The Senate Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs Committee had its first look at H.313, a bill passed by the House that proposes to make miscellaneous changes to alcoholic beverage laws. Among other things, the bill allows for the continued temporary sale of alcoholic beverages for delivery and curbside pickup.

The bill was introduced to the Senate committee by Rep. Matt Birong, D-Vergennes, himself a chef and restaurateur. He addressed the issue of packaging for mixed drinks that do not come in a bottle with a cap or cork. When accompanied by a food order, restaurants and bars will be able to sell alcoholic beverages for delivery and curbside pickup that have a securely affixed tamper-evident seal, a label that states that the beverage contains alcohol, and a listing of the ingredients and serving size. The temporary measure would last for two years.

The bill also creates a new “stand-alone” third class license for establishments that only sell spirits and removes a prohibition on waitstaff sampling of alcoholic products while on duty for purposes of product familiarity.

Finally, the bill clarifies requirements for festival permits which are needed for any event that is open to the public for the purpose of serving alcoholic beverages. The bill includes different limits for malt and vinous beverages, fortified wines and spirits. A festivalgoer could be served up to 60 ounces of malt beverages in glasses that can contain no more than 12 ounces. Thus, a person could be served five 12-ounce beers, or more than five samplings if the glasses are smaller than 12 ounces. The maximum amount of alcohol that a festivalgoer could be served is a combined total of six U.S. standard drinks containing 3.6 fluid ounces or 84 grams of pure ethyl alcohol.

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