A Millsboro confectioner who wants to make and sell ice cream and other sweets combined with alcohol is one step closer to her goal.

Kathleen Belfont called it her "Reese's Peanut Butter Cup moment." One night about 18 months ago, she and her husband sat on their couch in Millsboro - she was eating ice cream, he had a glass of wine. That's when the idea struck them to combine the two, giving birth to a line of "adult desserts."

Belfont developed a company called Blotto Gelato, which makes a line of ice cream, sherberts and sorbets combined with alcohol. She hopes to sell the sweets to local restaurants. 

But there's one problem: Under Delaware law, selling such treats is illegal. The state prohibits manufacturers of alcoholic products to function as retailers. Brewpubs, microbreweries and farm wineries are exempt from this law.

State Sen. Ernie Lopez, a Republican who represents the Lewes area, put forth Senate Bill 167 to fix the problem. The bill would allow Belfont and others to sell products containing less than 2 percent of alcohol by weight directly to a retailer or customer.

During debate testimony, Delaware Alcoholic Beverage Controll Commissioner John Cordrey said that two quarts of the ice cream would have the same effect as two glasses of wine.

Overwhelming approval

Lopez's bill was overwhelmingly approved in the Senate Tuesday, along with an amendment that requires the products to be labeled as containing alcohol. The measure now moves to the House for approval.

"As elected officials, one of our main roles is doing everything we can to remove barriers for entrepreneurs and small business owners," Lopez said.