Arbitrary TABC Regulations: Brewery vs. Winery

In the red tape-filled abyss known as the TABC, there are many codes that do more to confuse than regulate the alcohol industry in our great state. We blame the good ol' boys network and the ridiculousness of bureaucracy.

For our first installment, we bring to you the confusing yet true code that states a winery can sell on site. Confusing? No, but when we compare wine regulations to those of a packaging brewery -- which cannot sell onsite -- well, we find that a bit unfair and a little confusing.

It's all in the licensing: a brewer's permit allows "holder to manufacture ale and malt liquor and sell the ale and malt liquor only to wholesale permit holders in this state or to qualified persons outside the state." It nowhere states that the packaged product can be sold at the actual place of brewing. Essentially, with this permit, as well as a manufacturer's permit, breweries have to go through a distributor.

Now for the winery permit, which allows "holder to manufacture, bottle, label and package wine...sell or buy wine from permit holders authorized to purchase and sell wine; sell wine to ultimate consumers for consumption on the winery premises or in unbroken packages for off-premise consumption." In shorter terms -- wineries can sell on their premises as well as using a distributor to do their dirty work.

What gives, TABC?

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Amber Ambrose