Lawmakers approved a number of changes to Nebraska’s alcohol laws on May 20.
LB274, introduced by Sen. John Lowe of Kearney, creates a new special license designated for the Promotional Farmers Market. Under the bill, agricultural wineries, craft breweries and micro-distilleries that are currently licensed to make alcoholic beverages can apply for the SDL, which allows sales at any farmers market for one year, subject to local approval.
Previously, these entities were required to apply for an SDL for each event in which they sold alcohol.
LB274 also increases the maximum number of gallons that a Nebraska microdistillery can produce annually from 10,000 to 100,000.
The bill includes provisions from LB578, introduced by Senator Omaha Tony Vargas, which allows ready-to-drink cocktails as a new category of alcoholic beverages – defined as spirits in an original container containing up to 12.5 per percent alcohol – and sets the excise tax at 95 cents per gallon.
Also included are the provisions of LB72, sponsored by Senator Suzanne Geist of Lincoln, which allow the holder of a Class C, I or Y liquor license to sell alcohol not in the original packaging – such as a mixed drink, cocktail or slushy wine – for off-premises consumption.
The holder of a Class B, C, D, L, Y or Z retail liquor license may sell alcohol to a person 21 years of age or over who is in a motor vehicle if the alcohol is sold with food. Alcohol should be placed in the trunk of the vehicle or in an area behind the last right seat.
Senators passed LB274 on a 45-0 vote. It takes effect immediately.