During COVID-19, more than 35 states began allowing restaurants and/or bars to sell cocktails to-go as an economic relief measure via executive orders or other temporary measures. Since then, 18 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws to permanently allow cocktails to-go while 13 other states have enacted laws that allow cocktails to-go on a temporary basis. Some states are still considering cocktails to-go legislation. You can see a complete list of permanent and temporary cocktail to go states below.
New York Extends Cocktails-to-Go
On April 7th, the New York Legislature approved the negotiated budget which reestablishes the ability of New York restaurants, bars and taverns to serve cocktails to-go for three years. The measure becomes effective immediately upon Governor Kathy Hochul’s signature.
Under New York’s state of emergency during the COVID-19 pandemic, certain hospitality businesses were allowed to sell cocktails to-go, but the measure was eliminated with the end of the emergency order on June 24, 2021.
“New York was the first state to provide an economic lifeline to hospitality businesses through cocktails to-go,” said Jay Hibbard, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) Senior Vice President of State Government Relations. “Unfortunately, this critical revenue stream was stripped from New York’s restaurants, bars and taverns with the end of the emergency order, despite continued economic hardships. We are glad to see New York reestablish cocktails to-go in support of local businesses and consumers. We applaud Governor Hochul and the legislature for recognizing the need of New York businesses.”
According to a poll conducted by the New York State Restaurant Association, more than 75 percent of New Yorkers would like the “Alcohol To-Go” program to stay. The budget allows on-premise retailers to sell and deliver, including via third-party delivery, cocktails to-go with a food purchase.
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Virginia Extends Cocktails-to-Go
On April 4, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin (R-VA) signed HB 426 and SB 254, extending cocktails to-go until July 1, 2024. Cocktails to-go provide increased support for hospitality businesses struggling to rebound from the harsh economic impacts of COVID-19.
“Virginia’s bars and restaurants can rest a bit easier knowing cocktails to-go are here to stay for another two years,” said David Wojnar, senior vice president and head of state public policy for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. “This revenue-generating measure has provided much-needed support for local hospitality businesses and increased convenience for Virginia’s consumers. We thank Governor Youngkin and the legislature for extending cocktails to-go.”
Massachusetts Extends Cocktails-to-Go
On April 4th, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed H 4650, a spending package that includes a one-year extension for cocktails to-go from restaurants and bars in the state.
“Cocktails to-go continue to provide a stable source of revenue as Massachusetts businesses cope with the ongoing challenges related to the pandemic, staff shortages, supply chain disruptions and inflation,” said Hibbard. “The hospitality industry has been devastated over the last couple of years, and extending consumer- and business-friendly measures like cocktails to-go give them an opportunity to recover. We applaud the legislature and the governor for ensuring cocktails to-go stick around for another year.”
Maine Extends Cocktails-to-Go
On March 30th, Governor Janet Mills (D-Maine) signed LD 1751, legislation extending cocktails to-go in Maine until March 30, 2025 to provide increased stability for hospitality businesses still struggling to cope with the harsh economic impacts of COVID-19.
“The extension of cocktails to-go in the state will provide much-needed stability as local restaurants, bars and distilleries work to get back on their feet. We applaud the legislature and Governor Mills for supporting Maine’s hospitality businesses,” said Jay Hibbard.
States with Permanent ‘Cocktails-to-Go’
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
- D.C. (District of Columbia)
States with Temporary ‘Cocktails-to-Go’
- California – December 31, 2026
- Connecticut – June 4, 2024
- Illinois – Jan. 3, 2024
- Maine – March 30, 2025
- Maryland – June 30, 2023 (local option)
- Massachusetts – May 1, 2022
- Michigan – December 31, 2025
- New York – Pending Gov’s Signature
- Rhode Island – March 1, 2022
- Tennessee – July 1, 2023
- Vermont – July 1, 2023
- Virginia – July 1, 2024
- Washington – July 1, 2023