Mystery Baskets and More

The answers to the mysteries of to-go booze compliance, tax credits, and the "Chopped" basket are here.

Dark brown picnic basket with lid and red and white checked napkin on a brown wooden background.
Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of the mystey basket? The "Chopped" showrunner knows! / © mg3 @

Booze to go is here to stay, but there have been some twists, turns, and tweaks along the way. Make sure you’re up to date on compliance with Colorado Restaurant Association (CRA) and Department of Revenue fact sheets. The Food Network is casting new chefs for Chopped, so if you’ve ever thought, “I could do so much more with mackerel milt, Duncan Hines chocolate frosting in a can, and fresh durian,” baby, it’s your time to shine. Plus, ask Congress to re-up the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, the lifeline that was supposed to save independent restaurants and bars (but…er…didn’t). And if you’re hiring—and who isn’t?—see how the Work Opportunity Tax Credit can save you some coin.

The following information comes from the CRA’s June 29 and July 1 newsletters. Sign up to receive the full versions here.

New Alcohol-To-Go Restaurant Fact Sheet: How to Comply With the New Laws

HB21-1027, which passed during the 2021 Legislative Session, permits restaurants to sell alcohol for takeout and delivery through July 1, 2025 and allows for the continued use of communal outdoor dining areas on a permanent basis.

What does this mean for restaurants?

The CRA Government Affairs team has created a fact sheet to help restaurants navigate the new guidance. Find our guide here. There’s more information below, as well, from the state Department of Revenue.

Alcohol-To-Go Liquor Bulletin From the Colorado Department of Revenue

On June 22, 2021, Governor Jared Polis signed House Bill 21-1027 into law, to take effect immediately upon signature. The Colorado Department of Revenue released Bulletin 21-03 to provide clarity around the Division’s interpretation of practice and process for on-premises takeout and delivery, as well as the operation of Communal Outdoor Dining Areas (CODAs).

This bulletin covers the following information:

  • License types eligible for takeout and delivery 
  • Customary parking areas, and designated “pick-up” locations
  • Approved containers 
  • Communal outdoor dining areas
  • Takeout and delivery permit application and fee

Find the bulletin here.

Please reach out to with any questions you may have regarding this bulletin.

Your Chance to Represent Colorado On Food Network’s Chopped is Here!

Chopped is currently casting chefs for the upcoming season, so consider sharing this information with your culinary teams!

Can you create a $10,000 meal out of a mystery basket? Food Network is looking for passionate and dynamic, skilled, creative, competitive professional chefs to compete on new episodes!

View the casting flier here. We would love to see our amazing Colorado talent showcased on a national stage!

To find more information on the show and how to apply, please click here.

Make Your Voice Heard: Ask for More Funding for the RRF

As of June 30, the Small Business Administration (SBA) alerted all Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) applicants that available funding has been distributed and the program is now closed.

Applicants who did not receive funding will have their applications held within the application platform to allow for processing in the order received if additional funds are provided by Congress. The RRF application platform will remain open for the next two weeks to allow applicants to check their status, address payment corrections, or ask questions. The SBA will disable access to the platform on July 14, 2021.  

The closure of the RRF underscores the dire need for Congress to act on the RRF Replenishment Act, which would direct $60 billion in funding to the SBA so it can provide sorely needed recovery dollars for the restaurant industry.  

The replenishment bill will not be brought to the floor for debate unless there is broad bipartisan support. Congress heard our voice when they created the RRF – they need to hear from us again to ensure it receives more funding.

If you care about the RRF and agree that the struggles of the restaurant industry warrant continued federal support, we urge you to weigh in with your representatives in Washington. Add your voice, share your perspective, and together we can move Congress to support our local restaurants.

Work Opportunity Tax Credit Explainer

Our partners at the National Restaurant Association have created a helpful explainer about the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) that we wanted to share with you.

A few key takeaways:

  • WOTC provides up to $2,400 or more per employee for restaurants that hire within target groups, including individuals unemployed for more than 27 weeks, veterans, and summer youth employees
  • Forms must be submitted within 28 days of the new hire’s start date
  • Each state has a WOTC specialist to help employers
  • This is a long-standing federal program with plenty of support and funding

The information included can help you understand the WOTC program, what it can save you in taxes, and how hiring the long-term unemployed (~7 months) will qualify the hire for WOTC support. 

Click here for the explainer.

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