MONTPELIER, Vt. (WFFF) — In Vermont, drinks to go are here to stay. As of July 1, a new law lets retailers serve alcohol that Vermonters can enjoy in the comfort of their homes. It extends a provision in Gov. Phil Scott’s COVID-19 executive orders that allows the sale of cocktails for off-premise consumption.
“There was strong agreement between the legislature and administration that this is an economic recovery initiative really,” said Wendy Knight, Deputy Commissioner with the Vermont Department of Liquor.
Containers must be fully sealed, and your takeout order must include alcohol and a food item. Knight says to-go cocktails can be purchased between 10 a.m. and 11 p.m.
“It needs to include a label that identifies the beverage as being alcohol and containing alcohol,” Knight adds. “It also needs to list the ingredients and the serving size. Those are new requirements of the law.”
At Burger Bar in Colchester, to-go drinks have been part of the program since last spring, when restaurants pivoted to carry out operations. Everything from margaritas to long island iced teas is being served up in 32-ounce mason jars.
“We can pretty much do any cocktail as a mason jar as long as we have the ingredients,” said Cody Racine, owner of the restaurant. He says that alcohol-to-go gave them a helpful boost during the height of the pandemic. Now he says, restaurant owners are seeing costs rise on ingredients, from potatoes to burgers, so he’s thrilled about the extension.
“Alcohol sales are a big part of a restaurant, so to have that when we couldn’t do dine-in was awesome,” Racine said. “Now, still being able to have that revenue stream is great, given the cost of goods going up. Every good costs more than it did two months ago.”