Over the past year, Colorado establishments with liquor licenses have been allowed to sell alcohol to customers on a to-go or delivery basis. That policy change, which was made in many other states as well, was intended to help struggling bars and restaurants remain open during difficult times.
Although it is scheduled to expire on July 1, it looks like it will be codified into law – at least for the next five years in most cases. A bill that passed both houses of the Colorado legislature with bipartisan support is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis.
How does the legislation differ from the current policy?
The legislation places some additional restrictions on the current policy. However, it also expands some. For example, the bill limits the hours when bars and restaurants can provide alcohol for takeout or delivery to the same hours in which liquor stores can sell alcohol – between 8:00 a.m. and midnight.
The amount of alcohol that restaurants and bars can sell customers for off-site consumption will increase. For example, the quantity of wine that can be sold that way doubles from 750 milliliters to 1.5 liters.
Shared outdoor gathering areas can be licensed
The legislation also allows the state and local governments to license “communal outdoor dining areas” in places where there are multiple restaurants and bars located close to one another. The establishments in the area will be allowed to serve alcohol to customers seated in these areas.
While most provisions of the legislation are scheduled to expire after June 30, 2026, alcohol manufacturers that have a store on their premises can provide alcohol for delivery only through Jan. 2 of next year.
It’s essential that business owners with liquor licenses and those seeking licenses understand and follow the new law once it takes effect. If you have questions or concerns, an experienced attorney can provide valuable guidance.