ABC Board approves temporary curbside alcohol sales for restaurants

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control board passed an emergency order Monday aimed at giving struggling restaurants an economic boost for the holiday season.

The board’s order allows holders of restaurant and retail liquor licenses to sell packaged alcohol to customers picking up curbside or take-out orders for off-premises consumption through Jan. 4.

ABC administrator Mac Gipson said the order is aimed at restaurants providing wine and spirits for holiday parties.

“This is to help out a faltering, ailing business,” Gipson said in the emergency meeting Monday morning.

Restaurants had stocked up on wine in anticipation of holding holiday parties for businesses, Gipson said, but the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases in Alabama has led to cancellations of on-premises parties.

Under the emergency order, restaurants can sell 1,500ml of wine — which amounts to two standard bottles — 144 ounces of beer, or 375 ml in spirits. The alcohol can be sold in any size bottle or packaging as long as it does not exceed those amounts.

Alabama ABC Board Chairman Alan Spencer said the order is essentially the same rule passed earlier this year, which expired in September. He said it should give some businesses relief with the current rise in cases affecting businesses.

“I think with the current spike, I think patrons are reticent to do a lot of in-person dining, and so we’re feeling the squeeze again on restaurants,” Spencer said. “This will give them a little bit of relief during a period of time where they typically do a lot of their business because of large gatherings, Christmas parties, etc., and it gives the companies an option to do some virtual events and be a little more creative in how they celebrate the holidays with their employees.”

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