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Texas Bars Lobby for Change, Push to be Allowed to Sell Mixed Cocktails To-Go

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Still Golden Social House sold mixed cocktails for one day, in March, before the order allowing them to do so was tightened. - INSTAGRAM / NINA0COLADA
  • Instagram / nina0colada
  • Still Golden Social House sold mixed cocktails for one day, in March, before the order allowing them to do so was tightened.
With Governor Greg Abbott closing bars Friday to contain the state's record COVID-19 infections, workers in the industry have been thrust back into limbo, coping with more lost wages and another uncertain wait.

But one Texas group representing the industry thinks it has a solution to lessen the damage: let bars sell pre-mixed cocktails to go. Under current state rules, restaurants and bars can sell beer, wine and liquor, but only in closed containers with their manufacturer’s seal intact.

The organization Margs For Life is lobbying to change that.

Founder Kareem Hajjar, also a partner in the Austin law firm Hajjar Peters LLP, is talking with Texas food and beverage associations to build support for an emergency order to let bars sell mixed drinks in containers that they seal on premises.

“While that work continues today, Margs For Life has evolved into a community of people who are either in the industry or support the industry, where we can share news and events, and help one another be as profitable as possible during this pandemic," Hajjar told the Current.

Margs for Life's proposed rule change, proponents say, would help restaurants and bars reduce inventory — and allow some facing dire financial circumstances to stay afloat.

“I'm privileged that I work at a bar that has granted me the ability to do to-go cocktail kits… But bars and restaurants would benefit from FULL to-go kits," said David Naylor, a bartender at San Antonio craft-cocktail bar The Modernist, via a Facebook post. "Manhattans expertly built, Negronis that don't require you to amass a stocked bar… ALL these are possible if [Gov. Abbott] would allow it.”

Naylor continued: “We already have to pay taxes every month on idle inventory, so why wouldn't it make sense to sell off what we can?”

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