Alcoholic Beverage Laws in Texas

Although National Prohibition of alcohol ended more than 70 years ago, over 50 counties in Texas are considered “dry” by law. But that’s only the beginning of the patchwork of the state’s confusing alcohol laws.
“In some counties, only 4 percent beer is legal. In others, beverages that are 14 percent or less alcohol are legal. In some ‘dry’ areas, you can get a mixed drink by paying to join a ‘private club,’ and in some ‘wet’ areas you still need a club membership to get liquor-by-the-drink,” reports the Star-Telegram.

The newspaper demonstrates how confusing the alcohol laws can be. “Move from Fort Worth to Arlington and you’ll be surprised that you can buy beer but not wine at the grocery store. Move to Grand Prairie and you can’t even find beer there, but you can buy alcoholic drinks at restaurants in both towns. Then move to Burelson, which has alcohol sales in the Tarrant County portion of the city but not in the Johnson County side of town.”

Unfortunately, areas with strong anti-alcohol laws tend to have higher rates of alcohol-related problems, such as drunken driving.


  • Labbe, J.R. You may need a drink to understand our liquor laws. Star-Telegram, 5-16-04;
  • Hanson, David J. Preventing Alcohol Abuse. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1995, chapter 3.