We at Somabar have been encouraging Governor Newsom through emails, BLOG Posts, Articles, and an industry-wide email campaign to allow for restaurants to provide takeout and delivery cocktails throughout the State of California to help our devastated restaurant and hospitality industry.
And yesterday, the California Alcoholic Beverage Commission (ABC) in furtherance of the emergency orders issued by California Governor Newsom, provided regulatory relief to all on-sale liquor license holders (i.e., alcohol licensed restaurants, food-serving bars and other food service providers throughout California) allowing for the immediate sale of cocktails for take-out and delivery.
For many of these businesses, cocktails account for their highest margin sales. And even at Beer & Wine licensed locations, cocktails have become the latest trend and most exciting new revenue opportunity as restaurants discover they can use fermented liquors (such as Agave Wine as a proxy for tequila) and other wine-license safe alcohols to make near-identical (and arguably healthier!) fermented-liquor cocktails. These fermented-cocktails include all the favorites such as Margaritas, Cosmopolitans and Manhattans. Click here to learn more about selling cocktails with only a Beer & Wine license.
The California regulatory relief allowing for cocktail takeout and delivery comes with a few very reasonable conditions. Among these are (1) cocktails must only be sold in conjunction with meals prepared for pick-up or delivery, (2) cocktails must be packaged in a container with a secure lid or cap (no straw holes!), and (3) a warning that puts consumers on notice of limitations regarding open container laws must be prominently posted exactly as set forth below:
Alcoholic beverages that are packaged by this establishment are open containers and may not be transported in a motor vehicle except in the vehicle’s trunk; or, if there is no trunk, the container may be kept in some other area of the vehicle that is not normally occupied by the driver or passengers (which does not include a utility compartment or glove compartment (Vehicle Code Section 23225)). Further, such beverages may not be consumed in public or in any other area where open containers are prohibited by law.
In this time of great uncertainty and challenges, all businesses, and in particular those directly impacted by COVID-19 shut-downs such as dine-in restaurants and bars, must seek new and creative ways to help make ends meet. Thankfully, California has now offered a powerful tool by allowing cocktail take-out and delivery, which, together with innovative, cost reducing cocktail solutions such as Somabar, may keep restaurants and its employees open and running in the unpredictable days and weeks to come.
You can read the full California ABC Notice of Regulatory Relief details here.
*cocktail images shown in this article are for illustration only
and do not comply with open container laws