Lawmakers are expanding away cocktails, eliminating the problem of selling minors

RICHMAND, Virginia (WRIC) – A two-party bill to extend cocktails until July 2024 is being sent to Governor Glen Yangkin’s table. Lawmakers are considering making pandemic-era policies permanent, but problems with juvenile sales are giving them a break.

From April 2020, restaurants licensed for alcoholic beverages can offer four mixed drinks for takeaway or delivery orders. Each order should include one meal for every two cocktails purchased. Previously, the policy lasted until July 1, 2022.

David Bulawa, who sponsored the House of Representatives bill, said he was skeptical at first, but the good feedback from voters and businesses changed his mind.

“We want to make sure that we can continue this program, but we want to make sure that there are appropriate fences on it and that we do it safely,” Bulava said.

After convening a stakeholder group to investigate the issue, the Virginia Alcohol Control Bureau identified a problem with third-party delivery services.

According to a Virginia ABC report, of the 70 orders made by underage customers under the supervision of agents, 52 were executed and sales were made in 32 cases. In 23 of these situations, identity was never requested. Another time an identity card was requested, but the sale was made regardless.

There were also cases when cocktails were delivered without food and more than four drinks were ordered.

“One delivered portions of alcohol, which is prohibited, but provided a bowl of chili to try to meet food requirements,” the statement said.

Bulava said his bill seeks to address the issue by creating a permit for these third-party delivery services and fines for violators. He said it was also a problem with beer and wine delivery.

“There was no skin in the game for a third-party delivery service, and that’s honestly unfair to the restaurant,” Bulava said. “So we just make sure the responsibility has to be where the responsibility should be, and that’s the person who actually delivers the cocktail.”

The report says the most frequently used service was DoorDash, followed by Chop Chop, Instacart, Grubhub, Chow Now, Uber Eats, Caviar and Beyond Menu.

The bill also bans supplies to college dormitories and prisons.

Kurt Gregory Erickson, president and director general of the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP), said there was no evidence that cocktails taken on the go led to an increase in drunk driving, although it is possible that information could be gathered if the state will begin to record the “place of the last drink”. »In these cases.

“There is no evidence to link the Wild West environment that people feared could happen,” Erickson said.

Bulava said his bill sets stricter rules for sealing these drinks. Cocktails should be in a container without holes and “sealed so that a person can easily understand whether the container was opened or forged.”

Drivers should keep them in the trunk of their car, out of reach behind the front seat or in a closed container.

Kate Bruder, a bartender at Solita Bar in Richmond, hopes the outing cocktails will become a permanent fixture in Virginia after the change helped boost revenue during the end of the pandemic.

“For us, the opportunity to send drinks was special because we are proud of the cocktails we create for our customers,” Brooder said. “I think that as long as people understand that being able to drink cocktails, we hope things will get better and we will be able to keep it in the foreseeable future until people realize it’s a privilege.”

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