Legislature Modernizes Liquor Laws

The Legislature passed the most significant liquor law modernization bill in recent years. H.313 is awaiting Governor Scott’s signature and includes the Vermont Chamber and Vermont Independent Restaurants priority to extend the current pandemic-allowed alcohol to-go provisions until July 2023. While not a cure-all, the off-premises provision as passed will help the industry recoup some lost revenue and provide a service that customers have come to expect. According to a National Restaurant Association survey in 2019, 56% of all adults said they would order drinks with their to-go order from a restaurant, if permitted. Without a doubt, the pandemic has accelerated this trend. By January 2023, a report examining economic and public safety impacts will be submitted to the Legislature.

Other provisions impacting Vermont’s tourism and hospitality industry that made it over the finish line include reduced third-class license fees (from $1,095 to $230) for holders of a manufacturer or rectifier’s license, updates to festival permits which were made in collaboration with the industry, and the elimination of the requirement for 48-hours written notice to be given to the Division of Liquor Control for promotional tastings for licensees and for staff participating in the promotional tasting to be off duty for the rest of the day. Contact Vermont Chamber Vice President of Tourism Amy Spear with questions.