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Alcohol law goes into effect Oct. 1, but don’t expect deliveries right away

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A new law allowing for the home delivery of beer, wine and spirits goes into effect Oct. 1, but Alabamians will have to wait longer for their favorite beverages at their front doors.

“The law becoming effective Oct. 1 literally means that is the first day we can begin processing applications,” Alcoholic Beverage Control Board spokesman Daniel Dye told Alabama Daily News.

Those applications are from retail licensees, manufacturers and third party businesses who want a delivery service license allowing them to deliver certain amounts of alcohol directly to consumers, Dye explained.

Once an application is received by ABC, it takes time for staff to review and confirm information then issue the license, Dye said. Once approved, it may take time for businesses to finalize their delivery operations.

So, it’s hard to say exactly when home delivery may start and it may vary between services.

A spokesperson for Shipt, the Birmingham-based grocery delivery service that advocated for the law change in the 2021 legislative session, said the company plans to apply for a license as soon as they are available.

Grocery deliverer Instacart now offers same-day pickup of alcohol in partnership with The Fresh Market, Publix and ALDI across the state of Alabama, a spokesperson said. The company will share information on its introduction of alcohol delivery in the coming months.

According to Instacart, alcohol ecommerce is a clear growth driver for retailers, which traditionally see customer basket sizes increase by more than 25 percent on average with the addition of alcohol.

The ABC board last week put some pre-application information on its website.

This is the same process the ABC went through in August when a new law allowing for the home delivery of wine from manufacturers and certain wine clubs went into effect.

“The application process opened up Sunday, Aug. 1,” Dye said. “It was several days until ABC received its first application.”

State Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, sponsored that wine delivery bill for several years before it was approved this year.

Sen. Jabo Waggoner, R-Vestavia Hills, sponsored Senate Bill 126 to allow customers to have alcoholic products home delivered from grocery or liquor stores and restaurants and brewpubs. It also set up a delivery license process, fees and rules for alcohol delivery. Those seeking an alcohol delivery license have to pay a $100 application fee and a license fee of $250.

The bill limits the amount of beer that could be delivered per customer per day to the equivalent of 120 12-ounce beers, 12 standard bottles of wine or 12 standard bottles of liquor. Restaurants would be allowed to sell 375 mL alcoholic drinks, which amounts to 12 ounces, for patrons for home delivery along with meals.

A person 21 and older would have to be present to receive the delivery and orders could not be made in dry counties or municipalities.

Alcohol may only be delivered during hours when it can be sold under general law.

Delivery is prohibited at any residence halls on university or college properties.

Meanwhile, delivery services must report the total amount of beer, wine and alcohol they deliver to customers each year.

Dye said the ABC Board will work with Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and possibly local law enforcement agencies to conduct minor compliance checks to ensure that alcoholic beverages are not being delivered to minors. He said those checks for home delivery will be more complicated than sending an underage teen into a brick-and-mortar store.

“The ABC Board certainly sees the benefits to Alabamians in modernizing the process of purchasing alcohol via technological advancement while vigorously keeping a potentially harmful substance out of the hands of minors,” Dye said.