More On BYOB: You Say You Want A Revolution? Let’s Revolt.

Last week Ms. Amy Severson raged against the “Dewhurst Bill” which would changes the rules surrounding  BYOB. She makes a lot of good points. If you want to read about the national BYOB movement, Glazer’s Alfonso “MW” Cevola provides a list of links over on The Blend.  I gotta say, I’m with Ms. Amy on this issue—allowing looser controls on BYOB means more paperwork and less profit for restaurants. They already have enough to deal with. Sorry, Alfonso, I’m sure that wasn’t the emotion you expected when you sent the link. Grrr.


  • No worries, Nancy (and Amy).

    My post was really meant to indicate a trend that seems to be wrapped into the new economy. However the local governments ( and economies) work it out is up to them. I just thought it interesting to note. Plus the gal in the hot red wig reminded me of you!

  • Dear Nancy,

    That would be “MG”, not “MW”. Dont want to get in trouble with the Masters of Wine who read this 😉

  • Well, I am not referring to any wine distinction. It is your status as a “member” of the media.

  • DGirl

    This would hurt already hurting restaurants. Having superior wine service is a benefit for guests and a competitive advantage for restaurants.

    If Dewhurst wants to drink his own wine, then he should stay home and buy his wife cooking lessons.

  • Rawlins Nichol-Plated

    I think Amy S should be put on a local Hunk-Held sedan chair (or a properly decorated flatbed) and hauled around town so people could clap and cheer, tossing flowers. She is such a breath a fresh air anytime in any forum that one feels a tropic breeze even reading her thoughts. (Poof of gratuitous jasmine oil)

    Of course I would like BYOB everywhere. But I also wish I could ride a Leer Jet like a bucking bronco after a round of Mai Tais.

  • DGirl

    My g-d, Rawlins, that is a spectacular visual image you’ve created there!

    PS – I agree. Amy S. for Mayor.

  • Buzsurf

    Part of the joy of eating out is the unexpected wine offerings. I’d hate to see that disappear.

  • Only if Eric Celeste and this guy can carry the chair

    And I would declare “Free Lavavulin Scotch Day” for poets and bird watchers.

    However my vows to my husband of never “getting political” would be broken, finding myself once again sorry to have opened my big mouth.

    Happy marriage has it’s pricelessness.

  • Michael

    I agree that wine (and liquor)sales are integral to a restaurant’s success, especially these days. BYOB would seriously threaten many places viability. It would also undermine any reason to have wine expertise in a restaurant. I would however like to see restaurants not doing a triple mark up on wine. If the prices were not so inflated there would be no incentive to BYOB.

  • Believe me, no one would like to offer you a lower price than the owners. It’s not a triple markup on wine when you add in the Gross Receipts tax, 14% it becomes a double markup. The path from producer to table is so non-competitive, the consumer pays for it in the end. Even the Sunset Committee Staff Report (2004) stated:

    “While the system was certainly appropriate at one point in time, it now seems to be focused on protecting the interests of the various industry segments and not on public safety”.

    Some cities have voted themselves wet in recent years, Dallas’ attempts were thwarted by state judges last year (oh, and they are elected judges, IJS).

    I keep thinking of the little places, the Tramontana’s, York Streets, for them to lose a sale really hurts. Our city would have far less of them if they can’t be profitable.

  • Michael

    Fair enough…you did explain that here last year and I had forgotten. I promise never to bring my own bottle. I will email my state rep and senator…we all should do that or call…apparently they do listen.

  • Van

    Allowing BYOB doesn’t have to be a all or nothing issue. It gives the operator the option to boost up slower nights, say a Monday or Tuesday by allowing patrons free or low cost corkage. Fill in some excess table inventory that would just be sitting there empty that night. No restaurant has to allow it all the time, just set your perimeters that benefit your restaurant in a positive way. I allow BYOB for $10 corkage with first class stems Tuesday-Thursday and we receive a nice bump with those additional customers most nights. Many come back on the weekends and purchase off the list when BYOB is not available. Allowing BYOB doesn’t have to be a death spiral to beverage revenues or a pita. Just set policies that you can live with.

  • NoMoreWhines

    Smart move Van. I bet you run a first class place too.

  • Van=Lola Van?

  • I agree with Rawlins. Amy certainly knows her stuff.

  • Sproutling

    Nancy=I.P. Nichols?

  • Van

    Yes Nancy, Lola Van as opposed to IHOP Van.

  • DTD

    Aside from the backdoor way this bill moved through the Senate, one major problem is the disparate impact that will result across the restaurant spectrum.

    The measure will not logically apply to chain restaurants, because no one is going to pay corkage to bring in her own Beringer to save money. It will impact higher-end restaurants (a segment that is struggling in the recession when compared to “fast-casual” restaurants).

    And the argument that ‘BYOB works miracles in other states, so it will work here’ doesn’t necessarily hold water, because restaurants in those states don’t have to deal with the glorious TX Alcoholic Beverage Code, random wet/dry areas and patchwork smoking ordinances.

    Further, from a liability standpoint, restaurants that allow BYOB are still saddled with many alcohol-related state laws, including the requirement to prevent minors from obtaining alcohol, etc. Further, just because the restaurant doesn’t “sell” the alcohol doesn’t mean it won’t be named as a defendant when the patron who overseves himself crashes into a family while driving home.

    Bad bill.

  • Paul

    Running a restaurant must be a hard job and is probably getting harder every day. I sympathize with the owners. But as a consumer, I like BYOB and I bet I’m not alone. Restaurants aren’t immune to changes in the marketplace and some will adapt and prosper and others won’t.

  • Mac


    Sorry to throw you nuder the bus, but none of your comments / arguments really hold any water.

    The measure will impact the high-end restaurants only if they circle the wagons and remained totally close-minded about the doom and despair instead of finding ways to INCREASE revenues like Van has suggested….not to mention that it is HIGHLY unlikely that any significant number of customers will take advantage of this. I have lived and worked in high-end restaurants in other states that allowed this and it was NEVER an issue – very rarely did anyone actually bring in wine.

    The TABC “codes, wet/dry areas and patchwork smoking ordinances” – what possible connection / detriment do those things pose with regard to this measure?

    The liability argument is kind of ridiculous – NOTHING changes as far as what your current liability is. As an operator/owner you can choose not to allow any BYOB, you can limit the number of bottles a customer can bring in, you can set your fees at whatever you would like – so you have TOTAL control – no different than what it is right now.

    Amy – I would think that the little places like Tramontana and York St would stand to benefit greatly – they have AWESOME food and attract a clientele that would most appreciate a promotion such as what Van suggested to get those customers in more frequently and on off nights. If I were them I would promote the hell out of BYOB nights on off nights and fill the place up! After all, the most expensive thing in any restaurant – is an EMPTY SEAT!

  • Don in Austin

    Heck I just want to buy beer from the local microbrewery. The distribution hiarchy of the big 3 don’t want that to happen of course. There is a bill to tweak the current laws and allow it, much like the winery’s can legally do now, but Geren might not let it out of committee. Bummer.

  • DeeLish

    Van is a master restauranteur, it is true. (Although I would prefer it if he recognize me from my numerous visits.)

    Yet, his restaurant is not a private club so he does not have the same issues as Amy S. where she cannot make up the difference on sales during peak times.

    Although I applaud Van’s efforts, many restaurants rely heavily on their wine sales while keeping their food prices down. We don’t all have tasting menus which guarantee us a minimum amount being spent. The dilemma is do we set corkage fees high and upset our clients. This not only protects our profits but also ensures we remain in good favor with wine distributors who ultimately offer the unique wines to restaurants able to keep up their sales.