By: Camila Alarcon
The COVID-19 pandemic brought us to-go cocktails amidst the stay at home orders from last spring, which the courts took away last fall. The legislature, thanks in large part to Representative Jeff Weninger (R-17) and the Arizona Restaurant Association, brought them back, and added more to-go privileges for restaurants.
The concept of this legislation is straightforward. The legislation itself is not. If you operate a restaurant (Series 12), beer and wine bar (Series 7), bar (Series 6), or a liquor store (Series 9), here are some high level items to mull over before the law goes into effect. The legislation itself is 46 pages long, and best read with a drink in hand.
The Cocktail Permit and Leasing Off-Sale Privileges.
Bars and liquor stores can sell to-go cocktails, and restaurants may do so with food and a lease (permits will come later). Restaurants traditionally had no off-sale privileges, other than those that had growler permits. Now, restaurants may apply for a lease to sell to-go cocktails and another lease for off-sale privileges to sell packaged beer, wine, and distilled spirits from a bar or liquor store (or just beer and wine from a beer and wine bar). The legislation does not allow beer and wine bars to sell mixed cocktails to-go.
Mixed Cocktails and Tamper Proof Seals.
The legislation defines mixed cocktail as any spirituous liquor (beer, wine, and distilled spirits) that is mixed with at least one other ingredient, other than water, combined at the premises (meaning not prepackaged). This cocktail must go into a container with a tamper proof seal, meaning any type of cap, seal, cork, or closure that shows whether the container has been opened.
Third-Party Delivery and Bitters.
Also weaved into this legislation is further regulation of third-party delivery services and an exception for regulating bitters as alcohol, likely in response to this article.
The effective date for this legislation is October 1, 2021.
Camila Alarcon focuses her practice in administrative law and government relations. Camila is well-versed in licensing and the regulatory landscapes of the alcohol and hospitality industries. She also assists her clients in shaping legislative policy when current statutes and rules require amending.