What Alcohol To-Go Looks Like Around the Country

June 29, 2021

Photo by Victor J. Blue/Getty Images

With the most recent devastating news that alcohol to-go will not be permanent in New York, it is interesting to take a look at other states who have already passed permanent legislation, are in the process of doing so, or might not at all. 

Permanent to-go legislation:

  • Arizona – passed legislation in of May 2021
  • Arkansas – passed legislation in March 2021
  • Iowa – passed legislation in June of 2020
  • Florida – passed legislation in May 2021
  • Georgia – passed legislation in May 2021
  • Kansas – passed legislation in May 2021
  • Kentucky – passed legislation in March 2021
  • Montana – passed legislation in April 2021
  • Nebraska – passed legislation in May 2021
  • Ohio – passed legislation in October 2020
  • Texas – passed legislation in May 2021
  • West Virginia – passed legislation in May 2021
  • Wisconsin – passed legislation in March 2021
  • District of Columbia – passed legislation in May 2021
  • Illinois – passed legislation in May 2021
  • Oregon – passed legislation in June 2021
  • Indiana – passing legislation in July 2021
  • Wyoming – passing legislation in July 2021
  • Alabama – law goes into effect in October 2021 

To-go legislation with a limit: 

  • Oklahoma – passed legislation that will stay in effect until July 2022 
  • California – passed legislation that will stay in effect until the end of 2021
  • Colorado – passed legislation that will stay in effect until 2026
  • Delaware – passed legislation that will stay in effect until March 2022
  • Maine – passed legislation that will stay in effect until September 2022 
  • Massachusetts – passed legislation that will stay in effect until May 2022 
  • Maryland – passed legislation that will stay in effect until June 2023
  • Michigan – passed legislation that will stay in effect until December 2025
  • Rhode Island – passed legislation that will stay in effect until March 2022 
  • Tennessee – passed legislation that will stay in effect until July 2023 
  • Vermont – passed legislation that will stay in effect until 2023 
  • Virginia – passed legislation that will stay in effect until July 2022 
  • Washington – passed legislation that will stay in effect until July 2023 

Still deciding on permanent, or restricted, to-go legislation: 

  • Connecticut – deciding on a 3-year extension for to-go
  • Missouri – waiting on Governor’s signature for permanent to-go
  • Hawaii – no permanent legislation proposed but also no set expiration date for current to-go 
  • Nevada – no permanent legislation proposed but also no set expiration date for current to-go 
  • New Hampshire – permanent legislation proposed but also no set expiration date for current to-go 
  • New Jersey – permanent legislation proposed but also no set expiration date for current to-go 
  • North Carolina – permanent legislation proposed but also no set expiration date for current to-go 
  • Pennsylvania – waiting on Senate approval for permanent to-go
  • Minnesota – permanent legislation proposed but not voted upon
  • New Mexico – waiting on Governor’s signature for permanent to-go
  • Louisiana – permanent legislation proposed but also no set expiration date for current to-go 
  • Mississippi – permanent legislation proposed but also no set expiration date for current to-go 

No legislation or unclear:  

  • New York – permanent legislation not voted upon and temporary to-go expired
  • Alaska – unclear
  • Idaho – unclear 
  • North Dakota – unclear
  • South Carolina – permanent legislation opposed but also no set expiration date for current to-go
  • South Dakota – unclear
  • Utah – none 

Many states are in a limbo over passing permanent alcohol to-go legislation. Liquor lobbyists are decisively against such legislation as it draws consumers away from traditional liquor stores and retailers and towards neighborhood restaurants instead. Some states are still debating whether such legislation could have long-lasting effects on alcohol abuse and potentially increased drunk-driving, and thus are using state of emergencies to “test” to-go. Governments are, however, becoming increasingly aware of how much the people support such legislation and how instrumental temporary legislation was during the pandemic.  

Overall, many states are legalizing alcohol to-go, which will continue to sustain considerable revenue for the restaurant industry. Alcohol sales were through the roof during the pandemic, and restaurants that converted into semi-retail spaces or simply offered a couple different to-go options were able to stay open and enjoy some cash flow; this is not to mention that alcohol is inherently a high-margin item given that it is shelf stable. 

This information is the most up to date news available as of the date posted. Please be advised that any information posted on the KI Legal Blog or Social Channels is being supplied for informational purposes only and is subject to change at any time. For more information, and clarity surrounding your individual organization or current situation, contact a member of the KI Legal team, or fill out a new client intake form.