In an emergency proclamation, Governor Asa Hutchinson has directed the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) board to allow restaurants and breweries to sell sealed bottles and cans of beer and wine with the purchase of food items to go or for delivery.
This is a huge boost for struggling restaurants, especially ones in Little Rock that were notified of the ban of dine-in options earlier today. The rules will be effective immediately and continue for the next thirty days according to the proclamation.
Under the rules restaurants and microbreweries that are already licensed to sell beer and wine under any permit issued by the ABC may sell sealed containers through delivery or pickup options when there is food involved, as long as it is not delivered by a third party delivery company like Bite Squad. It does not allow for the sale of mixed drinks or hard liquor, although mixers and setups are allowed without the base spirits.
Small breweries, distilleries, and wineries may offer delivery of their own products as well.
Pursuant to the Governor’s March 17th Proclamation the Alcoholic Beverage Control has set forth the following Rule Amendments effective immediately and to continue for the next thirty days:
Restaurants and Microbrewery Restaurants (hereafter referred to as “restaurants”) licensed to sell beer and wine under any permit issued by the Alcoholic Beverage Control may sell corked or sealed bottles of wine with the purchase of food, consistent with their existing ability to allow a patron to take home an unfinished bottle of wine purchased with food. Many restaurants already have the capability to sell beer for on-premises consumption and beer to go pursuant to a retail beer permit or microbrewery restaurant permit. In order to establish parity among all restaurants during this emergency, any restaurant licensed to sell beer under any permit, may sell sealed cans and bottles of beer to patrons with purchase of food. Restaurants may also include beer and wine with delivery of food items. Restaurants shall not sell any spirituous liquor to go or for delivery. Restaurants may sell mixers and set-ups.
Retail liquor stores with drive thru windows are encouraged to use those exclusively. Retail liquor stores may offer curbside services and delivery to their patrons.
Distilleries, Small Breweries and Small Farm Wineries, consistent with their existing licenses, may sell their own products for off premises consumption and offer delivery of their products to patrons.
Delivery of alcoholic beverages shall be by an employee of the licensed restaurant, microbrewery restaurant, distillery, small brewery, small farm winery, or liquor store. Alcohol shall not be delivered by a third party delivery service.
All restaurants and retailers are reminded to continue to ensure they do not sell alcoholic beverages to anyone under the age of 21.