Delaware’s new to-go alcohol law takes effect April 1

Charlie Megginson Culture, Government, Headlines

a bottle of wine

Photo courtesy of Dogfish Head Brewery.

Restaurants, brewpubs, taverns and taprooms in Delaware will permanently be able to serve to-go alcoholic beverages beginning April 1. 

House Bill 290, which passed in January, allows food and drink establishments to sell alcoholic beverages in transactions for take-out, curbside, or drive-through service and to use outdoor seating for serving food and drinks.

To-go drinks and outdoor seating were initially allowed during the pandemic under an executive order issued by Gov. John Carney. The order was designed to provide additional revenue streams for restaurants after they were largely shuttered by COVID-19 lockdowns.

When that order expired, the legislature unanimously passed a bill to allow the practice to continue, although the act included a sunset clause that required it to be re-evaluated after a year. House Bill 290 removed that sunset clause, permanently cementing the legality of the practice in Delaware. 

Under the law, to-go alcoholic beverages must be sold in a container designed to prevent consumption while driving, such as an impermeable lid, cap or seal.

Restaurants must also sell a minimum of $10 worth of food as part of the take-out, curbside or drive-through sale of alcoholic beverages.

Sales are limited to one 750 mL bottle of wine, 6 servings of beer, or one mixed cocktail made in the establishment.

The second limits the type and amount of to-go alcoholic beverages allowed to be sold to one 750 ML bottle of wine, six servings of beer and individual mixed cocktails.

In a Facebook post, the Delaware Restaurant Association celebrated the new law.

“Cheers and thank you Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf for getting this important legislation passed for Delaware restaurants, industry supporters, and citizens that enjoy the convenience of carryout orders (including alcoholic beverages) from their favorite neighborhood restaurants!”

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