A petition from Minnesota Independent Restaurants aims to increase pressure on lawmakers to legalize the sale of cocktails to-go. Minnesota restaurants say that the ability to make and safely sell sealed cocktail containers would allow them to recoup a small but vital amount of lost sales in a year that has seen restaurant profits plummet 90%. The petition, has already gained over 2,000 signatures with a goal to reach 20,000 signatures in 20 days.
Several states including Iowa, New York, and Illinois have passed legislation during the pandemic to allow for added sales of cocktails to be taken out and in some cases delivered, as a boost to restaurants during the pandemic. In total, 33 states now allow for alcohol to be sold for takeaway or, in some instances, delivery. For perspective, alcohol sales for restaurants usually account for 30 to 50 percent of the bottom line.
The current, temporary Minnesota allowance allows restaurants that serve food the ability to sell either one bottle of wine or one six-pack of beer. The measure helps very little for restaurants, let alone bars or establishments that depend on cocktail sales. In addition to helping keep these small businesses viable, cocktail sales would allow businesses to bring back at least some bar staff, in an industry that’s been hit particularly hard by the massive furloughs and layoffs caused by the pandemic. The measure would also generate tax revenue for the state.
Restaurants have also reasoned that allowing guests to safely enjoy adult beverages in their homes will continue to help curb the pandemic, keeping people at home, off the roads, and only breathing on other people inside their homes.
For those seeking to further the action, the petition also includes a legislature contact link that encourages those in support of the measure to reach out to their elected officials and let them know that they would like to see to-go cocktails legalized.