Of the fifty states, there are nearly as many different beer laws. If you don’t know the laws surrounding beer you may break one without knowing. What do Texas’s beer laws look like?
In Texas, you can buy beer on weekdays from 7 a.m. to midnight, Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to midnight. Liquor cannot be purchased on Sunday. Bars close as late as 2 a.m. in some counties. You can also get alcohol delivered to your home if you don’t want to go out. You can buy alcohol in any size including growlers.
Keep reading to learn more about the beer laws in Texas. I will detail where and when you can get a drink, whether you can get alcohol delivered, and the laws surrounding legal limits.
Is Texas a dry state?
For Texas to be a dry state, it would have to prohibit or greatly control the sale of alcohol. The state law would have to decide for each county that alcohol is not allowed or only allowed at certain retailers and times. This is not the case.
Texas is not a dry state. The statewide laws do not prohibit the sale of alcohol. However, the state law allows its counties to decide whether they want to become dry.
Since this is the case, there are a few dry counties in Texas.
Does Texas have any dry counties?
Residents of each county in Texas may vote to go dry or wet as the situation dictates. Overall, Texas has been becoming wetter as counties vote to allow sales of alcohol.
Of Texas’s 254 counties, 5 remain completely dry:
In addition to these 5 wholly dry counties, there are 159 that are partially dry or wet, depending on how you prefer to classify them. These partially wet counties might allow all types of alcohol in one area, but only a few in another.
When traveling through these partially wet counties be sure to know the local laws.
When can you buy beer in Texas?
The state of Texas does put some restrictions on when you may purchase beer, wine, and liquor. These allowed sale times will vary based on the county. Some will be more restrictive, especially in the partially dry counties.
Texas stores can sell beer and wine on weekdays from 7 a.m. to midnight. On Saturday, retailers can sell beer and wine from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. On-premise retailers can serve beer, wine, and mixed drinks Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Liquor can only be sold on Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The later sale hours are dependent on the county, but also the permit. Some bars and restaurants may close earlier than 2 am if they do not hold the appropriate late-hour permit. Restaurants, in particular, may close earlier.
Can you buy beer on Sunday in Texas?
Historically, you could not buy alcohol on Sunday in Texas. These days it is legal, but there are a few holdouts. “Blue Laws” such as these have mostly been overturned.
In Texas, you can buy beer and wine for off-premise use on Sunday from 10 a.m. to midnight. On-premise sale of beer and wine is legal on Sunday from noon to midnight. Restaurants and bars can serve alcohol with a meal as early as 10 a.m. You cannot buy liquor on Sundays.
Additionally, you can’t buy liquor on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, or New Year’s Day. If Christmas or New Year’s Day falls on a Sunday then you can’t buy liquor on that day or the following Monday.
When do bars close in Texas?
While some states don’t dictate a closing time for bars, Texas does. Bars are limited by the legal sale hours of on-premise retailers.
All bars in Texas must close by 2 a.m. every day. If a bar does not have a late-hours permit it must close by midnight Monday through Friday and Sunday. On Saturday it must close by 1 a.m.
Counties can also choose not to allow late-hour permits. This means that bar closing times will differ across the state.
Where can you buy beer in Texas?
There are plenty of rules surrounding when you can buy beer. Unfortunately, it can get more complicated with location rules. In general, beer is sold nearly everywhere, but hard liquors are more restricted.
In wet counties, you can buy beer in Texas at the following places:
- Bars and restaurants
- Gas stations
- Grocery stores
- Package and liquor stores
- Breweries and taprooms
I will break down all of the rules and regulations surrounding each type of retailer below.
Bars and restaurants
Texas bars and restaurants can sell beer, wine, and liquor Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. until 2 a.m. On Sunday they may sell alcohol from 10 a.m. until 2 a.m. However, from 10 a.m. until noon on Sunday alcohol can only be served with food. Both retailers can offer alcohol with to-go orders.
As mentioned above, bars and restaurants may have to close earlier if they do not have a late-hour permit. Additionally, some bars and restaurants allow you to bring your own beverage.
This is only allowed at certain locations depending on their permit. The ones who are allowed to may even sell “set ups” or mixed drinks without the liquor.
Gas stations in Texas can only sell beer or wine.
They can sell alcohol from 7 a.m. to midnight on Monday through Friday. Saturday hours go from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday hours are 10 a.m. until midnight.
