Texas Governor Abbott announced today that tasting rooms at wineries and distilleries can open at 50% capacity next week on October 14. Bars and breweries are also included in the executive order and all are applicable as long as their county governments choose to allow it. County judges will work with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and those judges would have to agree with the TABC to allow these businesses to operate with in-person service.
Customers at the establishments operating under this new order may eat or drink only while seated, except for wineries and distilleries where they may sample beverages while standing so long as they are in a group of six people or fewer, and there is at least six feet of social distancing between groups. There are no limits on outdoors capacity at these facilities.
Patrick Whitehead, President of the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association and Texas Winery PAC board member said:
“We’re grateful for Governor Abbott addressing the economic crisis facing our small businesses. As Texas continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, tasting rooms at hundreds of wineries, breweries, and distilleries were closed, limiting consumer access, negatively affecting sales, impacting jobs, and reducing much-needed tax revenue for local and state governments. We’ve made clear that our businesses can safely reopen, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to throw open our doors once again to Texans ready to taste and buy Texas wines.
“With a direct and indirect economic impact of close to $15 billion to the state of Texas every year, including over $1 billion paid in state and local taxes, the Texas wine industry is pleased to have the opportunity to be a part of the Texas economic recovery from COVID-19.”
Dee Kelleher, co-owner of Dripping Springs Distilling and Chair of the Texas Craft Spirits PAC, said:
“Texas businesses are struggling during COVID-19, and the craft spirits industry is no exception. While we greatly appreciated the Governor’s efforts to keep people safe during this COVID crisis, the prolonged closure took its toll on many of our state’s smaller distilleries. In the event there is another shutdown, we hope Governor Abbott understands that distilleries, wineries, and breweries are not bars and should not be treated as such.
“As we reopen and look ahead to the 2020 Texas Legislative Session, we must address long-term issues that hold back Texas craft distillers’ ability to create jobs, drive new investments, and revenue for our state, and bring Texas born and distilled craft spirits to more Texans.”
About the Texas Winery PAC and Texas Craft Spirits PAC
The Texas Winery PAC and the Texas Craft Spirits PAC are working to share their vision of a Texas with laws that promote, rather than inhibit the growth and prosperity of the craft spirits and wine industries, both of which have a significant positive impact on the state’s economy.
Texas wine supporters can lean more at savetexaswineries.org and #SaveTexasWineries. Fans and customers of Texas’ craft distilleries can support the industry and at texascraftspirits.org and #StillStrongTexas.