“Drinks to Go” was never intended to last longer than a few months during the “Pandemic.” To prevent the spread of the virus, the very narrow purpose was to stop illegal “speakeasy” saloons from operating during Covid, while also keeping people at home. Another objective was to sustain the alcohol beverages industry during a time when half of the retail segment was shut down. The temporary revenues from "Drinks to Go" were put in place to help restaurants pay their outstanding bills, and financially bridge them until Federal and State relief became available. These objectives were met. Now the state and federal emergency provisions are long ended.

Meanwhile, proponents for permanent "Drinks to Go," fueled by "Big Alcohol" interests, have changed their intent at an expense of public safety and marketplace stability. Ignored by proponents for deregulation is that on and off premises alcohol retail are intentionally divided by the state into Section 12 and Section 15 licenses with different rules and regulations specific to their market segments. Preventing marketplace control by any one industry segment and protecting public safety are the reasons behind separating on and off premise retail. 

The problem that deregulatory proponents knowingly choose to downplay is that dividing the retail tier and regulations forbidding co-mingling of the retail segments have prevented illegal sales of alcohol beverages. They  have also been a significant factor in maintaining a stable marketplace for the past 80 years. Stability of the marketplace for a product with a history of abuses is a key factor that should not be underscored. Therefore, desire for more revenues is not a good enough reason for deregulation that will negatively impact public safety.

There is now significant irrefutable empirical evidence revealing how minors are repeatedly gaining access to alcohol beverages through “Third Party Delivery” of alcohol beverages. Much of this information is just now being published due to delays connected with the pandemic. Hard to police third-party delivery services are the root of the problem. These third party providers often lack alcohol responsibility training, have not obtained “Section 22 Alcohol Transportation Permits,” do not maintain records of alcohol products that were delivered, deliver alcohol beverages past legal hours, and have been known to leave alcohol beverages on people’s doorsteps without IDing anyone in the alcohol retail process. The ABCC and many media reports have recently confirmed how minors are getting alcohol through difficult to police third party delivery of alcohol.

Difficult to police third party delivery of alcohol beverages is the big problem that proponents for “Drinks to Go” want legislators, elected officials, and the public to ignore." Drinks to Go" cannot be properly policed. Minors are getting alcohol from "Drinks to Go" that was meant to be temporary because the movement of alcohol is mostly unrecorded. These deliveries are under the radar because an alcohol transportation permit is not a requirement within the emergency provisions. How does law enforcement police something with no paper trail? The opposite is true for all off premise retail transactions. Off premises transactions are recorded, searchable, and they must be delivered with a Section 22 alcohol deliver permit. The result is that off premises retail transactions can be easily traced. This prevents stores from selling alcohol beverages illegally. The same is not true for "Drink to Go."  

Studies, News and Reports

Alcohol Beverage Control Commission Report (See Pages 9 & 10)

Amherst Panda Enterprises Inc Panda East violation - ABCC (2022)

ABCC reports Direct Link Between DTC Alcohol Shipping and Increased Underage Access


BU Report - Alcohol, Health and Safety In Massachusetts

MADD warns of possible dangers amid 'to-go' liquor change

MAPA letter to Joint Committee on Ways and Means (2023)

MASSPACK Letter to Governor Healey Requesting Sunset of Drinks to Go (2023)

MA Prevention Alliance Says Don't make Drinks to Go permanent - CommonWealth Beacon

Investigators in MA say alcohol delivered to underage college students - Ipswich News 

State revokes Gopuff’s license after underage alcohol sales - Boston Business Journal 

ABCC confirms home alcohol deliveries connected to increased access to minors - MASSLIVE

Tennessee Ends Drinks to-Go Because of Poor ID Compliance - Nashville Tennessean

Maryland Ends Takeout Cocktails - Montgomery Community Media

To-go cocktails make it harder to enforce underage drinking laws - LA ILLUMINATOR

Businesses Caught Skirting Alcohol to Go ID Checks - FOX 29

Looser liquor laws boosted restaurants and problem drinking - PA Capital Star

Teen used the Gopuff app to get delivery alcohol - FOX 31

Minors are using delivery apps to order booze - The Takeout

Home Alcohol Delivery Companies Are Not Checking IDs - Williamette Week

On-Demand Alcohol Delivery Apps Harm Youth - Movendi International

Uber Eats has turned into a rogue cocktail bar for minors - The Washington Post

One-third of liquor deliveries in Oregon don't comply with rules on delivery - Wine Searcher

Delivery Apps Are Making it Easy for Minors to Get Booze - Food & 

It is indisputable that Minors are Getting Alcohol Beverages from Drinks to Go and 3rd Party App Services  



Massachusetts Package Stores Association, Inc.
30 Lyman St., Suite 2 / Westborough, MA 01581
Phone: (508) 366-1100 / Fax: (508) 366-1104

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