Senate passes takeout beer and wine sales at restaurants

Bar and restaurant owners asked that the sale of wine and beer be allowed with their curbside takeout orders while they are shut down due to the stay-at-home order. Expanding the sale of beer and wine would boost sales and preserve jobs in an industry that has been hit hard since the shutdown.

The Senate passed the takeout liquor bill and sent it to the House, where they are expected to take it up on April 17. The governor supports the bill and has indicated that he will sign it into law.

The bill allows establishments with on-sale liquor licenses to sell wine, beer, hard seltzer, and cider as off-sale in addition to their takeout food sales for the duration of the peacetime emergency. The alcoholic beverage must be sold in the original, unopened packaging and must be limited to 72 oz in total of beer, seltzer, and cider, and 750 milliliters for wine per order. Establishments must require proof of age, and municipalities may vote to prohibit these sales in their jurisdiction. Establishments that choose to partake in this must inform their insurance provider.

However, not everyone agrees with the bill. A number of microbreweries and micro-distilleries have been asking for temporary relaxing of various liquor laws they must adhere to, such as the limit on how much micro-distilleries can sell and allowing microbreweries to off-sale even if they don’t have a license until the stay-at-home order is lifted. Some of those businesses are seeing this as an affront or favoritism of some sorts as we are relaxing liquor standards for one industry but not others.

Sixteen other states have allowed restaurants and bars to serve liquor at curbside during their stay-at-home orders, including Wisconsin, Illinois, and California. (SF 4489)