Georgia bill to make to-go cocktails permanent heads to Senate for vote

ATLANTA — A Georgia Senate Committee has passed a bill that will make to-go cocktails from restaurants permanent.

Currently, more than 30 states including Georgia, allow to-go cocktails due to the pandemic.

Bill 236 would allow establishments licensed to sell distilled spirits for consumption on the premises to sell mixed drinks to go in approved, tamper-evident containers.

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Customers would be required to place the container in a locked glove compartment, trunk or behind the last seat of their vehicle if they have no trunk. Cocktail orders must be submitted with a food order.

An official with the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. submitted testimony in favor of the bill, highlighting the importance of revenue generated by to-go cocktails as restaurants struggle during the ongoing health crisis.

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“The hospitality industry, which represents tens of thousands of jobs in all 159 of Georgia’s counties, has been one of the most heavily impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Jay Hibbard said. “Job losses have been in the thousands, and many long-established restaurants have closed their doors permanently.”

Hibbard said that providing licensed establishments with to-go cocktail privileges will help in what will be a long road to recovery.

The bill is now headed to the Senate floor for a vote.

Lawmakers passed a bill in July 2020 that legalizes home delivery of alcohol from restaurants, grocery stores and liquor stores.

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