TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – To-go drinks that have become popular during the pandemic could be sticking around well after it.
The Brew Bank in Downtown Topeka opened in September 2019, then the pandemic hit, and business suffered. The owners say to-go alcohol has helped keep it afloat.
“That keeps them safe, and it keeps our business rolling, and it’s just a win-win for everybody, said Brew Bank co-owner Ryan Cavanaugh.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the governor issued an executive order to allow curbside liquor. The legislature extended it through this March. On Tuesday, the House overwhelmingly passed a bill that would make it permanent.
“I think it’s going to be something that will be a permanent benefit for our restaurants, there will always be a group of individuals that will want to take takeout, and it just makes sense that their takeout should be accompanied by the beverage of their choice, and I think it’s been hugely popular,” said Augusta Representative Kristey Williams, who proposed the change on Monday.
Cavanaugh said as to-go food orders have grown, so have alcohol sales.
“People will get a charcuterie board, a pizza, a growler of beer, and a cocktail to go, or wine to go. So you can always tell when they come to pick it up, they’re going to have a party of some kind,” he said.
Cavanaugh said the Topeka community has supported the change.
“We have a strawberry beer that comes from Belgium, it’s like 90 dollars for a growler, but people, they don’t care, they line up for it, and then we’ve also sent home growlers of Budweiser,” he said.
The proposal, that is a part of a larger alcohol beverage bill, will need Senate approval. Supporters hope it passes as we get to a time where we are adjusting to life after a pandemic.
“It’s exciting, especially in the unknown coming summer, who knows where we’ll be or what we’re going to be able to do, but I hope that stays because it’s a huge impact for us,” Cavanaugh said.
Williams said the possible change will help out businesses.
“Allowed the convenience, maintain the safety, and allow the restaurants to increase their sales,” she said.