Committee Oks Sen. Dodd’s To-Go Cocktails Bill
SACRAMENTO – Legislation advanced today from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa to boost his previous relief for struggling restaurants and bars by expanding provisions of his 2021 law allowing the sale and delivery of to-go cocktails.
“Allowing flexibility to sell to-go cocktails has been a lifeline for our restaurants and bars, which were hit hard by the pandemic,” Sen. Dodd said. “To ensure a strong recovery and to answer consumer demand, we must expand this successful provision in ways that will make sense and will be beneficial to all. Thanks to Assembly committee members for seeing the value in this commonsense, follow-up proposal.”
Last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Sen. Dodd’s Senate Bill 389, which allowed the sale of to-go alcoholic beverages as part of take-out restaurant food orders. It came as restaurants nationwide recovered from hundreds of billions of dollars in losses sustained because of lockdowns and social distancing requirements to stop the spread of coronavirus.
This year’s bill, SB 846, expands the previous legislation in important ways, removing the meal requirement to increase options for consumers and business owners. It also extends the carry-out cocktail provision to bars, which also have been hard-hit by the pandemic. In addition, it allows for the delivery of to-go cocktails from both types of businesses. Finally, the bill increases oversight of alcohol delivery by Alcohol Beverage Control to prevent underage drinking.
Co-authors are Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, D-Orinda; Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco; Assemblymember Laura Friedman, D-Glendale and Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella.
It was approved by the Assembly Governmental Organization committee with overwhelming support.
“SB 846 comes at a critical time for the restaurant community as restaurants are still struggling to rebound from COVID closures -- and now face rising food costs, a continued labor shortage, and supply chain delays that are forcing restaurants to limit menu offerings, reduce operating hours, and close altogether,” said Matt Sutton, senior vice president of government affairs & public policy for the California Restaurant Association. “Reinstating the ability for neighborhood restaurants to use more channels to serve their guests offsite, as SB 846 does, meets changed consumer expectations while adding public safety protections. A time-tested, carefully crafted policy that is a true win-win.”
Senator Bill Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Solano, Yolo, Sonoma, Contra Costa, and Sacramento counties. You can learn more about the district and Senator Dodd at www.sen.ca.gov/dodd.