The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, or TABC, is the state agency that regulates the state's alcoholic beverage industry. It takes in more than $200 million annually in taxes and fees. It was established in 1935 as the Liquor Control Board.
The Alcoholic Beverage Code authorizes the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to:
- Grant, refuse, suspend or cancel permits and licenses in all phases of the alcoholic beverage industry.
- Supervise, inspect and regulate the manufacturing, importation, exportation, transportation, sale, storage, distribution, and possession of alcoholic beverages.
- Assess and collect fees and taxes.
- Investigate for violations of the Alcoholic Beverage Code and assist in the prosecution of violators.
- Seize illicit beverages.
- Adopt standards of quality and approve labels and size of containers for all alcoholic beverages sold in Texas.
- Pass rules to assist the agency in all of the above.
The commission is composed of three members appointed by the governor. The chairman is also designated by the governor. Members serve six-year terms with the consent of the Texas Senate.
In 1970 the Legislature renamed the Liquor Control Board the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and recodified the Liquor Control Act as the Alcoholic Beverage Code. The following year, the Legislature permitted voters in local elections to decide whether mixed beverages could be sold in restaurants and bars in their area. Consequently, the TABC monitors the distribution of alcoholic beverages to ensure there are no illegal business relationships between manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers. It also regulates and controls the flow of alcoholic beverages from manufacturers to consumer. Additionally, because the legislature transferred the Bingo Enabling Act from the Comptroller of Public Accounts to the TABC in 1989, it is responsible for regulating the bingo industry and auditing both alcoholic beverage and bingo accounts to determine if the proper amount of taxes have been paid. In the spring of 1992 the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission reviewed the TABC; it concluded that the commission should continue for a 12-year period subject to review again in 2005. Citing 45,000 criminal and 3,600 administrative enforcement actions the TABC took in fiscal year 1991, the report persuasively argued a need for the agency's continued oversight of the alcoholic beverage industry.