Photo by William Tauro
By Bob Katzen
A bill filed last week by Sen. Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) would allow restaurants to sell sealed containers of mixed drinks with take-out and delivery orders. A law passed in April allows restaurants and bars to sell limited quantities of beer and wine, in their original containers, with takeout and delivery orders. The order did not include mixed drinks. Restaurants are still barred from serving customers in their dining rooms under a March executive order from Gov. Charlie Baker.
The proposal requires orders for cocktails to be placed by midnight or earlier if the establishment closes before that. The measure defines mixed drinks as a drink sealed in a container holding between 4 and 64 fluid ounces of liquor and mixer that have been combined.
Several days before the bill was filed, Baker was asked if he would support a bill allowing “to-go cocktails.” “Anything beyond [the beer and wine law] would require legislation, and I don’t think there’s anything pending on that at this point,” he said.
“In Massachusetts, we have seen countless small, local restaurants and pubs adversely impacted by COVID-19, with mom and pop establishments fearful that in addition to layoffs and lost revenue, they will not be able to reopen their doors following the shutdown,” said Sen. DiZoglio. The sale of to-go mixed drinks during this time would generate critical revenue, helping to alleviate the burden that restaurants in our communities are feeling and support them in their efforts to retain employees and pay rent and taxes. It is time for Massachusetts to step it up and join the 34 states that have already adopted these measures.”
“Restaurants are among the hardest, if not the most impacted businesses by the Coronavirus shutdown,” said Steve Clark, a spokesperson for the Massachusetts Restaurant Association. “Allowing mixed drinks to go is another tool for restaurants to attempt to increase revenue opportunities. We hope Massachusetts joins the other neighboring states in authorizing this legislation. There is just something about a professionally made cocktail that can’t be replicated at home.”