.Would You Like a Cocktail to Go With That Take-Out?

The Department of Alcoholic Beverage & Control's COVID-19 Response: Cocktails To Go! 

Thanks to a recent relaxation of California alcohol laws, Margaritaville is closer than ever.

Cocktails can now be ordered to-go and delivered curbside to customers courtesy of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) and its response to COVID-19.

The department enacted the regulatory relief to “support the alcoholic beverage industry in its efforts to assist California in slowing the spread of the virus while assisting the industry in dealing with the economic challenges it is facing as a result,” it said in a statement.

The ABC arrived at this decision after careful consideration of the public’s health safety or welfare and whether it be negatively affected. “Exercised on a temporary basis,” the ABC thinks not. There are rules, however — to-go cocktails can only be purchased with a matching meal, whether that be through a drive-thru, pick up or delivery. Other adult beverages available in this manner include wine and beer.

“Any such alcoholic beverages must be packaged in a container with a secure lid or cap and in a manner designed to prevent consumption without removal of the lid or cap (e.g., no lids with sipping holes or openings for straws),” reads the ABC’s “notice of regulatory relief.”

Naturally, consumers acquiring cocktails and other alcoholic beverages are discouraged from drinking them while driving or break open container laws by allowing non-drivers to do so.

Even though breweries have always been able to provide take-out containers and delivery directly to people’s homes, the rules change has prompted Original Pattern Brewing near Jack London Square to rethink its business practices, owner Max Silverstein said on Sunday.

“The changes the ABC made were really for bars and restaurants,” Silverstein said. “Breweries have always been able to deliver direct to people’s houses. We never did it before. Now we are.”

Breweries are permitted to deliver cans, growlers, and “crowlers,” which are basically giant 32-ounce cans of beer. But since growlers and crowlers are meant to be consumed right away, Silverstein said Original Pattern is delivering just cans.

“This last week, we were still delivering cans,” he said. “We would deliver a keg but no one was ordering any. Some restaurants that used to get kegs are now ordering cans to go with their to-go food.”

“People are coming in,” he said. “It’s definitely nowhere close to as busy as if we were open and people could hang out and drink. … We have a lot of inventory that we expected to use over the next two weeks.”


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