You can’t consume alcohol on-premise at a gas station.
Texas grocery stores can sell beer and wine.
They can do so from 7 a.m. to midnight on Monday through Friday. On Saturday those hours are from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. Lastly, Sunday hours are from 10 a.m. until midnight.
All sales are for off-premise consumption only.
Package and liquor stores
Texas package stores are more restricted than in other states.
They may sell beer, wine, and liquor on Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. They are not allowed to open on Sundays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s Day.
All sales are for off-premise consumption.
Breweries and taprooms
Breweries in Texas can sell beer for on and off-premise use Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to midnight. Saturday the hours extend to 1 a.m. Sunday they can sell beer from 10 a.m. (if served with food) to midnight. The on-premise sales can go until 2 a.m. if the brewery has a late-hour permit.
There are two basic permits that a brewery can get. These permits determine how and when they can sell beer. Reach out to your local brewery if you want to know their hours.
Can you get beer delivered in Texas?
In 2020, many states allowed beer delivery for a limited time. Most states have since legalized alcohol deliveries more permanently.
Texas allows you to get beer delivered. Retailers that offer off-premise sales must deliver the alcohol in its original sealed packaging. Bars and restaurants can deliver alcohol in a sealed container.
Deliveries can be carried out by the retailer’s employees or third-party delivery service.
What is the minimum drinking age in Texas?
The legal drinking age in the U.S. is consistent across the country. There are sometimes exceptions as I will detail in the next section.
The minimum drinking age is 21 in Texas.
Underage individuals can work as cashiers at alcohol retailers as long as they are not the ones handling the alcohol.
Can minors drink beer in Texas with parents?
One of the most common exceptions is parental approval. Some states allow minors to drink with their parents or guardians while others do not.
Underage individuals can drink alcohol in the presence of their parents or guardians. It is also permitted if they are accompanied by their of-age spouse.
Another exception is for educational purposes. A student enrolled in college or equivalent higher education may taste alcohol if it is required for their studies. However, in this situation, taste does not include swallowing.
Drinking laws in Texas
Now that where, when, and how has been covered, you’ll need to know the rest of the various laws surrounding the fun part: drinking.
Overall, Texas’s laws surrounding drinking are fairly strict. They have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to underage drinking. Penalties for drinking and driving are also rather harsh.
Can you buy growlers and other unsealed beer containers in Texas?
If you prefer to buy your beer in bulk or enjoy craft beers you may be wondering about growlers. Some states don’t allow them. With some of Texas’s blue laws, it would be easy to assume growlers are illegal.
You can buy and fill unsealed containers like growlers at certain retailers in Texas. Bars and restaurants that sell beer and wine but not liquor can fill growlers.
These unsealed containers are meant for off-premise drinking.
Getting said unsealed container falls under open container laws. Some states are relaxed on the issue of open containers of alcohol in motor vehicles. Texas is not.
In Texas, it is illegal to have an open or unsealed container of alcohol in a motor vehicle. The container must be in a locked glove box, the trunk, or behind the last upright seat. Having an open container outside of these areas is a Class C misdemeanor.
This does not apply to passengers in a vehicle meant for a commercial transportation service such as a taxi. Another exception includes vehicles that serve as living quarters like a motorhome.
Texas does not have loose laws surrounding driving under the influence.
Driving while intoxicated in Texas will earn you harsh consequences. If you exceed the legal limit you will face fines, jail time, and other consequences.
The legal limits and penalties depend on the age of the individual as well as whether or not it has occurred before.
Under 21 years old
Attempting to purchase, possess, and drink alcohol before the legal drinking age will result in punishment. Drinking and driving is another matter.
The legal limit for individuals under 21 in Texas is any detectable amount of alcohol. Upon the first conviction, the individual can lose their license for up to a year, be fined up to $500, and be required to attend an alcohol education course.
The penalties only get harsher as repeat offenses occur. An underage individual may also be charged with community service.
21 years and older
Although drinking is legal after 21 years old, driving while intoxicated is very illegal. Though there is a legal limit, when alcohol affects the driver’s capability it is illegal no matter the BAC.
The legal limit for individuals in Texas who are older than 21 is 0.08% BAC. The first conviction will result in a fine of up to $2,000, up to 180 days in jail, and their license will be revoked for up to one year.
There are other penalties that are determined by the situation. There are extra penalties for driving under the influence with a child in the vehicle as an example.