American States Begin To Make Cocktails-to-go Laws Permanent

Individual states have begun the slow march to turning temporary sales of cocktails-to-go into more permanent options with Iowa and Michigan expanding measures instituted in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill that permanently allows cocktails-to-go, and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation extending restaurant and bar sales of cocktails-to-go until 2025.

"The passage of HB 5811 is a recognition by Michigan's elected leadership that restaurants and bars need help immediately to endure during uncertain times,” said Justin Winslow, CEO of the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association.

“The expansive five-year sunset is their recognition of the changing environment in which restaurants operate and a commitment to help the industry meet demand where it is increasing — at home."

More than 30 states and the District of Columbia are allowing restaurants and/or bars to sell cocktails to go, bottled spirits to-go or both, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Distilled Spirits Council of the United States trade group. Other states, including Florida, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and the District of Columbia, are considering making their temporary policies permanent.

“These new laws not only provide needed relief and new revenue sources to the hospitality industry, but they offer fun and safe alternatives for their guests to enjoy hand-crafted cocktails in a comfortable setting of their choice – once again putting Michigan in a position to be a leader in the Midwest’s cocktail scene,” noted Sam Awdish, president of the Michigan Spirits Association.