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Wine Spectator: Drinks To Go Could Come Back In New York

January 14, 2022

Drinks to go could be back on the menu in New York state this year, giving an added revenue source to restaurants during hard times but worries to retail store owners concerned about competition. During her Jan. 5 State of the State Address, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced her support for the permanent legalization of alcohol to go, which would allow beverages like wine and cocktails to be sold for pickup or delivery.

“Thousands of bars and restaurants, the souls of our neighborhoods, have had to close,” she said as she announced the proposal, calling it “something our bars and restaurants have been asking for…a critical revenue stream during the lean times last year.”

The initiative is part of Hochul’s nearly $10 billion recovery plan to help small businesses bounce back from the ongoing challenges of the pandemic. While it won’t become law until the governor’s final budget is proposed in the spring and it’s passed by the state assembly and senate, members of the restaurant industry are hopeful.

“The New York State Restaurant Association is thrilled to see Gov. Hochul recognize the importance of permanently allowing alcohol to go for our struggling restaurants and bars,” Melissa Fleischut, the association’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “These are difficult times that are not letting up.”

But retail outlets are not thrilled at the idea of more competition, and opposing lobbying groups are working to fight the plan before it becomes law. Wine Spectator has the full story.—Julie Harans

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