In a bid to help struggling restaurants, Gov. Charlie Baker signed legislation Monday allowing establishments to serve cocktails by takeout.The bill, introduced by Sen. Diana DiZoglio, D-Methuen, permits restaurants to sell to-go mixed drinks, provided they serve them in a sealed container. The legislation is an effort to aid restaurants, who make more money from selling liquor than food, after many have seen revenues plummet during the pandemic.
In North Adams, the owner of Trail House Kitchen & Bar and Freight Yard Pub applauded the state's move.
"Anything they can do to help small businesses, especially small restaurants because we've been hit really bad, is helpful," said Colleen Taylor, who owns the restaurants with her brother Sean.
Taylor said liquor sales typically constitute more than a quarter of her restaurants' revenue, but the state's shift to takeout only in March brought that down to zero.
Even before the practice was officially allowed, Taylor ordered the sealable containers required to serve the booze in preparation.
But not every restaurant was planning that far ahead. Some establishments, like 20 Railroad Public House in Great Barrington, have not developed a plan to serve takeout cocktails.
"Obviously we're excited that they've extended that possibility to use, we just haven't figured out how to implement it yet," said 20 Railroad's lead bartender Eric Rudgunas. "But it should be helpful."
At Tito's Mexican Grill in Pittsfield, manager Benjamin Caratachea said he's excited about the prospect of takeout cocktails too. Until now during the pandemic, his restaurant has been selling margarita mix for customers to bring home and add their own alcohol. While he said it has worked out well, he thinks selling the real thing could be more successful.
"That way we can get more business and bring more employees back," he said.