Wisconsin Senate OKs ‘sealed’ to-go cocktails to help bars, restaurants during COVID-19

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MADISON, Wis. (WKBT) — The Wisconsin Senate passed a bill that would allow to-go cocktails from restaurants and taverns to support local hospitality businesses reeling financially because of COVID-19 closures and other restrictions.
The bill, passed Tuesday, now heads to Gov. Tony Evers for his signature.
While current law bans bars and restaurants from selling cocktails by the glass to carry out, the bill would allow such sales with the stipulation that “the retailer seals the container of intoxicating liquor with a tamper-evident seal before the intoxicating liquor is removed from the premises.”

The bill would allow Class B licensed liquor retailer to sell mixed drinks and glasses of wine to-go in sealed containers. Wineries with Class B licenses grants the same permission, but only for wine.

“’Tamper-evident seal’ means a device or material that is used to securely and fully close off a container, with no perforations, in such a manner that access to the contents of the container cannot be gained without showing evidence of tampering,” according to the bill.

If Evers signs the bill, as expected, Wisconsin will join more than 30 states plus the District of Columbia that allow restaurants and/or bars to sell cocktails to-go as a financial measure resulting from COVID-19. What’s more, Iowa, Ohio, Kentucky and the District of Columbia have made COVID-era cocktails to-go measures permanent.
Kristi Brown, senior director of state government relations for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, hailed the legislation as “a vital economic lifeline for hospitality businesses across the U.S..”
“Allowing cocktails to-go in Wisconsin will provide much-needed relief for local restaurants and taverns that are struggling to survive the harsh economic impacts of the pandemic,” Brown said.