In Good News for Licensees and Consumers, Bill Would Allow the Sale of Mixed Drinks in To Go Cups

Last updated May 7, 2020

Proposed Bill allows modified delivery and sale of alcoholic beverages during declared state of emergency and exempts alcohol used by distilleries in production of hand sanitizer from alcoholic beverage tax

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the New Jersey Legislature has proposed Bill A3966, which allows for the sale and delivery of alcoholic beverages by the holders of certain licenses and permits during the state of emergency declared by the Governor pursuant to Executive Order No. 103. In addition, bill allows certain alcoholic beverage manufacturers to deliver, by common carrier or otherwise, their products to the residences of consumers in original containers during the state of emergency.

The amended bill also would allow the holder of plenary retail consumption licenses, hotel or motel licenses, seasonal retail consumption licenses, or concessionaire permits (generally issued to bars and restaurants,) to sell and deliver alcoholic beverages in original containers or any closed and sealed container for consumption off the licensed premises during the state of emergency. In addition, the holder of a limited brewery license, plenary winery license, farm winery license, out-of-State winery license, cidery and meadery license, or craft distillery license would be permitted to deliver the licensee’s products in original containers for consumption off the licensed premises during the state of emergency.

Should the Bill become law, it will temporarily allow the holder of a retail consumption license or concessionaire permit to sell cocktails for off premises consumption.  Specifically, distilled alcoholic beverages in a closed and sealed container may be mixed or blended with other alcoholic or nonalcoholic beverages and sold by the holder of a retail consumption license or concessionaire permit. The distilled alcoholic beverages, whether or not mixed with other beverages, can be delivered or sold in closed and sealed containers that hold not more than 16 fluid ounces.  The closed and sealed containers must be affixed with a tamper evident seal.

In light of the Division of Alcoholic’s Beverage Control’s (“ABC”) recent charges against twenty (20) New Jersey licensees, should Assembly Bill No. 3966 become law, it would allow activity that the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control has prosecuted during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Finally, the amended bill exempts from the alcoholic beverage tax any alcohol used by a distillery in the sale, delivery, and production of hand sanitizer during the state of emergency and allows refunds for those distilleries that have paid the tax on alcohol used by the distillery in the production of hand sanitizer during the state of emergency.

This temporary enactment has an effective date that expires six months following the date: (1) on which the state of emergency has ended; or (2) on which the coronavirus-related occupancy or customer seating restrictions no longer apply to these licensed premises, whichever date occurs later.

If you have any questions or require any assistance regarding the operation of your liquor license, or have questions about the Division’s Charges, please contact the authors.

For additional information pertaining to the coronavirus outbreak, please visit CSG’s COVID-19 Resource Center.

This publication contains general information on recent legal developments and is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. Attorney Advertising. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

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