New Oregon laws allow for alcoholic drinks to-go

An alcoholic beverage and food served to-go at a local Corvallis bar. As of December 24th, Oregon bars are temporarily allowed to serve cocktails and single servings of wine to go.

Adam Figgins, News Contributor

Corvallis residents are now able to order alcoholic drinks to-go and support local businesses safely due to the passing of Senate bill 1801 in late December, effective for all restaurant businesses in Oregon.

An Oregon State University student, Corvallis Police Department Lieutenant and campus bar employees commented on the take-out liquor laws and addressed safety concerns, community interest and usefulness of take-out drinks. 

In Corvallis, Ore., establishments that are offering drinks to-go include but are not limited to McMennamins, Tom’s Peacock Bar and Grill as well as Benchwarmer’s Grill.

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The manager of McMenamins Corvallis Pub, Angela Mellison, believes that take-out liquor is great for business, and said one of the only challenges with take-out liquor is the sealing of containers and labelling alcoholic beverages.

Having take-out liquor as an option “has increased our liquor sales and gives people who choose to be more conservative about going out an option to have craft cocktails made for them” Mellison said.

Kimberly Lane, an OSU student, said take out liquor makes sense because “here in Corvallis, there are a lot of local breweries [and] by being able to offer takeout liquor, local breweries are supported during the pandemic.”

Lane does not believe that drinks to-go will be commonplace after the pandemic, because she believes the main appeal of buying a drink at a restaurant is enjoying it in the restaurant with friends.

Take-out drinks must be sealed until customers get home, and while driving they are supposed to place the order out of reach as well. 

Corvallis Police Lieutenant, Ryan Eaton said there have been no incidents of anyone violating take-out liquor laws in Corvallis since they were put into effect. 

While there have not been any take-out violations, Eaton did highlight the increase in DUI cases from 2019 to 2020. 

“In 2020 we saw an increase of 36% in Driving Under the Influence cases when compared to 2019,” Eaton said. “While we cannot pinpoint the exact cause behind this increase, the fact it exists is concerning.”

Oregon has become one of other states that now have similar rules for take-out liquor including Colorado, Idaho and California. 

The bill will expire 60 days after Governor Kate Brown’s pandemic emergency declaration has expired. The declaration will end Mar. 3, meaning drinks to-go will no longer be available after May 2. Despite this being a temporary rule, community members would like to see take-out liquor available longer.

 

Mellison said “as long as we follow the guidelines I don’t see why the OLCC would go back on this carefully regulated decision.”