Distilled Spirits Council urges making measure permanent to support hospitality industry

In just two weeks’ time on April 1, cocktails to-go will no longer be allowed in Massachusetts despite providing stability to local restaurants and convenience to consumers unless the legislature acts to extend or make the measure permanent.

“Cocktails to-go were allowed during the pandemic to support struggling hospitality businesses which represent thousands of jobs across Massachusetts,” 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.”

Two bills, HB 57 and SB 23, are being considered before the legislature that could extend cocktails to-go for one year until April 1, 2024. Cocktails to-go language is also included in the House supplemental budget.

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.

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, 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 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), Maine (expires March 30, 2025), Maryland (local option – expires June 30, 2023), Massachusetts (expires April 1, 2023), Michigan (expires January 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) passed legislation to allow cocktails to-go on a temporary basis.