During the early stages of the H1N1 pandemic, millions of Americans turned to cocktails to help them get through flu symptoms. The drinks – which are now known as “cocktails to go” – were stocked in store fridges and restaurants across the country, making them easy to grab and go.

Did you know that many of the cocktails you might have down as an adult were originally made for children and the elderly? These familiar drinks, like the Shirley Temple, which is now sold in every 7-11 in the land, were created to help meet the needs of people who couldn’t eat a proper meal with the little time they had for food. I find it interesting to see how some of these so-called “fad” foods, like the Shirley Temple, are still part of our culture today.

Moe’s Original BBQ is known for its intoxicating Bushwacker shake. Last year, when meals switched to take-home meals because of the pandemic, Moe’s stores on Alabama’s Gulf Coast were able to sell Bushwhackers thanks to a state emergency measure.

It was a big deal for us, says Mark White, owner of six Moe’s restaurants in South Alabama.

The 24th. In March 2020, Alabama’s ABC regulator approved an amendment allowing bars and restaurants to sell beer, wine or spirits for take-out, provided the containers are sealed with alcohol and the cocktails are not premixed.

White’s Restaurants has developed Bushwacker kits that include an ice cream base and miniature bottles of rum that customers can make at home. They also sold margarita and bloody mary kits.

It was great because one of our restaurants has a drive-through and we were selling barbecue and spirits through the drive-through window, White says. We were like this: It’s amazing. We hope it will last forever.

Unfortunately, the ordinance that allowed White and other Alabama businesses to start selling alcohol expired in January 2021. But the 1st. In October, a new law takes effect in the state that allows restaurants, breweries and other licensed businesses to deliver beer, wine and spirits directly to consumers.

New Yorkers aren’t so lucky. At a press conference last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that as of 24. In June, bars and restaurants in the state will no longer be allowed to sell alcoholic beverages for take-out. It’s the abrupt end of a popular law passed last March to help hotel and restaurant owners cope with a pandemic shutdown.

It’s like we’ve been cut off, said Soter Teague, beverage director at Amor y Amargo Bar in Manhattan, on 24. June of the New York Times. He estimates that 10% of sales in the week of the 14th. June 2021 were due to takeaway cocktails.

During the pandemic, cocktails to go were allowed in some states / photo: Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty

Alabama and New York are among 39 states that have allowed restaurants and bars to sell cocktails on consignment during a pandemic. So far, 16 jurisdictions, including Nebraska, Missouri and Virginia, have made permanent changes to their liquor laws to allow bars and restaurants to sell alcohol for take-out. According to Mike Whatley of the National Restaurant Association, legislation is in the works in other states.

It’s probably the most significant change in alcohol laws since Prohibition, said Watley, the association’s vice president for state affairs and community outreach. We see that the States are acting very quickly in this regard.

One of the reasons these laws are changing? People love it. According to a survey by the National Restaurant Association, about 80 percent of consumers in states where alcohol is sold temporarily favor a permanent change.

This change is also a lifeline for restaurants. According to Watley, nearly 90 percent of the restaurants that were allowed to sell alcohol outside the home did so. In many cases, he said, this increased net sales and allowed restaurants to hire additional staff during the pandemic.

This is probably the most significant change in the state’s alcohol laws since Prohibition. -Mike Whatley, National Restaurant Association.

While restaurants across the country are reopening their dining halls and increasing capacity, employees say takeout sales are falling.

Our takeout cocktail program doesn’t generate much revenue, but it does allow us to talk to customers about something interesting and get people interested in some of the other things we do locally, says Adam Bartelt, marketing director for Orchestrate Hospitality, which operates nine restaurants in central Iowa.

He said restaurants in Iowa were able to sell beer before the pandemic broke out. During the pandemic, the state instituted a temporary sale of wine, spirits and mixed drinks and recently passed a law making this change permanent.

Offering takeout is convenient for consumers and gives restaurants a chance to be creative, Bartelt said. Latin American restaurant Malo in Orchestrate, for example, offered bottled margaritas after hearing from customers that they couldn’t get enough of cocktails with their favorite dishes.

New York made major changes to its takeout alcohol laws in June 2021 / Photo Bill Tompkins/Getty Images

Whether in the dining room or the snack bar, restaurants are diligently looking for ways to recover from the past year.

Plus, not everyone feels comfortable eating out yet, says Erin Zupicich, director of marketing for Heirloom Hospitality Group, which owns three restaurants in Detroit.

The state of Michigan has passed a temporary law allowing restaurants to offer mixed drinks until 2025. Cocktails must be sold in special sealed containers that indicate the place of sale and a warning against the consumption of alcohol. Zupicic says it also allows for delivery in some cases.

Before the pandemic, beer and wine were allowed to be sold in Michigan to take home.

Whether in the dining room or the snack bar, restaurants are diligently looking for ways to recover from the past year.

During the pandemic, Heirloom Hospitality Group launched Heirloom Goods, a website that aggregates the take-home offerings of each of its restaurants: Townhouse Detroit, Townhouse Birmingham and Prime + Proper. There is also a butcher shop, a bottle shop, takeaway cocktails and food parcels.

We always want to create a sense of presence and give people the opportunity to support their favorite companies in any way they can, she says. I think in the long run it’s good to be able to enjoy the comfort of the restaurants you love, but sometimes you want to do it at home. The addition of cocktails enhances this experience.

For Mother’s Day, for example, Heirloom offered brunch packages with pastries, salads, quiches and other dishes, as well as freshly squeezed juices and champagne. According to Zupicic, they were sold almost immediately.

The brunch packages have helped a lot, she says. This allowed us to offer more variety than just takeaway.

Every little bit helps, says Bartelt, especially when restaurants go from surviving to growing.

Watley expects the takeaway to continue to flourish next year. He believes the sale of take-home alcohol could increase total sales outside of the restaurant’s hospitality areas by 10%.

Even after a pandemic, the product will still be important because customers like it a lot, he says. Restaurant meals, whether takeout or delivery, will play a more important role than before the pandemic. We want to make sure that customers can get their favorite alcoholic beverage as part of this operation.

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