Distilled Spirits Council urges Senate passage in support of local businesses and consumers

Late yesterday, the Connecticut House of Representatives passed H.B. 6548, legislation to allow cocktails to-go from restaurants and bars permanently.

“Cocktails to-go were allowed during the pandemic to support struggling hospitality businesses which represent thousands of jobs across Connecticut,” said Emily Smith, vice president 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. We urge the Senate to pass this business- and consumer-friendly measure and send it to the governor’s desk for signature.”

The bill would make permanent the current temporary cocktails to-go law, set to expire June 5, 2024, which requires any alcohol to-go to be accompanied by a food order. Delivery is allowed by a direct employee of the permittee or a third-party vendor that holds an in-state transporter’s permit.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 20 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws to permanently allow cocktails to-go, and 12 others have enacted laws that allow cocktails to-go on a temporary basis. Numerous states are still considering cocktails to-go legislation.

The distilled spirits industry is committed to responsibility and encourages moderation for adults who choose to drink alcohol. Cocktails to-go are intended for home consumption. Laws governing alcohol consumption must always be observed.


States that signed legislation to make cocktails to-go permanent into law:

Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Iowa, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia have all made COVID-era cocktails to-go measures permanent.

States that signed legislation to allow cocktails to-go on a temporary basis into law:

California (expires December 31, 2026), Colorado (expires July 1, 2025), Connecticut (expires June 4, 2024), Illinois (expires January 3, 2024), Maryland (local option – expires June 30, 2023), Massachusetts (expires April 1, 2024), Michigan (expires January 1, 2026), New Jersey (TBD), New York (expires April 9, 2025), Tennessee (expires July 1, 2023), Vermont (expires July 1, 2023) and Virginia (expires July 1, 2024) passed legislation to allow cocktails to-go on a temporary basis.