ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia diners could permanently order mixed alcoholic drinks to go when ordering food under a measure that passed the General Assembly on Monday.
The House voted 120-48 for Senate Bill 236, sending it to Gov. Kemp for his approval or veto.
Georgia lawmakers already agreed to allow restaurants to sell beer or wine to go. Rep. Kasey Carpenter, a Dalton Republican who owns a restaurant, said the measure is needed to reflect a change in dining habits spurred by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Moving forward, Georgians will eat out differently,” said Carpenter, who said said his business does not sell mixed drinks. “This bill seeks to give our industry the flexibility to address those needs.”
The drinks would have to be packaged in tamper-proof containers with no straw holes, and would have to be transported in a vehicle's trunk, glove compartment or behind the last seats. Only two drinks per entree could be ordered.
Local governments could still prohibit such sales, but they would be legal if a city or county does not act. The measure would take effect as soon as the governor signs it.
The Distilled Spirits Council, which lobbies for alcohol makers, says to-go cocktails are currently allowed in more than 30 states.
The measure is another loosening of Georgia's laws governing alcohol. In recent years, the state has permitted the sale of alcohol in stores on Sunday, allowed restaurants to sell alcohol beginning at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, and allowed breweries and distilleries to sell limited amounts of their products directly to customers.