Governor Doug Ducey today signed legislation allowing bars, liquor stores and restaurants to sell cocktails to-go, expanding opportunities for businesses across the state.
“Businesses owners have shown that offering to-go beverages can be done responsibly and safely,” said Governor Ducey. “House Bill 2773 will make sure restaurants and bars have the opportunity to expand operations and meet the needs of their customers, especially after weathering the effects of the pandemic. My thanks to Representative Jeff Weninger for sponsoring legislation that will help so many businesses.”
Governor Ducey in March 2020 issued an Executive Order restricting enforcement of regulations that prohibit sale and delivery of alcoholic beverages with the purchase of food to help mitigate financial consequences of the pandemic-related pause on certain business operations. House Bill 2773 permanently allows Arizona businesses the opportunity to offer to-go cocktails beyond the pandemic.
“Many businesses were hard hit by the pandemic, but smart policies like permitting to-go beverages helped keep many afloat,” said Representative Weninger. “House Bill 2773 will help bars, liquor stores and restaurants grow, and it will attract new businesses to our state. This is a major win for Arizona’s food and beverage industry, and I thank Governor Ducey for signing this legislation.”
Governor Ducey’s signing of the legislation is being enthusiastically received by industry representatives and business owners.
“To-go beverages will be a game-changer for our business and our customers will love it,” said Grant Krueger, owner of Union Hospitality Group in Tucson. “The signing of House Bill 2773 will help us reach more patrons and expand and modernize operations. This legislation will help business across the state, and I thank Governor Ducey for his continued support.”
“After seeing how successful to-go cocktails were last year, I am happy to see Governor Ducey sign House Bill 2773,” said Lee Miller, Owner of JR’s Bar in Sierra Vista. “This bill will allow us to provide additional options to our customers and give businesses like mine new ways to earn additional revenue, which is sorely needed after last year.”
“Restaurants, bars and liquor stores throughout the state will have the opportunity to drastically expand their operations thanks to the signing of House Bill 2773,” said Steve Chucri, President and CEO of the Arizona Restaurant Association. “To-go cocktails will help businesses bring in revenue and attract new customers, and it will draw new restaurants and bars to our state. My thanks to Representative Weninger for sponsoring the legislation, and to Governor Ducey for signing it.”
The law itself does not go into effect until at least Oct. 1 and there are still some details and processes that need to be figured out.
Under the law:
- Restaurants will be allowed to apply for a lease permit from the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control to sell to-go beer, wine, and cocktails with a food order and to also use third-party delivery services to fulfill those orders. It’s unclear how much that will cost or how that process will be handled.
- Through Dec. 31, 2025, restaurants will have to “lease” that privilege from another bar with a liquor license. Beginning Jan. 1, 2026, restaurants will be able to apply for that permit directly through the Department of Liquor.
- Bars will be allowed to sell to-go cocktails. They already had the ability to serve to-go beer, growlers, and wine.
- Restaurants would have to stop selling to-go alcohol when their kitchen stops selling food, and third-party contractors cannot deliver alcohol between the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.
- The leases will be available for renewal each year.
The law also requires that alcohol only be sold to those who are of legal age. Those selling or delivering alcohol must go through a training program. It also states that if a third-party contractor violates the law, that violation cannot be held against the restaurant.
The law’s signing is a win for restaurant owners, who said to-go cocktails helped boost sales and sustain them through the pandemic when dining rooms were closed or limited, and for restaurant-goers who liked the ability to order an alcoholic drink to-go.