Committee OKs Sen. Dodd’s Ready-to-Drink Cocktails Bill

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

SACRAMENTO – Legislation advanced today from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, that would allow convenience stores and other retailers the ability to sell canned cocktails made from distilled spirits, bolstering California small businesses struggling in the current economy while generating tax revenue to help address an expected state budget deficit.

“Not only will this help mom and pop businesses by creating another revenue stream for them but it gives consumers more choice,” Sen. Dodd said. “It’s a win-win for California, especially in light of an anticipated economic downturn. I’m very happy to see this bill move ahead today.”

Senate Bill 277 would allow stores that are normally limited to selling beer and wine to offer canned cocktails up to 16-ounces, made with up to 10% percent alcohol. Now, only retailers with more expensive Alcohol Beverage Control licenses can sell ready-to-drink cocktails. SB 277 helps correct the disparity by allowing prepared cocktails to be sold under the same license used for beer and wine, helping thousands of local businesses.

The bill, which is supported by the California Retailers Association, passed the Senate Government and Organization committee on a 14-0 bipartisan vote. It heads next to Senate Appropriations.

“SB 277 is a logical and modest change in the law that helps small businesses while also meeting consumer demand,” said Ryan Allain of the California Retailers Association.

Sen. Dodd has been a champion of small business since the beginning of the pandemic. His Senate Bill 389, signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2021, allowed the sale of to-go alcoholic beverages by restaurants. This year he introduced a follow-up, SB 495, which would eliminate the food requirement needed to sell take-out alcoholic drinks and also expand the provision to bars.