FL Governor Ron DeSantis signs bill making cocktails to-go permanent in Sunshine State

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Cocktails to-go will now be a permanent thing in Florida after the FL Legislature passed SB148. The featured image comes courtesy of Craft Kafe; the local business began bottling their own cocktails at the outset of the pandemic, and have continued the service.

The bill’s ultimate goal is to increase consumer convenience and supporting hospitality businesses devastated by COVID-19. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis officially signed he bill on May 13. Once signed, the bill would become effective July 1, 2021.

“Governor DeSantis was an early supporter of cocktails to-go as an avenue to help Florida restaurants and bars during the pandemic,” said Jay Hibbard, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States Senior Vice President of State Government Relations. “Cocktails to-go provided a much-needed lifeline for struggling hospitality businesses and prevented the permanent closure of many. Now that this measure is permanent, bars and restaurants will have increased stability as they begin the long path to recovery. We applaud the Florida Legislature and Governor DeSantis for supporting local businesses and for providing increased convenience to consumers.”

Supporting small businesses

“The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated Florida’s hospitality businesses, and it will take years for them to fully recover,” said Jay Hibbard, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States Senior Vice President of State Government Relations.

“Cocktails to-go has already proven to be a vital part of their survival during COVID-19 and will only provide increased stability in the months and years to come. Hospitality businesses are desperate for a sustained source of revenue, and cocktails to-go provide a critical lifeline. We thank the legislature for passing this measure and encourage Governor DeSantis to sign this bill and make cocktails to-go permanent in support of Florida’s hospitality businesses.”

Adapting to difficult times 

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation issued an emergency order allowing restaurants to sell beverage alcohol with to-go food orders in early 2020, and Governor DeSantis expressed his support for making the change permanent at a news conference in September 2020.

Many local spots like Intermezzo, Trophy Fish, Beans & Barlour, Mandarin Hide and Craft Kafe found success in bottling their own cocktails during the pandemic. The past 12 months have changed consumer habits, and this type of offering could mean continued success for small businesses in St. Petersburg and across the state.

Have you enjoyed cocktails to-go in St. Petersburg? Let us know in the comments.

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Written by Andrew Harlan

Andrew Harlan is the Editor of ilovetheburg.com. Follow him on Twitter @harlanyoungII and Instagram @harlanyoung. Send tips and potential stories to info@ilovetheburg.com.