Consumer- and business-friendly measure will be allowed for three years
Late last night, the New York Legislature approved the negotiated budget which reestablishes the ability of New York restaurants, bars and taverns to serve cocktails to-go for three years. The measure becomes effective immediately upon Governor Kathy Hochul’s signature.
Under New York’s state of emergency during the COVID-19 pandemic, certain hospitality businesses were allowed to sell cocktails to-go, but the measure was eliminated with the end of the emergency order on June 24, 2021.
“New York was the first state to provide an economic lifeline to hospitality businesses through cocktails to-go,” said Jay Hibbard, Distilled Spirits Council Senior Vice President of State Government Relations. “Unfortunately, this critical revenue stream was stripped from New York’s restaurants, bars and taverns with the end of the emergency order, despite continued economic hardships. We are glad to see New York reestablish cocktails to-go in support of local businesses and consumers. We applaud Governor Hochul and the legislature for recognizing the need of New York businesses.”
According to a poll conducted by the New York State Restaurant Association, more than 75 percent of New Yorkers would like the “Alcohol To-Go” program to stay. The budget allows on-premise retailers to sell and deliver, including via third-party delivery, cocktails to-go with a food purchase.
Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation to make cocktails to-go permanent, and 13 other states passed legislation to allow cocktails to-go on a temporary basis.
During COVID-19, more than 35 states began allowing restaurants and/or bars to sell cocktails to-go as an economic relief measure via executive orders or other temporary measures. Since then, 18 states and the District of Columbia enacted laws to permanently allow cocktails to-go, and 13 others enacted laws that allow cocktails to-go on a temporary basis. Some states are still considering cocktails to-go legislation.
States that passed legislation to make cocktails to-go permanent:
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 have all made COVID-era cocktails to-go measures permanent.
States that passed legislation to allow cocktails to-go on a temporary basis:
California (expires December 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 December 31, 2025), New York, Tennessee (expires July 1, 2023), Vermont (expires July 1, 2023), Virginia (expires July 1, 2024) and Washington (expires July 1, 2023) passed legislation to allow cocktails to-go on a temporary basis.
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.