SANTA FE — Plenty of new restaurants are embracing the chance to pour New Mexico-made gin and vodka under the state’s reshaped liquor-license system.
But the home delivery of alcoholic drinks hasn’t taken off quite as fast, according to a presentation to legislators.
Andrew Vallejos, director of the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Division, delivered an update to lawmakers this week — about a year after New Mexico overhauled its liquor laws as part of an attempt to help restaurants.
He said he’s seen strong interest in the new liquor license options available to restaurants, which are intended to make it more affordable for them to offer spirits and cocktails, not just beer and wine.
But delivery hasn’t proven as popular. The state has issued 39 delivery permits throughout New Mexico, Vallejos said, often connected to establishments that already deliver pizza.
On the other hand, 77 new restaurants have obtained the newly developed permit that allows for the sale of beer, wine and New Mexico-produced spirits, he said. Some restaurants also have pursued a more expensive permit that allows beer, wine and national “brand name” spirits.
Dozens of established restaurants, meanwhile, have converted their licenses, Vallejos said, to allow for the sale of spirits under one of the new licensing options.
“The restaurant licenses have been wildly successful,” Vallejos said.
The bottom line is that margaritas and other mixed drinks should be available at an increasing number of restaurants.
The liquor legislation, House Bill 255, won bipartisan support in the 2021 legislative session and took effect last summer. It banned the sale of miniature bottles of booze at liquor stores, removed restrictions on Sunday alcohol sales and established the revised licensing system for restaurants.