Cocktails-For-Hope wants to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the People of Illinois
The mission of the Illinois Liquor Control Commission is to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the People of the State of Illinois. Cocktails-For-Hope, which wants to expand alcoholic liquor delivery and takeout privileges to allow bars and restaurants to serve pre-mixed cocktails in a sealed container to-go, shares the Illinois Liquor Control Commission’s mission and wants to propose policies to meet these ends.
Every time privileges are expanded for alcohol, there is a fear that the consequences could become harmful and threaten the health, safety, and welfare of Illinois residents.
I agree that unscrupulous retailers can threaten our safety and make it a worse problem for our society. However, with the right legal safeguards and protocols in place we can greatly minimize this risk and allow bars and restaurants needed income during this difficult time.
As with any change to the liquor system, a proposed change must be well thought out and not only take into account what is good for the market but also what can protect health, safety, and welfare of Illinois citizens.
Here are some of our proposals:
Combating driving while intoxicated
Our proposals mandate stricter standards for alcoholic liquor delivery/carryout than what already exists under Illinois law.
Under the Illinois Vehicle Code, it is illegal to have within the passenger area of a motor vehicle alcohol not in its original packaging, but the code makes an exception for growlers and unfinished wine consumed at a restaurant.
Our proposal would not allow a sealed container with pre-mixed cocktails in the passenger area of the car. The sealed container would need to be placed in the trunk or if there is no trunk, such as in an SUV, in a rear compartment that is inaccessible to the driver.
This proposal ensures that the alcoholic liquor is not accessible to the driver while operating the vehicle. And is stricter than current law for other classes of alcoholic liquor allowed within a vehicle.
Cocktails-For-Hope worries about the effects of underage and intoxicated drinkers. We propose that a restaurant or bar’s employees that deliver alcohol be BASSET trained. BASSET, which stands for Beverage Alcohol Sellers and Servers Education and Training, is a mandatory course which deals with responsible alcohol service training. This course teaches servers how to identify underage drinkers and how to identify intoxicated drinkers. A restaurant or bar’s employees would be required to take this course as a condition for serving cocktails-to-go.
Additionally, we have seen the stories of third-party delivery services that are failing to properly identify for age verification.
We propose that third-party delivery services not be permitted to deliver cocktails. All transactions involving properly sealed cocktails must involve a BASSET trained employee of a bar or restaurant.
Further, if the employee delivering the cocktail is not able to verify a person’s age or level of intoxication upon delivery, the sale shall be cancelled and the product returned to the bar or restaurant.
Our proposed standards are stricter than the present standards for delivery of packaged goods. And we want to ensure that the hazards from other states, especially those issues surrounding third-party delivery services are eliminated or severely reduced.
Sealed/Labeling Containers and Sanitation
Cocktails-For-Hope is greatly concerned about issues related to sanitation and the proper sealing of cocktails-to-go.
Our proposal mandates strict sanitation requirements. We follow the same sanitation requirements as is required by an on-premise retailer to fill growlers.
For sealing containers, we follow the same strict standards already in the law which require that the lid be tamper proof by an approved method or liquor be in a tamper-proof sealed transparent bag. These containers would require labels that provide the name of the retailer, the date the container was filled, and the ingredients in the container. We desire to achieve full accountability for the bar or restaurant filling the container.
We share many people’s concerns that we don’t want someone drinking with a straw out of a Styrofoam cup while driving. So, stringent sealing requirements ensure not only that sanitation is not compromised but that safety is paramount.
Further, anyone delivering pre-mixed cocktails will need to abide by the additional sanitary requirements brought on by COVID-19. This includes wearing masks and gloves when interacting with the public.
Cocktails-For-Hope wants to enhance income for struggling bars and restaurants during this difficult time. This income may be the difference between a business closing its doors or surviving.
At the same time, we are cognizant of the concerns of those that believe any expansion of alcohol privileges may threaten the health, safety, and welfare of Illinois citizens.
Because we are seeking to sell cocktails, which have a higher potency than wine and beer, we propose stricter legal standards for carryout and delivery.
We understand that unscrupulous retailers may not follow the law and endanger the health, safety, and welfare of Illinois citizens. However, this small minority should not dictate how the system runs. Because most retailers want to keep their liquor license, they will follow the law as a condition of exercising these privileges. The unscrupulous retailers on the other hand, could be held accountable by having their license fined, suspended, or even revoked.
In concluding, Cocktails-For-Hope wants change, but we also want an orderly and well-regulated liquor system that protects the health, safety, and welfare of Illinois citizens. We will stand for nothing less!
Legal Advisor, Cocktails-For-Hope