The law allows bars and restaurants to sell alcoholic drinks to go.
Just in time for the weekend, Gov. Tony Evers signed into law a bill that allows some restaurants and bars to sell wine and mixed drinks to go.
Several bar and restaurant owners and organizations representing the hospitality industry have been advocating for such a measure since the pandemic started, arguing it would provide another much-needed revenue stream for the hard-hit industry.
Members of the Wisconsin chapter of the Main Street Alliance, including Lazy Susan owner AJ Dixon, Liliana’s owner Dave Heide, and Dan Dan owner Dan Jacobs, testified before the state Legislature in support of the measure.
“Restaurants like mine are going to be helped tremendously by this,” Jacobs said in a press statement. “While we are getting shots in the arm because of the top of the nation vaccine efforts of the Governor, health care professionals and local officials, this bill will be a shot in the arm for our business to be able to begin to recover from the pandemic.”
More than 30 states and the District of Columbia have passed similar legislation, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. While Wisconsin may be late to the game in passing such a law, the organization said it will help the industry recover from the economic downturn.
“Cocktails to-go provide a much-needed lifeline for struggling on-premise locations and have prevented the permanent closure of many of these businesses,” said Kristi Brown, spokesperson for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. “Now that this measure is permanent in Wisconsin, hospitality businesses in the state will enjoy those same benefits as they begin the long path to recovery.”
The law is limited to establishments with Class B liquor licenses, the most common license among restaurants and taverns in Wisconsin. The drinks are not to be consumed on premises and must be sealed at the point of sale.
The bill was a rare moment of bipartisanship during this legislative session, with legislators from both sides of the aisle signing on as cosponsors.