Allow the food and beverage industry to serve more customers

After returning home from serving in Afghanistan, Joey Vanoni began his culinary venture with his food truck, Pizza di Joey, which hit the streets of Baltimore in 2014. After five years, Joey opened his first brick-and-mortar location. Only seven months later, COVID-19 began to wreak havoc on the nation. Thankfully, Maryland stepped up and took steps that made it easier for Joey to be flexible and adapt to the crisis, such as allowing alcohol sales to-go. This new flexibility has allowed Joey and many other business owners to keep serving customers, even during the pandemic.

The pandemic has shown that even small reforms can have a big impact in the food and beverage industry.   For example, states that now allow restaurants and others to sell alcohol on-the-go are helping keep countless businesses afloat.  Adopting this reform and others will save thousands more jobs, as every dollar earned contributes to employee retention.

The Institute for Justice is ready to help you find ways in your state to boost the food and beverage industry’s ability to survive today’s circumstances.

Selling alcohol has always been a great source of revenue for many small businesses in the food and beverage industry, including restaurants, bars, wineries, breweries, and sports venues.  Allowing carry-out of wine, beer, and cocktails is a commonsense solution to help these businesses that is already succeeding in some states, like Texas and New York.  States that have not already made this change should do so, and states that made this change through executive order should make this change permanent.

Small breweries, wineries, and beer pubs are central to many local economies and communities.  Some have even become heroes during the pandemic, like Trademark Brewing in Long Beach, Calif., which made hand sanitizer when they had to temporarily close during the lockdown.  But these small businesses are struggling to survive—with some being forced to destroy their product and many others closing for good.  The solution is to eliminate alcohol laws that have nothing to do with health and safety and exist only to protect certain entrenched, larger businesses from competition.

Examples include:

  • Remove container-size restrictions and other arbitrary sales restrictions that prevent small alcohol businesses from selling existing inventory.
  • Eliminate laws that require small breweries to serve food onsite.
  • Ease production limits on small-scale breweries so that they can grow their businesses and realize their potential.
  • Allow to-go alcohol sales.