Maine joins more than a dozen states allowing bar patrons to buy to-go cocktails.
In this Jan. 22, 2021, file photo, a man reaches for a beer outside his heated outdoor bubble at Rising Tide brewery in Portland. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Maine’s pandemic rule allowing to-go cocktails is going to be sticking around.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills signed into law a bill Monday evening to make booze-to-go from restaurants and bars permanent, joining more than a dozen states that allow carry-out mixed drinks.

To-go cocktails gained popularity nationwide during the pandemic when restaurants and bars were shut down. Maine’s new law requires those drinks to be labeled and placed in the trunk or non-passenger compartments of a vehicle.

An executive order issued by Mills in 2020 permitted restaurants to sell and deliver beverages if accompanied by a food order, while distilleries could sell liquor without food. Last year, a law extended to-go drinks, including delivery and take-out. The law is now permanent.

All told, 19 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws to permanently allow cocktails to-go and 14 others have enacted temporary laws since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.