COVID-19 Client Alert: California Breweries, Wineries, and Distilleries Offering Deliveries and To-Go Orders

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Yesterday, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statewide emergency proclamation to temporarily shut down breweries, wineries, nightclubs and bars. Restaurants will be allowed to continue operating but with—at most—half capacity and are required to maintain social distancing between patrons. He did not put an end date on these restrictions. As of the writing of this alert, the Governor’s order has not been formalized in writing and there is no enforcement mechanism. However, he did state that enforcement may occur if businesses do not voluntarily adhere to the guidelines.

While restaurants, bars, wineries, distilleries and breweries have seen a significant decline in customers, off-premise sales of alcohol beverages have surged. To adapt to these unique circumstances, clients have inquired about the regulations for delivering alcohol beverages directly to customers, as well as the legality of selling alcohol beverages to-go.

California already authorizes licensees with off-sale privileges to deliver alcohol to customers under the following conditions:

  • Each delivery must be accompanied by a “delivery order” stating (at a minimum):
    • The Quantity, Brand, Proof and Price of each alcoholic beverage.
    • The Customer’s name and address .
    • The Licensee’s name and address.
  • A copy of each delivery order must be kept on file for two years after the date of delivery.

In addition, sales and deliveries may only be made to those 21 and over. Accordingly, if you are making deliveries yourself, do not drop off the delivery unattended. Instead make sure it is delivered to the person named on the delivery order and confirm they are over 21 years of age. If you are using a third-party delivery service, confirm (preferably in writing) that they will confirm the delivery recipient’s age. Any violations they commit delivering for you can be imputed to your license.

The following is a partial list of licenses with off-sale privileges (unless an express condition applies):

Type 1 - Beer Manufacturer
Type 2 - Winegrower
Type 20 - Off-Sale Beer and Wine
Type 21 - Off-Sale General
Type 23 - Small Beer Manufacturer
Type 74 - Craft Distiller
Type 41 - On-Sale Beer and Wine for Bona Fide Public Eating Place
Type 42 - On-Sale Beer and Wine for Public Premises
Type 47 - On-Sale General for Bona Fide Public Eating Place
Type 48 - On-Sale General for Public Premises
Type 75 - On-Sale General Brew-Pub

While the Governor’s current proclamation does not require restaurants to shut down, California counties have been issuing their own stricter guidance and restrictions. For example, San Francisco and the surrounding counties have issued a “shelter in place” order limiting restaurants to delivery sales only. Accordingly, refer to your local government’s website to determine if new restrictions are going into effect.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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