CHEERS: STATE RELAXES ALCOHOL LAWS TO ALLOW RESTAURANTS TO SELL DRINKS TO GO

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Craft distilleries, wineries and breweries also offering take-out bottle sales

By Miriam Raftery

March 21, 2020 (Sacramento) – If you’re craving a margarita or martini to ease your household’s isolation during the coronavirus stay-home order, here’s some cheery news.  You can now order alcoholic drinks to go at certain California establishments – provided you transport them in your trunk or other unoccupied area of your vehicle, if a trunk is not available.

The state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control department has temporarily eased restrictions to now allow restaurants to offer pick-up or delivery of beer, wine, and pre-mixed cocktails with secure lids or caps (no straws or sipping holes)—as long as you buy some food, too.

Such sales are limited to the type of license a restaurant has, i.e., a restaurant licensed to sell only beer and wine would not be able to offer hard liquor drinks.

Restaurants with appropriate licenses can also offer pre-packaged beer, wine, and spirits.

 Consumers can also order alcohol to go through drive-through windows at establishments that have liquor licenses.

Outlets selling to-go liquor must display a sign advising the public about how to legally transport alcoholic products.

Craft distilleries are now allowed to take delivery orders for up to 2.25 liter per person, per day. 

Wineries and craft breweries can offer to-go sales of bottles under existing law, and some also offer shipping.

Alcohol manufacturers are temporarily allowed to accept returns from retailers under terms negotiated between the parties, to help bring income in for restaurants overstocked with merchandise.