New bill seeks to allow take-out cocktails from California restaurants even after pandemic is over


Takeout and delivery cocktails could become a permanent fixture in California even after the pandemic is over, if a new bill that was introduced to the state legislature on Thursday is successful.

State Senator Bill Dodd, D-Napa, who introduced the legislation known as SB389, said the main impetus was to help restaurants generate more revenue.

“This industry has been so battered,” he said. “In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t a quick fix that will keep them going, but hopefully it’s something that can be a boost for them in the future.”

He cited a National Restaurant Association survey that showed 78% of restaurants that sold take-out alcohol had rehired their workers, compared to 62% overall.

In March, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control temporarily allowed the sale of take-out cocktails as long as they were sold with food, but it is not clear until now how long that would be allowed. Under SB389, the dietary requirement would remain. As chairman of the government organization’s Senate committee, Dodd helps oversee the liquor control department.

Dodd’s bill comes less than a week after another bill was introduced that also seeks to relax California’s alcohol laws. SB314, sponsored by State Senator Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, proposes to permanently expand restaurant alcohol sales to sidewalks and other public spaces, such as in parklets, and also creates a way for cities to adopt open container zones, among other things.

Dodd expected widespread and bipartisan support.

“There is no one in the California State Senate or Assembly who does not have constituents who own restaurants and who are suffering,” he said. Responding to the likely criticism that the bill would pose public safety concerns by making alcohol more widely available, Dodd said: “It’s not like it’s a delivery service just for alcohol. because people have to buy food with it. I doubt anyone buys 10 cocktails for themselves.

Family-run California restaurants may soon be competing with a more powerful liquor delivery service. February 2, Uber announced that it was buying Drizly, a liquor delivery company that operates in more than 1,400 US cities, for $ 1.1 billion, adding the ability to deliver drinks to its already strong food delivery mechanism under Uber Eats .

The new bill will likely go to the Senate in April or May.

Esther Mobley is the San Francisco Chronicle’s wine critic. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @Esther_mobley

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