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Retailers Expand Sales to Include Delivery Options: Now and in the Future

At least 35 states and territories, including Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico,1 allow for on-demand alcohol delivery. Once thought to be a temporary adjustment within the liquor industry to keep restaurants, bars and stores afloat, several states now seek to make alcohol delivery permanent as the COVID-19 Pandemic rages on.


Alcohol Delivery Uncorked

  • At least two Texas representatives back a bill to make an emergency measure filled in July permanent. The bill would make alcohol delivery permissible among restaurants and third-party delivery companies to provide beer, wine and cocktails for pickup or delivery.2
  • Beginning March 2020, Illinois agreed to allow restaurants and bars to deliver sealed cocktails, beer and wine along with food orders. Adding to the line-up of delivery players, last month, state legislature passed a bill to allow third-parties to deliver spirits and wine from package stores to adult consumers.3
  • Colorado legalized alcohol takeout and delivery at the onset of the pandemic. The service is slated to continue through July 2021, when legislators will be tasked with deciding the future of to-go alcohol in the state.4


The Fine Print

Whether temporary or permanent, alcohol delivery undisputedly creates an additional, and lucrative, revenue stream for retail and consumption outlets adversely affected by the pandemic. Market research firm, IWSR, reports online sales of alcohol in the U.S. are expected to increase by more than 80 percent in 2021. According to IBIS World, there are 375 online sellers of beer, wine and liquor in the U.S. as of 2021, up 13.1 percent from 2020.


Added responsibilities associated with alcohol delivery do not appear to drastically differ from those practiced by popular third-party alcohol delivery outfits, such as Instacart and Total Wine. Each requires delivery recipients to be 21 or older, for the recipient to provide valid proof of age and will not leave alcohol unattended at a recipient’s door. Instacart will also not leave alcohol with a recipient who appears visibly intoxicated. In some cases, with Instacart delivery, when a recipient is underage and/or not present, they are not charged the total alcohol order, but assessed a delivery fee, bottle deposit fee (where they apply) and delivery driver gratuity.


If alcohol delivery is permitted in your state as temporary, or crystalizing into permanence, as a manager or owner of a retail or consumption outlet, you are undoubtedly tasked with ensuring your employees, especially those executing home delivery, follow lawfully established protocols. For assistance with doing so or enacting new practices, and through the use of our tested compliance platform, The BARS Program will help you navigate these changes. Contact The BARS Program at or call 1-877-540-5500.


1  National Association of Convenience Stores; Jan. 25, 2021, Las Vegas C-Stores Can Now Deliver Alcohol

2 Eater Austin; Jan. 12, 2021, To-Go Cocktails Could Become Permanent in Texas Beyond the Pandemic

3 WAND-TV, Central Illinois; Jan. 13, 2021, Illinois Legislature passes bill allowing home delivery of cocktails and alcohol

4 The Denver Post; June 16, 2020, Alcohol takeout, delivery will continue in Colorado for another year

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