To-Go Beer Order Didn't Go Far Enough - NH Reps - Granite Grok

To-Go Beer Order Didn’t Go Far Enough – NH Reps

A bipartisan group of 12 representatives have asked Governor Sununu to go further with his Emergency Order aimed to help restaurants and bars weather the COVID-19 health emergency.

In a statement released today the legislators ask that bars, restaurants, and breweries be allowed to fill growlers for take-out service or for delivery, regardless of brand labeling. Currently, breweries are prohibited from filling Growlers that are “off-label.” Bars & Restaurants that do not brew beer may not fill growlers at all.

Related: Beer & Wine To-Go Emergency Order

By allowing bars, restaurants, and breweries to fill growlers, regardless of labeling, the risk of losing inventory in the form of kegs and draught beer will be minimized and help small businesses survive the health emergency.

External: Emergency Order #6 Permitting To-Go & Delivery Beer and Wine

Governor Sununu’s Office can be reached at 271-2121, or at

Press release:

Saturday March 21st, 2020
For Immediate Release:
Contact: Rep. Andrew Prout
(603) 265-0771

Gov. Sununu’s order to close on-site dining and bars and restaurants is the correct decision during the ongoing state of emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although restaurants can serve food to go, New Hampshire is not allowing “takeout” alcohol sales, except in original manufacturer packaging, like New York and some other states affected by the outbreak. This decision runs the risk of forcing large amounts of beer and cider that was on tap at bars and restaurants to spoil.

A bipartisan group of New Hampshire state representatives are now asking Gov. Sununu to immediately allow New Hampshire bars and restaurants to fill growlers of beer or cider to go, regardless of brand labeling on the growler. We ask that this be allowed for the duration of the emergency. We commit to filing, if needed, a bill providing retroactive immunity and forgiveness for any business that does.

“When the legislature is back in session, this will be filed right away,” says Rep. Andrew Prout (R-Hudson), “I’m not yet sure if that’ll be a late introduction into the current term, if there will be a special session called later this year, or if it will need to wait until 2021, but it will get done.”

“Other alcohol to go options require careful thought,” says Rep. Michael Sylvia (R-Belmont), “it’s not clear how they would interact with our open container laws. However, growlers to go already exist for our thriving brewery industry, it’s a no-brainer to allow bars and restaurants to fill any growler with any brewery’s label during this emergency.”

New Hampshire has a thriving craft alcohol industry that employs thousands of people. These businesses rely on busy bars and restaurants to sell their products. The COVID-19 outbreak has effectively brought the industry to a halt.

“Jobs, businesses and livelihoods are on the line,” Rep. Casey Conley (D-Dover) said in a statement. “This is an admittedly small step, but one we hope will help these small businesses weather the crisis.”

The longer the emergency lasts, the higher the risk that craft beer and cider already produced could spoil, further harming businesses from restaurants and bars to distributors to producers. Growler sales also could prop up restaurants and bars responding to an unprecedented decline in business.

“There’s no excuse for letting perishable goods spoil,” says Rep. Timothy Lang (R-Sanbornton), “we need to support our local businesses selling everything that might go bad on a take-out basis.”

Rep. Andrew Prout (R-Hudson)
Rep. Casey Conley (D-Dover)
Rep. Timothy Lang (R-Sanbornton)
Rep. Mark Warden (R-Manchester)
Rep. Tony Lekas (R-Hudson)
Rep. Timothy Josephson (D-Canaan)
Rep. Alicia Lekas (R-Hudson)
Rep. Tim Merlino (R-New Ipswich)
Rep. Michael Sylvia (R-Belmont)
Rep. Jess Edwards (R-Auburn)
Rep. John Burt (R-Goffstown)
Rep. Jason Osborne (R-Auburn)