BOSTON (WWLP) – In as little as two weeks, on April 1st, cocktails to-go are set to expire in Massachusetts after already seeing a year extension, but the legislation does have the ability to extend the bill again or make it permanent.
According to a news release from the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, this bill brought stability for local restaurants and convenience to consumers. Andy Deloney, senior vice president & head of state public policy at the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States says that businesses are in shambles over economic challenges like staffing shortages, supply chain issues, and record-high inflation. He adds that he doesn’t see added revenue sources being taken away amid these economic hardships.
“Cocktails to-go were allowed during the pandemic to support struggling hospitality businesses which represent thousands of jobs across Massachusetts,” said Deloney. “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.”
Therefore, two bills will be considered ahead of the legislature that could extend cocktails again for another year until April 1st of 2024.
Laws have been enacted in 18 other states and the District of Columbia to permanently allow cocktails to-go, and 14 others have enacted laws to allow cocktails to-go on a temporary basis. And many of these states are also still considering cocktails to-go legislation.
States that signed legislation to make cocktails to-go permanent into law are 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.
The following are states that signed legislation to allow cocktails to go into a temporary basis 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)
- Washington (expires July 1, 2023)
“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.