New Jersey Residents Can Now Order a Cocktail To Go

Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi PC

Governor Murphy Signs A3966 into Law, which allows the sale of mixed drinks up to 16 ounces in a sealed container for takeout or delivery

New Jersey residents can now order a pre-mixed cocktail to go with their takeout and delivered meals under a bill signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy today.

The law allows bars and restaurants with plenary retail consumption licenses, hotel or motel licenses, seasonal retail consumption licenses, and concessionaire permittees, to sell and deliver house-made cocktails in sealed containers during the state of emergency.

Craft distillery licensees are permitted to sell distilled alcoholic beverages that are manufactured on the licensed premises and mixed or blended with other alcoholic or nonalcoholic beverages and sold in closed and sealed containers. Craft distilleries can also sell distilled alcoholic beverages in original containers accompanied by one or more nonalcoholic beverages or food stuffs that may be combined by the consumer to prepare a mixed drink.

This is a change to the law, which previously only permitted sales of alcohol for takeout or delivery in original containers, for example, a bottle of wine or vodka, or a six-pack of beer. Under the new law, mixed cocktails with distilled spirits may be sold in closed and sealed containers that are affixed with a “tamper evident seal” and hold no more than 16 fluid ounces. Other alcoholic beverages that are not distilled spirits (i.e., sangria or beer) may be sold to go in any size container. Disposable containers or jars with lids must be “tamper evident.” The Division of ABC has advised licensees that “disposable cups with lids that have holes are not permitted” to be used for take-out mixed drinks. Licensees are still required to obtain a transit insignia for each vehicle used to deliver to a customer.

New Jersey now joins over 30 other states and Washington, D.C. that allow cocktails to-go.

The law expires six months following the date: (1) which the state of emergency has ended; or (2) on which the coronavirus related occupancy/seating restrictions no longer apply to licensed premises, whichever is later.

This action by Governor Murphy helps brick-and-mortar restaurants and bars in the State, whose industry has been hard hit amid the spread of COVID-19. Restaurants and bars have only been able to offer takeout or delivery of food and alcohol in original containers to customers; the sales of cocktails to-go in containers of no more than 16 fluid ounces is a welcome addition to their offerings to New Jersey residents.

As new advisories, guidance, and laws for restaurant and bar operations are issued, CSG will continue to provide updates. 

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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Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi PC

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