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Will alcohol to-go stick around post-pandemic?

Alcohol to-go may be the one thing people hope sticks around after the pandemic ends, and state lawmakers are trying to make it a reality.
Posted at 5:51 PM, Feb 24, 2021

COLORADO SPRINGS — Alcohol to-go may be the one thing people hope sticks around after the pandemic ends, and state lawmakers are trying to make it a reality.

Last year, lawmakers in Colorado passed legislation to temporarily allow restaurants and businesses to sell alcohol to-go and deliver it. Now, a group of them want to make it permanent.

Lee Spirits Company in downtown Colorado Springs is one of the local businesses who has been taking advantage of the law, and has been selling to-go cocktails in bottles and cans since last summer.

"We're absolutely for it. When we were shut down, we were kind of limited to our bottle sales," said Regan Capozella, the assistant manager. "Luckily the state actually allowed us to do this, to kind of help boost up sales for a bunch of businesses."

Capozella says it's provided a big boost in business after being shut down for a month and a half. The to-go cocktails have brought in nearly $8,000 in sales.

"It has definitely boosted up sales. It also allows people who aren't comfortable, to come out and to be able to pick something up that they love coming to get, but comfortably drink from their own home," said Capozella.

While some liquor stores may be worried that alcohol to-go indefinitely, will take away from their business, Veterans Wine and Liquor is on board with the move.

"We think that anything that's going to support local businesses right now through this whole pandemic is a step forward, and if that keeps them afloat, then great," said Justin Roach, the general manager.

Roach says sales have gone up at the liquor store since the pandemic began. He also supports the bill because, "we feel like more people get exposed to alcohol and drinks in restaurants and bars, and they in turn come shop for certain alcohols at a liquor store."

For now, alcohol and cocktails to-go have been extended until July. The bill to have it as an option indefinitely will be heard in committee next week.

News5 also reached out to Mothers Against Drunk Driving for comment. A spokesperson for the organization provided the following statement: "We remind the public that it is never okay to drink and drive. This is why MADD fought so hard to pass open container laws in all 50 states, which have made it illegal to drink while driving. The bottom line is wherever the alcohol is purchased, it should not be opened or consumed until you are in a safe location that will not require more driving."