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Bar Management: Alcohol Delivery & Collection Laws in the US & Canada

Bar Management - liquor delivery laws in North America
Bar Management - February 03, 2022 Written By: Krista Dinsmore

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Over the course of the pandemic, restaurants have had to pivot to takeout and delivery-only models as regulations and lockdowns meant that many restaurants were unable to physically welcome guests through their doors.

To help restaurants stay afloat during this period, some cities, states and provinces across the US and Canada adopted temporary policy changes to either relax or repeal their liquor laws and allow alcoholic beverages to be sold with to-go or delivered orders.

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In some cities, states and provinces, these measures have been made permanent, allowing restaurants to sell alcohol with to-go and delivery orders in the future. 

With that in mind, in this blog we take a look at the locations in the US and Canada that are now allowing alcohol delivery for restaurants and bars, and how businesses can realize some significant benefits by taking advantage of these new regulations to access new revenue streams and better manage beverage inventory

So, let’s start by taking a look at where alcohol delivery is currently allowed for restaurants and bars (as of the time of writing, January 2022).

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Alcohol delivery and collection laws in the US States (January 2022)

Alabama: A new law went into effect on October 1, 2021, allowing qualified businesses to deliver alcohol if they file an application with the Alcohol Beverage Control Board. There is a filing fee of $100 and a $250 license fee. 

Alaska: Alcohol curbside pickup and delivery was allowed on a permanent basis by new regulations that came into effect on March 15, 2021.

Arizona: The permanent legalization of the sale of cocktails and other alcohol to go was signed on May 21, 2021, enabling restaurants with the proper leasing agreements to deliver drinks to customers.

Arkansas: Based on regulations that came into effect on January 19, 2021, retail liquor permit holders can deliver alcohol directly to consumers, but this law only applies to retail liquor stores, microbrewery restaurants and small breweries. 

California: As of October 8, 2021, establishments (including restaurants and bars) that are already selling alcohol can sell pre-made cocktails for pickup until December 31, 2026. Alcohol can only be picked up, and not delivered to the customer.

Colorado: On June 22, 2021 a new regulation came into effect that allows restaurants to continue selling and delivering alcohol to customers until July 1, 2025.

Connecticut: New legislation passed in June 2021 allows restaurants, bars and breweries to deliver alcohol until June 2024. This only applies to sealed liquor and not cocktails made in house.

Delaware: Restaurants, brewpubs, taverns and taprooms are allowed to sell alcohol to go until March 31, 2022.

Florida: Restaurants are allowed to continue to sell alcoholic drinks with take-home meals, for both delivery and pickup. To qualify, establishments must make 51 percent of their revenue from the sale of food and non-alcoholic drinks and all orders must be paired with a food purchase. 

Georgia: A new law that went into effect on August 3, 2020 allows licensed alcohol retailers - such as restaurants, brewpubs and bars - to permanently sell alcohol to go and delivery sales. This does not include alcohol manufacturers such as breweries.

Hawaii: Restaurants with a liquor license are permitted to sell beer, wine and pre-packaged cocktails for takeout, pick up and delivery. There is no set expiration for when this regulation will be lifted.  

Idaho: Restaurants with an existing beer and wine license can sell bottles, cans of beer and mixed drinks to go for off-premises consumption. It is only allowed to be picked up, not delivered to the customer.

Illinois: Regulation on January 13, 2021, provided retailers (including restaurants and bars) the ability to continue selling alcohol and to-go cocktails for both takeout and delivery under certain guidelines. 

Indiana: Under current regulations, restaurants are able to sell alcoholic beverages for takeout and to take alcohol to a vehicle adjacent to their premises. These regulations are permanent, but delivery is not allowed.

Iowa: Businesses with liquor licenses can work with third-party delivery companies to deliver liquor, wine and beer. Restaurants are also permanently allowed to sell liquor, wine and cocktails to go.

Kansas: Bars, brewers and restaurants in the state are able to sell bottles of beer and wine to go, this was made permanent by a new regulation on May 19, 2021.

Kentucky: Restaurants and bars are allowed to deliver alcohol as long as it is closed and sealed in its original container. This law was made permanent on March 5, 2021.

Louisiana: Restaurants are permitted to sell containers of beer, wine and frozen speciality drinks with takeout and curbside pickup orders. As well as deliver alcohol by a delivery company or third-party platform. This was made permanent by a regulation that went into effect on August 1, 2021.

