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In his own words, Matt Davidson and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission might be on a path towards mutually assured destruction.
Davidson is the owner of Pearl District cocktail bar Botanist House. Last week, shortly before Gov. Kate Brown announced new COVID-19 restrictions, including an order for bars statewide to shut down, Davidson made his own announcement. He released a public letter declaring that on the day before Thanksgiving, Botanist will start selling cocktails to-go.
Currently, selling cocktails for offsite consumption is against Oregon law. Davidson is well aware of that—Botanist's plan is intended as an act of civil disobedience.
"My fellow business owners and I have continuously stressed the critical nature of cocktails to-go to our state representatives," reads Davidson's letter. "We made phone calls, we submitted the petitions, and we waited through special session after special session for out opportunity to speak about the benefits of cocktails to-go, but that opportunity never came."
Botanist hopes that the promised protest will prompt Salem to call a special session to make to-go cocktails legal before Thanksgiving. But if that doesn't happen, the stakes are high. Davidson has been in contact with the OLCC, which have made it clear that it intends to enforce the law.
"I probably won't ever have a liquor license again, and neither will my business partner," says Davidson.
WW talked to Davidson about how Botanist's protest could end his career, and why he's doing it anyway.