Distilled Spirits Council Applauds Legislature’s Support of the Hospitality/Spirits Industries
Today, the New Jersey General Assembly and Senate approved two identical measures to allow restaurants, bars and taverns to continue selling cocktails to-go six months after the expiration of the governor’s executive order declaring a public health emergency in the state. Additionally, the bills included a tax exemption for distilleries making hand sanitizer for the same time period.
“Allowing restaurants, bars and taverns to sell cocktails to-go has been a critical revenue stream during this pandemic,” said Jay Hibbard, vice president of state government relations at the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. “The inclusion of a tax exemption for distilleries that have stepped up to make hand sanitizer is a welcome addition. Extending these policies will provide a lifeline to these businesses as they work to recover from the economic hardship brought about by COVID-19. We are grateful to the legislature for providing some much-needed certainty for the hospitality and spirits industries.”
The bills passed today, A3966 and S2413, require mixed beverages to be delivered or sold in closed or sealed containers that hold 16 fluid ounces or less.
At the outset of this pandemic, distilleries were forced to close their tasting rooms, but many made the decision to shift production to address the hand sanitizer shortage. In New Jersey, there are 19 distilleries making hand sanitizer for their local communities and beyond to fight COVID-19.
Both bills passed unanimously. This legislation now goes to the governor for his signature.
Currently, 32 states plus the District of Columbia are allowing restaurants and/or bars to sell cocktails to-go, bottled spirits to-go or both. Eighteen states plus the District of Columbia are allowing restaurants and/or bars to deliver distilled spirits in some form. In addition, 12 states plus the District of Columbia are now permitting curbside pickup of distilled spirits from restaurants and/or bars.
Other states, including Texas, Florida and Oklahoma, are considering extending these policies past COVID-19.