Bob WongHandout

Beer, wine and mixed drinks to take away: a win, a win, a win! While many restaurant owners are certainly trying to put the past year in the rearview mirror, there is one development that was introduced during the pandemic that we should continue to do.

Last year, Governor Charlie Baker signed laws allowing alcohol-licensed restaurants to sell take-away and grocery-delivery beer, wine, and mixed drinks during the pandemic. The following year, customers fell in love with the convenience of receiving a restaurant-quality drink with their grocery orders and this has given our beleaguered hotel industry a much-needed boost in sales. Our first drink sold last year was our specialty Kowloon Mai Tai!

Most people are not going to buy gin, vodka, or tequila from us because customers know where to buy these products. However, a professionally made margarita or martini specialty is a whole different story. The guests want the unique cocktail that only we can offer and that is constantly ordered.

When diners order take-away, the average sales order drops as they’re less likely to add a starter, dessert, or fancy cocktail. However, once the ability to include take-away beer, wine, and mixed drinks was added, some of that average spend increased. Restaurants across Massachusetts have invested in labels with their logos and bespoke beverage bottles. At Kowloon, people love our Mai Tai packaging just as much as our Spareribinade or the Saugus Wing special sauce.

Our guests love our bartenders, and even if they don’t make it to the restaurant, they still get the professional bartending experience. Adding a margarita to your take away order is extremely easy and popular.

Expanding the ability to offer beer, wine, and mixed drinks to take away would increase restaurant sales, helping local governments generate more tax revenue for meals, and giving diners the benefit of enjoying their favorite restaurant cocktail at home.

There aren’t many things about this pandemic that people want to see. But beer, wine, and mixed drinks to take away are certainly one of them. It’s a rare win, win, win!

NO

Kelly Buttiglieri

Public Policy Manager, Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts, Westborough; Stow away residents

Kelly ButtiglieriHandout

In February 1992 when I was a young law student, the car I was driving was hit head-on by a drunk driver while I was driving to my afternoon class at Suffolk Law School. In a split second, my life was permanently changed. I suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and still live with the consequences of this driver’s actions.

I spent almost three months in the hospital, followed by two years of intensive outpatient rehabilitation, including speech, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. I have epilepsy because of my brain injury. Despite having surgery to control my seizures, I will need seizure medication for the rest of my life.

Despite these challenges, with determination and the support of my speech therapist, I returned to law school – one class at a time – and was able to pass and pass the bar exam. Today I dedicate my professional life to public order efforts on behalf of people with TBI.

In the early days of the pandemic, Commonwealth residents were advised to stay home. One of the effects has been a dramatic reduction in the number of drivers on our roads. The then well-intentioned and temporary measures by which restaurants were authorized to sell beer, wine and cocktails with take-away orders were intended to enable restaurants that were forced to close an economic lifeline to recoup costs and retain jobs. Due to the huge reduction in road traffic, the potential unintended consequences of an increase in the number of disabled drivers have been lessened.

With more than three million Massachusetts residents fully vaccinated, it was encouraging to see customers returning to local facilities to enjoy their favorite foods and drinks. And just in time for Memorial Day weekend, Governor Baker announced that he would end all remaining pandemic restrictions by May 29th.

As a result, the temporary measures that allow restaurants and bars to sell alcoholic beverages with takeaway orders are no longer necessary and, in view of the renewed congestion of the roads, may actually lead to increased driving incidents under the influence of roads and bars. Let’s go back to the previous rules and protect our streets.

As communicated to Globe correspondent John Laidler. To suggest a topic, please contact layler@globe.com.

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