Maine: In April 2020 an executive order was passed allowing restaurants to sell beer, wine and cocktails to customers ordering food. A bill was signed to extend that until September 2022. 

Maryland: Bars, restaurants, breweries, wineries, distilleries and other establishments with the appropriate license are permitted to sell take-out cocktails and alcohol delivery, permanently.

Massachusetts: Restaurants can sell beer, wine and cocktails with takeout orders and delivery food orders until May 1, 2022. 

Michigan: In early July 2020 a bill package for the hospitality was signed, allowing restaurants and bars with a Class C liquor license to sell to-go cocktails and deliver mixed cocktails, beer and wine to customers as long as they have a third-party facilitator service licensee. These laws are expected to last through 2025. 

Minnesota: Restaurants in the state can sell alcohol with food, as long as it's in its original, unopened packaging. Sales are capped at 72 ounces of beer, cider and hard seltzer and 750 millilitres of wine per order.

Mississippi: As of July 1, 2021, regulations went into effect that allows licensed businesses and restaurants to deliver liquor, beer, wine and light spirits to customers within a 30-mile radius. 

Missouri: New regulations have permanently allowed restaurants and bars to sell mixed drinks provided the customer also purchases a meal. Alcohol containers must be durable, leak-proof, sealed and not exceed 128 ounces. 

Montana: Certain businesses with an active alcoholic beverage license can sell and deliver alcohol for off-premises consumption, provided that food is also ordered. This regulation has been made permanent. 

Nebraska: Restaurants and farm wineries with licenses are permitted to offer carry-out alcohol permanently, provided the alcohol is sold to consumers in a sealed and tamper-evident container. 

Nevada: The state’s alcohol delivery and pickup laws vary by county and city, so what restaurants and bars are permitted to do differs drastically. 

New Hampshire: Restaurants and bars are currently allowed to continue offering alcohol takeout and delivery, as long as they pay a $250 annual licensing fee to the New Hampshire Liquor Commission. 

New Jersey: Restaurants and bars are permitted to sell alcohol and cocktails to go, but this is set to expire when the state of emergency has ended, or when customer seating restrictions in the state no longer apply. 

New Mexico: The state currently allows for alcohol delivery from restaurants, liquor stores, grocery stores, breweries, wineries, distilleries and third-party delivery drivers. 

New York: One of the first states to allow restaurants to sell alcohol for pickup and delivery, but when Governor Cuomo announced the state of emergency would end on June 24, 2021, alcohol to-go also ended.

North Carolina: North Carolina permits the sale of wine and beer to go, provided the drink remains in the manufacturer’s original container. Mixed drinks were also permitted to go in December 2020, but that expired on June 1, 2021.

North Dakota: Restaurants and bars are not permitted to sell beer and wine for takeout or delivery.

Ohio: Establishments with an existing on-premises liquor permit are permitted to sell and deliver alcohol to customers. This order was made permanent in October 2020, allowing restaurants, bars, small breweries, micro-distilleries and wineries to sell alcoholic beverages for both carryout and delivery as long as it is accompanied by a meal. 

Oklahoma: Restaurants, bars and clubs are allowed to deliver alcohol to customers and sell for pickup in a regulation that was made permanent in May 2020. In May 2021, a new regulation was introduced that allows customers to purchase cocktails to go.

Oregon: Restaurants that currently have an off-premise license can offer curbside pickup on beer and wine as long as it’s within 100 feet of the establishment. Restaurants and bars are also permanently allowed to sell cocktails to go as long as they’re in a sealed container. 

Pennsylvania: Restaurants and bars with the right permits are permitted to sell beer and wine for takeout. Cocktails to go were permitted temporarily in 2020, but this regulation was repealed in 2021. 

South Carolina: Restaurants and bars are allowed to sell beer and wine both as drive-through and curbside pickup orders as part of an executive order, as well as through delivery as part of a meal. These bills are not yet, but are currently being pushed through the General Assembly.

South Dakota: Establishments that have an off-sale delivery license are permitted to use it for alcohol delivery. 

Tennessee: On March 22, 2020, an executive order authorized restaurants to offer alcohol, beer and wine for takeout and delivery as long as they were accompanied by food and served in sealed containers with a secure lid. This has been extended to July 1, 2023. 

