Cocktails-To-Go Bill Will Become Law, Governor Says

John tends to the bar for patrons at the Continental Tavern.

Cocktails-to-go in Pennsylvania may become legal any day now thanks to a bill passed overwhelmingly in both chambers of the state legislature.

House Bill 327 allows restaurants and bars which have lost a quarter of their monthly revenue during the pandemic to sell mixed drinks to-go. The establishment must already have a liquor license, and to-go drinks can only be sold until 11 p.m.

The bill allows beverages for consumption off-premises to vary anywhere from 4 ounces to 64 ounces. All drinks must have seals, like a secure lid or cap.

Additionally, the bill explicitly states these mixed drinks to go are a temporary measure. It will only last as long as the disaster emergency declaration currently in place for the pandemic.

State Rep Perry Warren (D-Bucks) introduced the bill in February.

“The passage of this bill is great news for Pennsylvania’s restaurant industry during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Warren said. “It enables our local restaurants selling food, beer and wine to add another product for curbside pickup and takeout during this crisis. I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in both the House and the Senate for supporting this legislation.”

The state Senate unanimously approved H.B. 327 with a 48-0 vote on May 13 after the state House passed the bill 193-9 in late April. It is now on the governor’s desk waiting for a signature.

“I do plan to sign it,” said Governor Tom Wolf Tuesday.

While this bill applies the entire state, another provision is specifically geared for Lower Makefield. In fact, when Warren introduced the bill, it had a different and local purpose.

In the June 2 primary election, Lower Makefield voters will be choosing whether to allow alcohol sales in their municipality. The referendum comes after a petition received enough signatures earlier this year.

H.B. 327 amends the Liquor Code to clarify the process for this referendum.

“The passage of this bill, coupled with Act 48 enacted last year, streamlines the process for residents’ right to decide whether to permit alcohol sales in a municipality,” Warren said.

If Lower Makefield voters choose to make their township a “wet” municipality, it would reverse a ban from 1949.