the new system will be subject to follow-up inspections by TABC officials to ensure the business remains in compliance. Repeat violations of a similar nature within 24 months of the original violation could result in stricter penalties such as fines or a suspension of the business’ liquor license.

Any business which receives an administrative citation from TABC has the right to request a hearing in administrative court, and a violation isn’t considered final until the case is settled or is ruled upon by an administrative judge and the order signed by the agency’s Executive Director.

TABC license holders who have questions may contact their regional TABC office or call the agency’s Austin headquarters at (512) 206-3400.