Texas: Restaurants and bars are permitted to deliver alcohol as long as the drinks are accompanied by food purchases, as well as sell alcohol to go. 

Utah: Restaurants and bars are not permitted for alcohol delivery or pickup. 

Vermont: Restaurants and bars are allowed to sell beer, wine, spirits, and “spirit-based products” (i.e. cocktails) for takeout and delivery, as long as the alcohol is accompanied by a meal. As of July 1, 2021, a new law allows retailers to sell alcohol for curbside pickup through July 1, 2023.

Virginia: Restaurants are permitted to sell beer, wine and mixed drinks in sealed containers for curbside pickup or delivery. This regulation is in effect until July 1, 2022. 

Washington: Early on in the pandemic a temporary rule was passed to allow licensed restaurants and bars to sell spirits, beer and wine for takeout and delivery. That was later expanded to premixed drinks and on April 14, 2021, a bill was passed to extend to-go alcohol sales until July 1, 2023.

West Virginia: Restaurants in the state are able to apply for a permit to offer alcohol to go and third-party delivery options. 

Wisconsin: Certain liquor license holders have the ability to provide carry-out orders of alcoholic beverages in their original, sealed containers under Emergency Order #8, while a new law on March 26, 2021, allows bars and restaurants to sell mixed cocktails to-go in individual containers. 

Wyoming: Whether restaurants and bars can deliver alcohol in Wyoming depends on the type of liquor license they hold. Those with a Full Retail Liquor License can deliver alcohol and offer alcohol with takeout. 

Alcohol delivery and collection laws in the Canadian Provinces (January 2022)

Alberta: Licensed restaurants and bars can sell alcohol as part of their takeout and delivery services under a new temporary law. It’s believed that this will continue after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

British Columbia: On March 22, 2020, the BC government temporarily changed the province’s liquor laws to allow restaurants to deliver alcohol as long as the customers are also purchasing a meal. This was made permanent on March 12, 2021. 

Manitoba: Manitoba restaurants and bars are allowed to sell alcohol for takeout and delivered orders, as long as the licensed establishment's primary business is food and the order of alcohol is accompanied by food. 

New Brunswick: Restaurants and bars in the province are permitted to sell alcoholic drinks with takeout orders, for collection and delivery. 

Newfoundland and Labrador: Alcohol can be sold with both takeout orders and food deliveries, with the law being made permanent in October 2020. 

Northwest Territories: Restaurants and bars that establish their own alcohol delivery service are allowed to deliver alcoholic drinks. These establishments are now allowed to use private services or taxi drivers to fulfill these orders. 

Nova Scotia: Restaurants and bars are permitted to sell alcohol with takeout orders, including cocktails and mixed drinks for both delivery and takeout with food orders. This so far is only while the state of emergency is in effect.

Nunavut: No changes have been made to the territory’s alcohol delivery and pickup laws.

Ontario: Ontario announced at the end of 2020 that it would permanently allow licensed restaurants and bars to include alcohol with food as part of takeout and delivery orders. 

Prince Edward Island: Restaurants, as long as they have a package sales license, can permanently offer home delivery of alcohol to provincial residents. 

Quebec: Restaurants are permitted to sell alcoholic beverages through third-party delivery apps alongside food orders, as well as conduct their own deliveries as long as they are accompanied by a meal. Restaurants can also sell alcoholic beverages in sealed containers for takeout as long as it's accompanied by food. 

Saskatchewan: Restaurants that hold a valid liquor permit can sell alcohol with delivery and takeout orders. 

Yukon: Restaurants and bars are currently not permitted to sell alcohol for takeout or delivery.

How restaurants can benefit from alcohol delivery

Many restaurants have successfully pivoted to takeout and delivery throughout the pandemic, with many focusing on food collection and delivery, But, if permitted, alcohol takeout and delivery can also add an additional revenue stream for restaurants and bars. 

In fact, selling alcohol for takeout or delivery is a huge opportunity for restaurants and bars to access benefits such as: 

  • A new revenue stream for takeout and delivery purchases.
  • An opportunity to improve inventory processes and use leftover ingredients for cocktails.
  • Adding to your bottom line by getting rid of deadstock and slow-moving stock.
  • Ensuring your business remains competitive with the local market. 

Want to learn more about alcohol delivery and how your restaurant or bar can take advantage of this revenue-driving opportunity? Get in touch with Sculpture Hospitality today. Our team of experts would love to help. 

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