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Restaurants in Missouri get a temporary green light to sell to-go cocktails

Restaurants in Missouri get a temporary green light to sell to-go cocktails

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Restaurants looking to boost takeout revenue while their dining rooms are closed during the coronavirus pandemic received good news Tuesday.

To-go cocktails now have the legal green light, albeit under very specific conditions.

The Missouri Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control announced it will temporarily allow the to-go sale of alcohol beverages packaged by retailers. Usually, to-go alcohol must be in its original package.

"The change is designed to assist workers and retail licensees financially by allowing them to recover some alcohol sales that may have been lost as restaurants’ dining facilities closed because of the coronavirus pandemic,” the ATC said in a statement.

Per the official announcement, the beverages must be in a “durable, leakproof, and sealable” container that meets the existing minimum size requirements in the Code of State Regulations for alcohol beverages in their original package.

The container must be sealed with tamper-proof tape or placed in a transparent, tamper-proof and securely sealed bag.

According to the announcement, “The change does not allow liquor licensees to sell mixed drinks in ‘to-go’ plastic or Styrofoam cups with straws or loose covers.”

A customer must purchase the beverage at the same time as a food purchase.

The waiver expires May 15.

“This is good news for everyone,” said Adam Tilford, co-owner of Mission Taco Joint.

Tilford was one of the restaurant owners advocating for the change. When Mission Taco Joint closed its dining rooms in March and shifted to takeout and delivery only, it offered a quart container of margaritas for $20 and a half-gallon for $40.

After two days, Tilford said in an interview earlier this month, someone reported Mission Taco Joint to the ATC. The restaurant then offered a margarita kit with a sealed bottle of tequila for $80.

“To get our margin we should be charging over $100 for (the kit),” Tilford said in the earlier interview.

“We just couldn't do that. I mean, $80 is already a lot whereas $20 for a quart and $40 for a half gallon was awesome for people.”

Tilford plans to begin selling to-go cocktails again on Wednesday.

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