Carryout margaritas are very close to becoming a reality in Michigan. The state legislature has finally passed a bill allowing bars to begin selling to-go cocktails. The bill was previously approved by the house and passed in the senate on Wednesday, June 24 by a wide margin with 226 legislators voting in favor of the measure and 36 voting no. House Bill 5811 is now headed to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk for a signature.
Takeout cocktails are designed to provide some relief to bars across the state that lacked a kitchen for carryout food during the months long dine-in closure in Michigan. The new legislation will also allow customers who are avoiding dining out to still purchase mixed drinks from their favorite cocktail spots and create new opportunities for bars that wish to limit customer contact by reopening with takeout service-only. Many cocktail bars in the state already sell cocktail kits with everything sans the booze, but that poses challenges for customers who may not have an arsenal of mixing ingredients or liquor at home. Alcohol, is responsible for 20 to 30 percent of restaurant sales across the country.
Under the legislation restaurants and bars could sell liquor to-go through December 31, 2025. Drinks must be sold in sealed containers without “perforations or straw holes” that approved for off-premises liquor consumption. The containers must be less than one gallon. All to-go containers must include a label that states, “Contains alcohol: Must be delivered to a person 21 years of age or older.” Recipients of the beverages must show identification with proof of age.
Michigan follows 30 states around the country that now allow to-go liquor. Many passed measures early on in response to the novel coronavirus crisis and Michigan has been among the slowest to adopt the new rule. In April, nearly 30 prominent members of Michigan’s beverage industry launched a petition to allow to-go cocktail sales.
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• Michigan Lawmakers Propose Bills for To-Go Cocktails and ‘Social Districts’ for Outdoor Drinking [ED]
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• Liquor Laws Loosen Up in the Face of Delivery-Only Dining [E]