The Arizona state legislature passed a bill earlier this year allowing licensed restaurants, bars and liquor stores to sell take-out cocktails. This new market will expand the Arizona takeout and delivery industry.
Take-out alcohol 2021 was one of the most significant changes to Arizona liquor law in the form of HB 2773 according to the Arizona Restaurant Association. The bill will give any business that obtains a lease approved the ability to sell mixed cocktails for off-premises consumption.
After the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants, bars and liquor stores across the state faced closures and closures, but Governor Doug Ducey signed an executive order in March 2020 legalizing the sale of spirits to take away. The sale of take-out alcohol becomes permanent with the implementation of HB 2773, even after the end of the pandemic.
When signing HB 2773, Governor Ducey said: “Bill 2773 will ensure that restaurants and bars are able to expand their business and meet the needs of their customers, especially after having withstood the effects of the pandemic. “
The bill gives companies two different ways to access this new market, one for mixed cocktails and one for packaged products. Mixed cocktails refers to any combination beverage on company premises that contains alcohol and another ingredient. Packaged products refer to alcohol, wine, beer or other types of spirits that are in the original container.
The legislation was sponsored by Chander State Representative Jeff Weninger, a restaurateur.
“Many businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic, but smart policies such as allowing take-out drinks have helped keep many people afloat,” Weninger said as the bill passed. “Bill 2773 will help bars, liquor stores and restaurants grow, and it will attract new businesses to our state. This is a major victory for the Arizona food industry, and I thank Governor Ducey for signing this legislation.
From October 1, bars and liquor stores were able to start selling mixed cocktails to go. Restaurants authorized to sell alcohol can apply for a lease giving them the opportunity to participate in this new method of sale. If a restaurant is approved by the Liquor Control and Licensing Department (DLLC), the company will be granted an automatic, annually renewable lease for take-out cocktails. Restaurants will have to pay a $ 200 application fee and a $ 2,500 lease fee.
Take-out mixed cocktails must be sold in a clean container approved by the National Sanitation Authority and no larger than 32 ounces. There is no limit to the number of containers that can be purchased in an order, but each individual container must be less than 32 ounces. These containers should not be filled with the drink on the premises of the company until after it has been ordered. It should also include a “tamper-evident seal”, all government warning labels and the company logo or name.
Similar to restaurants, any bar has the option of selling packaged products to restaurants for off-premises consumption under a lease. DLLC must approve the lease and there is an application fee of $ 200. Beer and wine bars can only sell beer and wine, while bars can sell beer, wine, and other spirits to restaurants.
Bars and restaurants also have the option of making alcohol deliveries, directly from the company or using a third-party delivery system only during the hours of 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. the next day. Any third-party service must register with DLLC before starting to deliver alcohol on behalf of businesses.
Whenever an order is placed for take-out cocktails and packaged products, a third-party company or delivery system is permitted to request a verification of age and documentation requirements.
The new law still ensures that restaurants comply with certain regulations regarding the distribution of alcohol. Restaurants must maintain a 40/60 food-to-alcohol ratio, all employees must receive alcohol training, restaurants cannot receive more than 30% of their total alcohol sales from take-out sales, and they must ensure that all takeout alcohol sales include food.
The Arizona Restaurant Association applauded the new law.
“Restaurants, bars and liquor stores statewide will have the opportunity to significantly expand their business with the signing of Bill 2773,” said Steve Chucri, Arizona president and CEO Restaurant Association. “Take-out cocktails will help businesses generate revenue and attract new customers, and they will bring new restaurants and bars to our state. I thank Representative Weninger for sponsoring the legislation and Governor Ducey for signing it.
Further information and guidance is expected to come out of the Liquor Control and Licensing Department and DLLC later this month. If you want to learn more, check out To-Go Alcohol.
Author: Flannery Sloan, Arizona Junior Scholar