Nebraska becomes 14th state to make a COVID-era cocktails to-go measure permanent
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts today signed LB 274 making cocktails to-go permanent and reducing the tax rate for spirits-based ready-to-drink (RTD) products. Nebraska is now the 14th state to make a COVID-era cocktails to-go measure permanent.
“Nebraska restaurants and bars can now serve cocktails to-go on a permanent basis, providing much-needed stability for local businesses devastated by COVID-19,” said Kristi Brown, Distilled Spirits Council Senior Director of State Government Relations. “The path to economic recovery for the hospitality industry will last for years, and consumers have grown accustomed to the increased convenience of cocktails to-go. Making cocktails to-go permanent is a win for Nebraska businesses and consumers.”
The bill also includes a provision that defines a “ready-to-drink cocktail” as a spirits-based product of 12.5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) or less and provides an excise tax rate of $0.95 per gallon, which is equivalent to the wine excise tax rate.
“Reducing the tax rate for spirits-based ready-to-drink products is another great benefit for adult consumers as well as Nebraskan business owners,” Brown added. “We thank Governor Ricketts for making cocktails to-go permanent and reducing the tax rate for spirits-based RTDs.”
Cocktails to-go are effective immediately, while the RTD tax reduction takes effect July 1, 2021.
Cocktails To-Go Background:
More than 35 states began allowing restaurants and/or bars to sell cocktails to-go as a COVID economic relief measure. Iowa, Ohio, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Montana, Arkansas, West Virginia, Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas, Florida, Kansas, Arizona, Nebraska and the District of Columbia have all made COVID-era cocktails to-go measures permanent. Dozens of other states are also considering legislation to extend or make permanent cocktails to-go measures.
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.