State Bill Allowing Alcoholic Beverage Delivery Clears First Hurdle

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A bill allowing the delivery of alcoholic beverages was unanimously approved by the state Senate on Thursday. It is now heading to the National Assembly for approval.

Introduced by Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, the bill, SB 846, amends a 2021 law to allow alcoholic beverage delivery rather than being limited to in-person pickup.

The purpose of the bill is to provide additional financial relief to the restaurant and bar industry, which has been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The legislation would establish a new type of license for a consumer delivery service permit, granting permission to a licensee with off-sale retail privileges, or a licensee delivering on their behalf, to deliver alcoholic beverages to consumers. The cost of applying for the license would be $10,000 with an annual renewal fee of $1,000.

“Our restaurants and bars have been hit hard by the pandemic, and allowing the flexibility to sell cocktails to go has been a lifesaver,” Dodd said. “To ensure a strong recovery and meet consumer demand, we need to expand this successful offering in a way that makes sense and benefits everyone. Thank you to my colleagues in the Senate for seeing the value of this proposal.

The bill would also remove the requirement that a customer order food if they want to take out alcoholic beverages.

Jess Andrew, bar manager at Jackson’s Bar and Oven in Santa Rosa, said she often receives requests for take-out margaritas but no food, which she is not legally able to accept.

“It’s a good thing for restaurants — to keep us alive,” she said of the bill.

The legislation still needs to be passed by the state assembly and signed by the governor to become law.

You can reach editor Kathleen Coates at [email protected] or 707-521-5209.

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