Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

February 1, 2023

Restaurants, national group back bill allowing to-go cocktails

PHOTO | CONTRIBUTED Chip Kohn, owner of West Hartford’s Beachland Tavern, Beachland Smoke and Rockledge Grille, says funding from the Paycheck Protection Program was key to keeping his restaurants afloat over the past year.

A bill that would make to-go cocktails permanently legal in Connecticut has won support from one of the nation’s main spirits business organizations.

The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, a business organization that lobbies at the state and federal level for the spirits industry, testified in front of the state legislature’s General Law Committee this week in support of House bill 6548, a proposal that would allow restaurants and bars to sell customers to-go cocktails.

The Connecticut Restaurant Association also supports the proposal. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Ned Lamont signed legislation allowing restaurants to sell to-go cocktails, but that temporary law expires June 4, 2024. The council’s vice president of state public policy Emily Smith said during her testimony Tuesday that to-go  cocktails have given a “vital economic boost to struggling restaurants and bars.”

The bill would remove the sunset date of June 5, 2024, to allow on-premise retail alcohol licensees to permanently sell distilled spirits and mixed drinks with a food purchase. Per the bill, any alcohol sold for carryout or delivery must be in a securely sealed container that prevents consumption without the removal of a tamper-evident lid, cap or seal and for it to be placed in a bag by employees prior to removal from the licensed premises.

According to the Distilled Spirits Council, states that have already signed legislation making cocktails to-go permanent include: 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.

Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF