The One Drinking Rule We Need to Keep Post-Quarantine

Not much good came from the pandemic, but we can drink to this one rule change.

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Finding a bright spot amid the COVID-19 restrictions of the last couple years is a challenge, but one blissful regulation shines beneath the masks: to-go cocktails. Yes, alcohol on-the-move is the hill I’m willing to lay myself upon today.

Before jumping into this completely sound, logical, and unbiased argument, let me just say: The Takeout encourages those who choose to consume alcohol to drink responsibly. Okay, now that that’s out of the way… let’s look at the battle for to-go cocktails to stay.

What is the current status of to-go cocktails?

In some states, like Illinois for example, to-go cocktails have become a somewhat permanent fixture in our post-pandemic world (I use that term loosely considering COVID-19 has not been eradicated, simply reduced). In May of 2021, lawmakers decided to allow to-go cocktails to continue being sold by restaurants and bars at least until 2024. Fingers crossed that they choose to extend that deadline.

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The decision to continue allowing to-go cocktails has been made in a number of states including Arizona, Florida, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and others. Unfortunately, in states like New York, there remains a struggle to make the case that to-go mixed drinks are the way of the future. Grub Street reports that the major opponents of the push keep to-go cocktails around are the state’s liquor lobby. Both the New York State Liquor Store Association and the Metropolitan Package Store Association have come out against continuing to-go cocktails, with the MPSA arguing that doing so would steal customers away from liquor stores and put them in the hands of restaurants.

It’s no secret the whole of the service industry has struggled since the beginning of the pandemic, but what lobbyists like this fail to realize is that the benefits of to-go cocktails go beyond increasing business for restaurants and bars. Consider this: a customer orders a to-go cocktail from a bar and truly enjoys the drink. In the future, they’d like to continue having the drink by making it at home. That customer will likely purchase the necessary ingredients for the drink from their local liquor store. Plus, at-home cocktail kits became quite popular during quarantine and the liquor for those kits has to be purchased from somewhere.

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Not to mention, fans of pre-mixed staple cocktails like margaritas, Moscow mules, mimosas, etc., can more cheaply purchase these drinks in a can or bottle from a liquor store than from most restaurants and bars.

Restaurants and bar owners are not being selfish in their desire to continue providing the public with multiple drink options. Let the to-go cocktails stay and keep this one little bright spot shining.

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