From the perfect head on an expertly pulled craft beer to the distinctly pleasing aroma of a glass of red wine, the wineries and breweries of Texas offer an amazing array of alcoholic beverages. While providing these unique and often hard to make beverages, wineries and breweries must also navigate complex and sometimes difficult laws and regulations. Properly licensing your business and complying with the restrictions of those licenses is a crucial aspect of being a successful alcoholic beverage manufacturer.

Wineries and breweries

Based out of Houston, but offering services to the entire great state of Texas, Ranger Licensing offers expert assistance in not only applying for your necessary licenses or permits, but also can help ensure that you have continued compliance with state and federal regulations.

How Ranger Licensing Can Help

Ranger Licensing offers highly specialized and expert assistance to those operating in the alcoholic beverage industry. With years of experience, they can help you navigate the complexities of both state and federal regulations surrounding your business. They have helped many wineries and breweries to run their operations smoothly and to remain in compliance with often changing and evolving regulations throughout the years.

Ranger Licensing can help by offering personalized services designed to meet the specific needs of your winery or brewery. Their knowledge can help you shape your business, ensure that you meet all standards and regulations, and make the process of applying for and renewing your license as simple as possible.

Types of Licenses and Permits Required

Depending on the exact nature of your business, you will likely need one or more of the following license types:

  • Winery Permit (G): This permit allows for the manufacture, bottling, and sale of wine. It includes the ability to offer tastings and sell wine directly to consumers.
  • Brewer’s Permit (B): This permit is required for brewing beer and selling it on-site or to distributors. It also allows for on-premise consumption, by consumers, depending on local laws. Ranger Licensing can help you understand local (such as county or city) restrictions and how they apply to your business, as well.
  • Federal Basic Permit: This permit is essential for both wineries and breweries, usually in conjunction with one of the above mentioned permits. It is issued by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB).

Types of Businesses Requiring Permits

If you make or sell wine or beer, you will likely need a license to comply with both the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) and federal regulations. Each of these business types has specific operational needs and market focuses. This influences their licensing requirements and compliance obligations. Ranger Licensing is happy to help you understand what those additional or specific obligations and requirements entail.  Below are some examples of businesses that fall under these requirements:

  1. Small Craft Breweries:
    • Independent breweries which produce smaller batches of craft beer, often with a focus on unique flavors and local distribution.
  2. Large-Scale Breweries:
    • Larger brewing operations with more significant production volumes, often distributing their products regionally or nationally. Separate regulations may apply if you sell outside state lines of the state in which you produce the beer.
  3. Microbreweries:
    • Very small-scale breweries, often attached to pubs or restaurants, that primarily serve their products on-site.
  4. Brewpubs:
    • A combination of a brewery and a pub, where beer is brewed primarily on-site for sale in the pub, restaurant, or adjoining taprooms.
  5. Traditional Wineries:
    • Wineries that grow their own grapes and produce wine. Wineries often include facilities for tastings and tours, making permits for on-premise consumption necessary.
  6. Urban Wineries:
    • Wineries located in urban settings, which may source grapes from various regions and focus on production and local sales. If grapes are sourced from outside the country, there may be additional restrictions or regulations involved.
  7. Boutique Wineries:
    • Small, often family-run wineries that produce limited quantities of premium wines.
  8. Winery Estates:
    • Large wineries that often include vineyards, production facilities, and sometimes additional amenities like event spaces and luxury accommodations. If you offer events, then it may require additional permits.
  9. Virtual Wineries:
    • Businesses that outsource the production of their wine but handle branding, marketing, and sales.
  10. Cideries and Meaderies:
    • Specialized establishments producing cider or mead, which may fall under similar licensing requirements as breweries and wineries.

Compliance and Regulation Management

Creating your own product requires strict adherence to federal and state law. These regulations include labeling and specifications for how the product can be sold. When a product is an alcoholic beverage, and thus federally regulated, these standards and rules are often even more involved and complex. Failure to comply with the correct regulations can result in fines, revocation of licenses/permits, and, in some cases, even jail time, so it is essential to properly follow any and all regulations.

