State News

Bill to make cocktails-to-go permanent passes Vt House, moves to Senate

On Tuesday, March 21, the Vermont House of Representatives passed H.470, which would make cocktails-to-go permanent. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration. 

“Cocktails to-go were allowed during the pandemic to support struggling hospitality businesses which represent thousands of jobs across Vermont,” said Andy Deloney, senior vice president & head of state public policy at the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. “Since then, cocktails to-go have become a regular part of takeout dining for adult consumers and a stable source of revenue for hospitality businesses as they continue to recover from the lasting impacts of Covid-19. These businesses are now facing new economic challenges like staffing shortages, supply chain issues and record-high inflation. Stripping them of an added revenue source amid these economic hardships just doesn’t make sense.”

Currently, cocktails to-go is  set to expire on July 1, 2023. H.470 removes the sunset date and allows on-premise licensees to sell cocktails to-go for carryout with a food order.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 18 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws to permanently allow cocktails to-go, and 14 others have enacted laws that allow cocktails to-go on a temporary basis. Numerous states are still considering cocktails to-go legislation. 

“The future of the hospitality industry will be dependent upon many factors outside of the control of business owners, and cocktails to-go is a valuable tool in their continued recovery and long-term growth,” Deloney said.

States that signed legislation to make cocktails to-go permanent, include: Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Iowa, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia. 

States that signed legislation to allow cocktails to-go on a temporary basis, include:

California (expires Dec. 31, 2026), Colorado (expires July 1, 2025), Connecticut (expires June 4, 2024), Illinois (expires January 3, 2024), Maine (expires March 30, 2025), Maryland (local option – expires June 30, 2023), Massachusetts (expires April 1, 2023), Michigan (expires Jan. 1, 2026), New Jersey (TBD), New York (expires April 9, 2025), Tennessee (expires July 1, 2023), Vermont (expires July 1, 2023), Virginia (expires July 1, 2024) and Washington (expires July 1, 2023). 

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