California state senator aims to make to-go cocktails a permanent menu addition

California
May 04 2021 05:30 pm

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – To-go cocktails could continue even after the pandemic ends, becoming a permanent fixture in the state. 

Senator Bill Dodd, D-Napa, introduced legislation Thursday and calls the bill a no-brainer considering all that local restaurants have been through. 

The idea behind the legislation is simple: generate more income for restaurants.

“Oh, it’s awesome. It’s awesome,” said Erick Johnson, owner of The Chef’s Table. 

Back in March, the Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control temporarily authorized the sale of to-go cocktails as long as they were sold with food. 

“It gives us another revenue stream, right? So, you might take your food out, and then we tell you about this and they’re all, ‘We can do that?’” Johnson said. “I’m all, ‘Yeah, it’s totally legal now.” 

Dodd’s legislation aims at keeping the cocktail to-go concept as a main-stay. 

“In the big scheme of things, It’s not a silver bullet,” Dodd said. “But it’s an indication that we get the fact that they are hurting and we need to do everything we can to help them out.” 

Citing the National Restaurant Association, Dodd says 78% of restaurants that sold to-go alcohol had rehired their workers. 

“Through no fault of these restauranteurs, through no fault of theirs, they have had to put up with so much,” Dodd added. “This is the least we could do.”

Add to it that alcohol delivery services are on the rise, restaurants will need to keep pace. 

“I think it’s going to be a great way for maybe the state to get some tax dollars back. If I sell an extra $100 a day in just to-go drinks, I mean for a little, small mom-and-pop that’s still 40 or 50 grand a year in sales that is taxable,” Johnson said. 

And every little bit helps during this time. 

“It’s a win-win for everybody. The state gets money for sales tax, my guys get to keep working. This (holds up the cocktails) helps,” Johnson said. 

The new legislation could reach the Senate floor in April or May. 

“It will go a long way to help increase their sales, increasing their profit margins and help them stay in business,” Dodd said. 

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