Wisconsin bars, restaurants can sell cocktails to go starting Sunday

Gov. Tony Evers signed the bill Friday.

FILE: to-go cocktails.jpg
A Spirit Room employee holds a to-go cocktail crate at the bar in Superior's Trade and Commerce Building in August 2020. (Photo courtesy of Lindsey Graskey)

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Friday signed into law a bill allowing restaurants and bars to sell cocktails to go.

Evers signed more than a dozen bills Friday, with the legislation allowing takeout drinks going into effect Sunday. The bipartisan bill allows any Class B alcohol license holder, such as restaurants or taverns, to sell takeout wine or mixed drinks by the glass in a container that has a “tamper-evident seal.”

Proponents of the bill say it should provide a much-needed revenue stream for bars and restaurants, which have experienced considerable losses over the last 12 months due to the pandemic and subsequent closures or limitations places on businesses to limit the virus' spread.

“How this helps restaurants is, up to 30% of their bottom line can be made up in bar sales — the bar is where a lot of profit margin is in a restaurant, it’s not necessarily in the food," said Kristine Hillmer, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association. "This is a tool that will be very, very helpful.”

Under the new law, drinks can be sold for curbside pickup, but not delivery.


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