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Wisconsin restaurants kick off first day of drinks to-go

Published: Mar. 28, 2021 at 11:27 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -Sunday kicks off the first day restaurants in Wisconsin can sell cocktails to-go, but there are limits to the new law.

“We’re planning to do a few classic cocktails as well as house favorites and brunch drinks,” David Biefer, Merchant general manager said.

Wisconsin restaurants now have permission to sell booze you can bring home.

“I like a little margarita every once and a while so a margarita to-go may not be bad,” William Toney, Merchant patron said.

Biefer says the to-go drinks are ready to go.

Today kicks off the first day restaurants in Wisconsin can sell cocktails to-go, but there are...
Today kicks off the first day restaurants in Wisconsin can sell cocktails to-go, but there are limits to the new law.(Brittney Ermon)

Under the law, mixed drinks and wine have to be in tightly sealed containers and you can’t sip just anywhere.

“You have to be in a location that’s friendly to drink. You can’t just drink on the street. It’s not Bourbon Street,” Biefer said.

Before the bill was passed, restaurants could only sell drinks in original packaging, but Biefer said drinks to-go shakes things up, giving them an opportunity to boost sales.

“It’s really exciting to see more people come out. We’re definitely getting busier,” Biefer said.

Tavern League officials said the law being passed is long overdue.

“We should have had this on the back end of last year when we had the original shutdown,” Chris Marsicano, Tavern League president said.

After a year of restaurants closing their doors, he said this new law is a step in the right direction.

“We hope that the legislature that worked nicely together to get this law into effect will also work to enact other laws that will help get our industry back on its feet,” Marsicano said.

Some critics were concerned that cocktails to-go law could lead to more drinking and driving and underage drinking.

More than 30 states have similar alcohol to-go laws.

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