In Maricopa County, the legal landscape surrounding the sale of alcoholic beverages has recently shifted. Judge Pamela Gates has ruled that restaurants, which usually have licenses to sell Series 12 alcoholic beverages, can no longer offer take-away alcohol. On the other hand, bars with Series 6 or 7 licenses are still allowed to sell take-away bottles as they always have. The ruling is considered a major victory for the bar industry. A group of bar owners had sued Governor Ducey over his executive order requiring bars to close during the pandemic.
These new rules allowed both bars and restaurants to sell take-out cocktails in plastic containers and glass jars. Arizona State University law professor and attorney Ilan Wurman represents bar owners in the lawsuit against Ducey. The sale of alcohol outside the premises is only a small part of the lawsuit that bars filed against Ducey, and the effort to reopen bars that are still closed is still ongoing, according to Wurman. A Maricopa County Superior Court judge ruled in November that restaurants may no longer be able to sell take-out cocktails. The ruling stated that restaurants pay less than a few thousand dollars in licensing costs; while its customers, bars and bottle stores, pay more than six figures in licensing costs for the exclusive right to offer takeaway beverages. In addition, Administrative Regulations prohibit the use of District funds to purchase alcoholic beverages or related services, except in small quantities for use in the kitchen of District culinary programs.