'Cocktails To Go With Christopher Loar' by Russ Allison Loar is marked with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
Mar 2, 2022
Bottoms up! Hochul stops in Brooklyn to push for permanent to-go cocktails
Calling it a 'critical revenue stream,' Hochul said to-go drinks 'kept people afloat during those dark, dark months'
Governor Kathy Hochul’s campaign to permanently bring back to-go cocktails featured a stop at a Brooklyn wine bar, where she blasted “century-old restrictions” for barring the practice.
Hochul and a slew of local politicians, including Councilman Chi Ossé, appeared at Therapy Wine Bar 2.0 in Bed-Stuy to further detail how she would relaunch a beloved perk that benefitted restaurants (and helped New Yorkers maintain sanity in lockdown). The legalization of to-go dinks would require State Assembly approval and faces opposition from the liquor store lobby.
“We saw that this is a critical revenue stream,” Hochul said at a press conference. “This is what kept people afloat during those dark, dark months and years of the pandemic.”
Hochul first announced she wanted to bring back to-go cocktails in January, a move that earned praise from local bars. Tim Racine, the owner of Young Ethels in South Slope previously told Brooklyn Magazine that selling to-go cocktails was a “true lifesaver” for his business.
Former Governor Andrew Cuomo allowed imbibers to take their drinks on a walk back in March 2020, in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, via an executive order. It lasted for roughly 15 months before it was suddenly revoked when the state’s other disaster emergency measures expired.
“The Covid-19 crisis revealed the ways in which certain regulations were already stifling our small businesses,” Ossé said in a prepared comments. “As the pandemic recedes, we can hold onto the lessons learned to allow our small businesses to thrive.”
However, it’s not a done deal just yet. Hochul said she’s working to increase staffing at the State Liquor Authority to help process the more than 75,000 liquor licenses it receives every year. The department is also working on “very specific regulations” for the measure in order to pass state lawmakers’ approval later this year.
The program has broad public support. Nearly 80 percent of New Yorkers want to bring it back, according to a recent survey from the New York State Restaurant Association.
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