Some states keeping to-go cocktails

Looser liquor laws appear to be here to stay.

Restaurants got creative during the pandemic and offered to-go alcohol sales after over 35 states changed their policies to help struggling business owners, according to to the Distilled Spirits Council.

As the new system’s popularity rose, 18 states, plus Washington DC, made those amendments permanent, and 13 others now provide carryout adult beverages temporarily, the Council reported.

New York is the most recent state to make the switch.

After a 2021 New York Restaurant Association poll revealed that 78% of residents favored allowing carryout beverages, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced she was making to-go drinks legal until at least 2025.

“New York’s nightlife and hospitality industry is second to none, and by allowing the sale of to-go drinks, we will continue to support the industry’s recovery from the pandemic,” Governor Hochul said in a release earlier this month.

Legislation allowing cocktails to go will expire next year in Massachusetts, Tennessee, Maryland, and Vermont. California is giving consumers the most leeway — their measure will remain in place until 2026, according to the Council.

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