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W.Va. alcohol law changes provide more options on tap, curbside and carryout

Published: Apr. 12, 2021 at 7:02 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - New alcohol laws in West Virginia are making it easier to buy alcohol in stores and on the go.

“We need more ways to sell to consumers in ways they wanted,” said Jeff McKay, owner of Summit Beer Station. “This will provide the industry momentum for success once we leave the pandemic.”

House Bill 2025, known as an economic development initiative, will allow craft breweries, wineries, and distilleries to compete with out-of-state rivals in direct shipment to customers, no matter where they live.

“ Last year, during COVID the governor lifted some of the restrictions letting bars and restaurants sell alcohol to go in bottles of liquor and cans of beer. Over the past year we hadn’t seen any major problems, so we wanted to make them permanent,” said Delegate Kayla Young (D-Kanawha). “We looked at all the alcohol laws. Most of them hadn’t been updated since the 1930s. We brought them up to speed.”

One option sticking around that was introduced during the pandemic is one for West Virginians to have beer and wine delivered to their homes.

Licensed restaurants and bars could ship beer and wine, as long as they accompany take-out food orders.

Continued delivery or pickup of alcoholic drinks with food orders is also part of the legislation.

“When you order from Uber Eats or Grubb Hubb, you’ll be able to get drinks delivered. Whether you get like a six-pack beer or get a craft cocktail growler or a wine growler, you’ll be able to get those delivered with a food purchase,” Young said. “ It’s going to keep people off the roads from drinking and driving because they’ll be getting things delivered to their house, so it’ll keep people safe.”

Businesses must verify that the purchaser is at least 21 years old and that the person is not intoxicated.

Counties can begin serving alcohol for brunches at 6 a.m. instead of the current 10 a.m.

“Where some people might see it as an alcohol bill, but to me, I see it as an economic freedom bill. This is the freedom for the consumer to purchase how they want, when they want, and for the freedom of the business to have more opportunities to sell to consumers,” McKay said.

The changes will become effective May 10.

“It’s a step in the right direction. It moves West Virginia forward,“ Young said.

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