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Bottoms Up! Takeout Cocktails Are Here To Stay In California

Four glasses filled with white, pink or orange liquid sit on a ledge, surrounded by some foliage.
An array of summery cocktails.
(Jordan Nix/Unsplash)
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Salud! Skål! Şerefe! Cheers! On Friday, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill that will allow restaurants and other drinking and dining establishments to sell takeout alcoholic drinks.

SB 389/AB 389 allows any licensed "eating place," as well as any beer manufacturer, wine manufacturer or craft distiller that prepares and serves food on-site, to sell takeout alcoholic beverages — as long as customers buy their drinks with food. The bill applies to beer, wine, liquor and mixed drinks.

The law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2022.

Temporary orders have already allowed establishments to sell carryout cocktails through the end of this year.

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This bill makes permanent some of the loosened restrictions on alcohol sales that were enacted during early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Takeout alcohol sales have helped keep some struggling establishments afloat and restaurant owners have lobbied to keep them in place.

Here's how the new law will work:

  • Takeout alcoholic beverages must be sold with "a bona fide meal" and are limited to two drinks per meal.
  • Takeout drinks must be sold in the manufacturer's prepackaged containers or in containers with secure lids or sealed caps.
  • Takeout cocktails can't contain more than 4.5 ounces of liquor.
  • Takeout wine can only be sold in single-serve containers.
  • All takeout alcohol containers must be clearly labeled as containing alcohol.

The law will expire in five years (on Dec. 31, 2026) although legislators can — and often do — extend such bills.
The bill was introduced by State Senator Bill Dodd from Northern California. In the State Assembly, its two co-authors include Assemblymember Cristina Garcia of Bell Gardens (58th District) and Assemblymember Laura Friedman of Glendale (43rd District).

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