Modern-day Practices set to Reimagine the Alcohol Beverage Industry
From travel and tourism, to healthcare and entertainment, entire industries continue to grapple with unforeseen circumstances brought upon by the Covid-19 Pandemic. The alcohol beverage sector, historically thought to largely be resilient in times of economic downturns, faces its own set of obstacles; as do restaurants and retail outlets where beer, wine and spirits are sold and tapped: businesses are shuttered, employees are hard to find, consumers’ buying and consumption habits have changed, and so on.
Today, as consumers lean into life where Covid-19 remains a reality, curbside, drive-up window visits and delivery of alcohol give color to modern day policy change across the country. State after state, county after county, practices for stabilizing businesses and getting alcohol into the hands of consumers who want it, are becoming exceedingly prominent, but not without variation.
Curbside and Delivery
Early into the pandemic, Oklahoma made curbside sales and home delivery of sealed alcoholic beverages a permanent reality and reliable revenue stream for restaurants, bars, liquor and grocery stores. Breweries and small farm wineries were approved for curbside service. 1 Last spring, curbside pick-up from restaurants, breweries and wineries was cast into permanence in Indiana; grocery stores remain the exception as they are prohibited from selling alcohol with food pick-up. 2 Nevada’s Clark County, which is home to Las Vegas, has pending litigation to allow specified and licensed businesses to sell alcohol at drive-thru and/or walk-up windows. Eligible businesses would include restaurants, supper clubs, retail outlets selling beer and wine. 3
Wisconsin, Ohio, Kentucky, 11 other states and the District of Columbia have permanent bylaws in place making to-go alcohol drinks legal. Massachusetts and Colorado are among states where Covid relief measures have received extensions or lengthy start-up dates, but are not yet permanent. In Colorado, to-go measures are set to expire in 2025 following an extension made during the summer months. According to some, the extension is part of a larger initiative to modernize Prohibition-era laws within the Centennial State. 4 May marks expiration of Massachusetts’ temporary legislation permitting cocktails to-go, and it remains unclear at this time if the ordinance will see an extended lifeline. 5
Are you confident your management teams are well-versed on legal practices for obtaining alcohol within your state/county? Do they know when current policies end and new ones begin? Significantly diminish the uncertainty of change by partnering with The BARS Program. We’ll work in tandem to make sense of governances in your area, and to establish relevant and highly-effective compliance training protocols for your employees. Learn more about BARS at www.barsprogram.com or by calling 1-877-540-5500.
1 The Oklahoman, 05/22/2020; Alcohol delivery, curbside pickup becomes Oklahoma law
2 The Journal Gazette, 04/22/2021; Bill OKs alcohol pickup at curb
3 Nevada Liquor Law & Licensing, 02/10/2022; Nevada Liquor Law & Licensing
4 The Denver Post, 06/22/2021; Kafer: Colorado finally kicks prohibition-style laws to the curb with curbside alcohol delivery
5 abcNews, 07/20/2021; States keep alcohol delivery options after pandemic as restaurants rebound