Colorado House Bill 21-1027, which would legalize alcohol to go and for delivery from restaurants for the next five years, was passed by the Colorado State House and the Senate Finance Committee without a single “no” vote.
"This legislation is critical to the recovery of restaurants, 93% of which have relied on alcohol to go to supplement lost revenue in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic," said a news release issued on behalf of the Colorado Restaurant Association.
“Alcohol to go is win-win for the people of Colorado, who overwhelmingly approve of it, and for restaurants, who desperately need it as they work to recover following the pandemic-driven disruptions to business,” Sonia Riggs, president and CEO of the Colorado Restaurant Association, said in the release. “Passing this measure is a political no-brainer. Being able to sell alcohol beverages for takeout and delivery has been a lifeline for the Colorado restaurant industry, which lost $3 billion in revenue in 2020 alone. Allowing alcohol to go can play a big role in alleviating the gravest economic crisis the restaurant industry has faced in living memory.”
In a recent survey, 93 percent of restaurant operators said they are deriving revenue from alcohol to-go orders and 85 percent of adults over the age of 21 want this service to be permanent in Colorado, the release said.
“HB 21-1027 will help get our restaurants back on their feet while giving more choice and convenience to consumers,” State Sen. Kevin Priola, the Republican prime sponsor, said in the release, which added experts estimate the industry's recovery will take, at minimum, three to five years.
“Restaurants need all the financial support possible right now,” said Riggs. “While selling alcohol beverages to go will not make up entirely for lost revenue, it offers restaurants the opportunity to serve customers wherever they are and gives restaurants a fighting chance at survival. We hope the Colorado Legislature will pass this expediently to help Colorado restaurants, which have provided the backdrop for some of our greatest moments.”
State Senator Jeff Bridges, the Democratic prime sponsor of the bill, said in the release, “Colorado restaurants and taverns have been hit harder by COVID than just about any other small business in our state. Extending to-go drinks and outdoor dining gives these small business owners the opportunity they need to come back strong, create good jobs, and provide Coloradans with a social experience that’s even better than before.”
There was no public testimony against the bill during the final public hearing on May 12. HB 21-1027 will next be scheduled to be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee before a full reading on the Colorado State Senate floor.