To-go drinks to stay in Vermont for at least 2 more years

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Drinks to go are here to stay. As of July 1st, a new law will allow retailers to serve alcohol to Vermonters to enjoy in the comfort of their home. It extends a provision in Governor Scott’s COVID-19 executive order that let establishments sell drinks for off-premise consumption.

“There was strong agreement between the legislature and administration that this is an economic recovery initiative really,” said Wendy Knight, Deputy Commissioner with the Vt Dept of Liquor.

Containers must be fully sealed, and your takeout order must include alcohol and a food item. Knight says to-go cocktails can be purchased between 10 am and 11 pm.

“It needs to include a label that identifies the beverage as being alcohol and containing alcohol,” she said. “It also needs to list the ingredients and the serving size. Those are new requirements of the law.”

At Burger Bar in Colchester, to-go drinks have been part of the program since last spring as restaurants shifted to carry out operations. Everything from margaritas to long islands are being served up in 32 oz mason jars.

“We can pretty much do any cocktail as a mason jar as long as we have the ingredients,” said owner Cody Racine.

Racine says to-go drinks gave them a helpful boost during the height of the pandemic. Now he says, restaurant owners are seeing costs rise on ingredients, from potatoes to burgers, so he’s thrilled about the extension.

“Alcohol sales are a big part of a restaurant so to have that when we couldn’t do dine in was awesome,” he said. “Now, still being able to have that revenue stream is great given the cost of goods going up. Every good costs more than it did 2 months ago.”

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