Cocktails to-go ‘economic lifeline’ for bars

8th December, 2020 by Owen Bellwood

Legislation allowing US bars to offer takeaway drinks provided an “economic lifeline” amid the pandemic and should be made permanent, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the US.

In the US, 30 states passed cocktails to-go legislation

Lockdown orders across the US forced bars to close as Covid-19 spread across the country. In order to stay afloat, many venues launched takeaway and delivery services after legislation was passed to permit the services for the first time.

Chris Swonger, president and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council of the US (Discus), said to-go offerings provided a “lifeline” for producers, and confirmed that the trade body would lobby to make legislation permitting the services permanent.

The service, which allows consumers in the US to order cocktails and other alcoholic drinks from bars and restaurants, has been temporarily permitted in more than 30 US states. Iowa and Ohio have also passed laws to make cocktails to-go permanently available.

Swonger said: “We’ll be lobbying actively to make these new market access initiatives permanent. We do know it’s been an economic lifeline for our on-premise partners. To-date, we have found that these platforms have been able to be utilised in a safe and appropriate way and we want to make sure that this continues.”

Swonger also praised the rise of e-commerce platforms during the pandemic, which he said has increased consumer access and convenience across the US.

He added: “I’d like to acknowledge and recognise there has been some great e-commerce platforms that have really come to life within the three-tier system over the past six or seven months. They have helped drive consumer convenience to make sure that consumers are able to get access to their great distilled spirit brands.

“We applaud our industry partners for really rising to the occasion to leverage e-commerce to get our great products to consumers.

“E-commerce platforms will be an element that we have to contend with and think about to make sure that our industry is always consumer-led.”

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