Ranger Licensing prides itself on staying current on all local, state, and federal laws regarding alcoholic beverages. This means that they can help you stay compliant, and ahead of any changes that may come your business’s way.

Expanding Distribution and Sales

You may already be expanding your business from where it started, or you may be dreaming big for the future. Either way, it’s important to understand what additional permits may be needed for expanding distribution channels. This especially becomes true if you are planning to have interstate sales, or distribute your alcohol yourself such as via trucking.

Navigating the complexities of wider distribution may include aspects such as obtaining out-of-state permits, which allow you to sell in a state other than your own, as well as understanding all local guidelines that may apply in the new areas you plan to sell in. If you fail to follow the regulations and restrictions of other localities, this can result in fines, revocation of permits, and more.

Hosting Tastings and Events

One amazing benefit of running a winery or brewery is that you can sometimes interact with the public and get a direct sense of how much they enjoy your products. This may be through wine tastings, brewery tours, or other special events either on your premise or off of it. These types of events, though, often mean additional licensing and permits. For example, a Winery Permit includes the ability to offer wine tastings, but this may be fairly limited in scope. If you want to hold a larger event, not on your business premises, then this may require some additional permits to ensure that you are complying with local and state guidelines.

Once you have the proper licensing or permits, there are some additional best practices to follow.

  • Always ensure that you understand local and state regulations for the type of event that you are running
  • If proper signage is needed, for example, then make it ahead of time and ensure that it is properly posted in visible areas
  • Ensure that everyone on your staff understands compliance rules, such as checking ID for age restrictions before serving beverages
  • Have a back-up safety plan for if a customer becomes belligerent or acts/appears intoxicated
  • Talk with Ranger Licensing about any local rules or regulations that you may not know about or aren’t sure that you fully understand

Wineries and Breweries TABC Liquor License and Permit FAQs

  1. What Are the Challenges in Obtaining a Brewery vs. Winery License in Texas?
    • Obtaining a brewery or winery license in Texas comes with its own set of distinct challenges. For breweries, the main challenges include adhering to volume production limits set by the Brewer’s License (BW) and navigating local zoning laws, especially for brewpubs or microbreweries that operate in urban or residential areas. Breweries also face stringent labeling and marketing regulations. Wineries, on the other hand, often deal with challenges related to the Winery Permit (G), including regulations on sourcing grapes and restrictions on where and how they can sell their products directly to consumers. Both types of establishments must comply with Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) regulations and federal rules, but the specific requirements and hurdles differ based on the nature of the product and business model.
  2. How Can Wineries and Breweries Navigate Interstate Distribution Laws?
    • Navigating interstate distribution laws requires wineries and breweries to understand and comply with the alcohol regulations of each state they wish to distribute in. This often involves obtaining additional permits or licenses for each state, as alcohol distribution laws can vary significantly from state to state. It’s crucial to work with experienced distributors who are familiar with interstate alcohol laws or to consult with legal experts, such as Ranger Licensing, specializing in alcohol compliance. Additionally, wineries and breweries should stay informed about direct-to-consumer shipping laws, which vary widely across states and can impact their ability to sell and ship their products directly to customers outside of Texas.
  3. What Are Best Practices for Hosting Public Events at Wineries and Breweries?
    • Hosting public events like tastings, tours, or festivals at wineries and breweries requires careful planning to ensure compliance and success. Key best practices include obtaining any necessary temporary permits, especially for events where alcohol is served outside of the usual licensed areas. It’s important to train staff thoroughly on responsible service of alcohol, including checking IDs and managing consumption levels. Clear signage and information about alcohol service policies can help guide guests. Additionally, considering logistics like parking, crowd control, and safety measures is crucial. For larger events, coordination with local authorities may be necessary. Offering a range of non-alcoholic beverages and food options can also enhance the guest experience and promote responsible drinking.

Running your brewery or winery should be your main focus. With assistance from Ranger Licensing, it will be. They can offer you expert guidance and help on everything from obtaining the correct license, ensuring it stays renewed, and navigating the complexities of local, state, and federal regulations over your business.

To schedule a free consultation, call Ranger Licensing today at (713) 881-9009.