INDIANAPOLIS, June 30 – After 39 years, Indiana’s ban on Happy Hour specials comes to an end tomorrow, ushering in a new era for the state’s hospitality industry. House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1086, signed into law by Governor Eric Holcomb in March, takes effect on July 1st, allowing bars and restaurants holding retailer permits to offer discounted drinks for specific timeframes.

This legislative change is expected to stimulate business for bars and restaurants, particularly during off-peak hours. Proponents of the law believe that Happy Hour is a proven strategy to drive traffic and increase sales.

However, HEA 1086 includes specific provisions designed to prevent irresponsible drinking. Establishments can offer discounts for a maximum of four hours per day and 15 hours per week, with no happy hours permitted between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. The law also prohibits all-you-can-drink specials and games that encourage excessive consumption.

Interestingly, the new law also permits bars and restaurants to sell carry-out alcoholic beverages in sealed, non-original containers, potentially paving the way for the sale of growlers and pre-mixed cocktails.

While the return of Happy Hour is largely celebrated, some concerns have been raised about potential increases in drunk driving and alcohol-related incidents. The Indiana State Police have assured the public that they will be closely monitoring the situation and enforcing existing laws against drunk driving.

As Indiana prepares to toast the return of Happy Hour, the emphasis remains on responsible consumption. The Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association encourages establishments to create clear policies and train staff to ensure the safety of patrons. They urge all Hoosiers to drink responsibly and plan for a safe ride home if they choose to partake in Happy Hour festivities.

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