State clarifies that "cocktails to go" are allowed in Maine during coronavirus outbreak

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AUGUSTA, Maine (WMTW) - The state is clarifying that restaurants and bars can offer "cocktails to go" during the coronavirus outbreak.

Several businesses had written to the state to make the clarification and urged customers to do the same.

In a letter posted Monday, the Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations updated the definition of "beverage" under the current restrictions on businesses that required all dine-in service to end.

The executive order from Gov. Janet Mills read, in part: “All restaurants and bars shall close their dine-in facilities. Such businesses that offer carry-out, delivery, and drive-through food and beverage service may continue to do so but eating and drinking inside restaurants and bars is temporarily prohibited.”

In a memo on March 18, the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations stated that: “beverage” in the context of the order was intended to permit the sale by bars and restaurants to include beer and wine in the original manufactures’ sealed containers. Beverages will NOT include spirits products. The sale of beverages by bars and restaurants must be accompanied by a food order. The food requirement is based upon the type of liquor license issued by the Bureau."

Monday, the Bureau posted that the definition of beverage will include spirits-based “cocktails to go,” with certain restrictions.

1.Cocktails must be accompanied by a food order and a sales receipt with a time stamp that indicates the time of purchase

2.Cocktails must be batched for immediate use or created individually as needed to fill a customer order

3. A container of cocktails must not exceed 4½ ounces of spirits

4. Cocktails must be in a tamper evident container provided by the licensees using one of the following processes, for example: crown capped glass bottles; screw tops like a water bottle cap that break apart when opened; or vacuum- and heat-sealed pouches

5. The container must have a label affixed that contains the following: name of establishment with date and time of production; and the contents of cocktail including the proof the spirits used to create.

6. Licensees must only create “cocktails to go” for their own establishment

7. Licensee opting to add cocktails to go must send an email to MaineLiquor@Maine.gov and to the licensee’s assigned liquor licensing inspector to provide notification that the licensee is conducting “cocktails to go” activities