States move to extend or make permanent to-go cocktails

Legislation is pending in 13 states to allow restaurants and bars to continue selling alcohol off-premise.
Cocktails to-go
Photograph courtesy of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants

Thirteen states have recently filed bills to extend or make permanent cocktails-to-go programs initiated during the pandemic.

The 13 states are Delaware, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas and Virginia. More are expected to follow, according to the Hospitality Recovery Coalition, an initiative spearheaded by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), the National Restaurant Association and other industry partners.

Currently, more than 30 states plus the District of Columbia are allowing the sale of cocktails to-go, bottled spirits and wine to-go, or both. Iowa and Ohio have both made cocktails to-go permanent.

Off-premise alcohol sales have been a much-needed revenue stream for struggling restaurants and bars over the past year.

“Innovative measures like cocktails to-go won’t fully solve the hospitality industry’s economic woes, but it may help these businesses hang on during this COVID-19 emergency,” DISCUS President and CEO Chris Swonger said in a statement.

The legislation also provides some stability for the future of bars, restaurants and distilleries, according to DISCUS.

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