In a major announcement on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (“WSLCB”) issued a policy to temporarily allow sales of pre-mixed cocktails by businesses holding a Spirits/Beer/Wine Restaurant License – the license type held by most full service restaurants – for curbside pickup and delivery. Until now, the WSLCB’s temporary measures only allowed Spirits/Beer/Wine Restaurant Licensees to offer delivery and curbside pickup of beer and wine in growlers, kegs or factory sealed containers and spirits in factory sealed containers only.
These new and more expansive measures take effect immediately and will expire thirty (30) days after the county where the business is located enters Phase 4 of Washington’s Safe Start Plan. The WSLCB’s other temporary allowances to relax restrictions on alcohol deliveries and to-go sales while on-premises consumption of alcohol is prohibited remain in effect. In its announcement, the WSLCB outlined the requirements that must be followed by Spirits/Beer/Wine Restaurant Licensees choosing to sell pre-mixed cocktails to-go.
To sell pre-mixed cocktails to-go, Spirits/Beer/Wine Restaurant Licensees must abide by all of the following requirements:
- ORDERS MUST INCLUDE A MEAL – Licensees must ensure that every pre-mixed cocktail order also includes a bona fide complete meal order. The term “complete meal” is defined in WAC 314-02-035 and means “an entrée and at least one side dish.” The meal must be prepared on the restaurant’s licensed premises.
- PACKAGES MUST BE SECURE – All pre-mixed cocktails must be sold in containers that are sealed with a secure lid or cap and in a manner designed to prevent consumption without removal of the lid or cap. For example, lids with sipping holes or openings for straws are not allowed. Styrofoam and plastic cups, even if sealed over with tape or other materials, are not allowed. Examples of containers that are and are not allowed can be found here.
- EMPLOYEES MUST HAVE MAST PERMITS – Only employees of the licensed restaurant who are 21 or over and hold a MAST permit may provide curbside or home delivery of pre-mixed cocktails to customers. Third-party delivery services are not allowed to deliver pre-mixed cocktails. For curbside service, the employee must place the pre-mixed cocktails in the trunk of the customer’s vehicle or beyond the immediate reach of the driver.
- NO MINOR SALES – Licensees offering pre-mixed cocktails to-go must guarantee that the person accepting the to-go order or delivery is 21 or over and not visibly intoxicated.
- REQUIRED CUSTOMER WARNING – Licensees must prominently post the following warning either at the licensed premises, on the business’ website, or elsewhere to notify customers and employees of Washington’s open container laws.
“Pre-mixed alcoholic beverages that are packaged by this establishment may not be consumed in a motor vehicle or transported in a motor vehicle except in the vehicle’s trunk; or, if there is no trunk, in some other area of the vehicle not normally occupied by the driver or passengers (this does not include a utility compartment or glove compartment but may include underneath a seat outside of the driver’s reach). RCW 46.61.519.”