June 03, 2007
Where can you get a drink in this town?

It's harder than you think to get a drink in Brazoria County.

Counties, cities or justice-of-the-peace precincts can be, by local-option election, totally wet, totally dry or anywhere in between. It's all up to local voters.

Roy Hale, of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, keeps a spreadsheet 2,345 lines long to try to follow what is legal where, but even he acknowledges it's almost impossible to keep up with regulations throughout the state.

In Brazoria County alone, there have been 33 different issues on ballots concerning alcohol sales since 1919.

In the same 1933 election in which they approved doing away with prohibition, Brazoria County voters approved only the sale of beer in the county. In 1936 and 1937, voters twice turned down the idea of approving the sale of other forms of alcohol. Since then, the only changes to the regulations have been in cities or JP precincts.

Richwood, for example, voted to prohibit all sale of beer in 1967, and then voted a year later to approve its sale at stores for off-premise consumption only.

Voters in a JP precinct that includes the town of Sweeny outlawed the sale of beer in 1958. Now that precinct is in parts of two modern precincts, and voters in both would have to approve the sale of beer for it to be legal there again, Hale said.

Angleton, Surfside Beach, Freeport and Iowa Colony voted in the 1970s to legalize the sale of all alcoholic beverages.

Quintana approved the sale of beer and wine only.

In the latest two elections, in 2002 and 2006, Pearland and West Columbia voters approved the sale of mixed beverages in restaurants. That category is the newest form of alcohol sales, Hale said.

"It seems to be more acceptable to voters because you don't have a place that's just a bar," he said.

Sounds like a good argument for staying in Houston, if you ask me. Be that as it may, the folks in Brazoria County may get to vote on liberalizing their alcohol rules this November. I'll drink to that.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 03, 2007 to Elsewhere in Houston

Check out this site for a hint at the complexity of alcohol sales in Texas.


Posted by: cacafuego on June 7, 2007 9:40 AM