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Alcohol delivery bills pass the House

By CAROLINE BECK, Alabama Daily News

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Bills that would allow the home delivery of beer, wine and liquor passed the House of Representatives Thursday.

Senate Bill 126 from Sen. Jabo Waggoner, R-Vestavia Hills, would allow customers to have alcoholic products home delivered from grocery or liquor stores and restaurants. It also sets up a delivery license process, fees and rules for alcohol delivery.

Discussion on the bill was mostly supportive, with some representatives saying they hoped the measure would cut down on drunk driving in the state.

“If they can call and have it delivered, they will stay home,” said Rep. Allen Farley, R-McCalla. “That’s my hope.”

Birmingham-based grocery delivery company Shipt supported the legislation saying it meets an existing demand.

“We’ve heard consistently from customers across Alabama how much they value getting groceries and household essentials they need delivered by Shipt – but that they’d like the option of having alcohol along with the rest of their order,” Shipt spokesperson Evangeline George said in a statement. “This legislation brings that convenience one step closer.”

The bill limits the amount of beer that could be delivered per customer per day to the equivalent of 120 12-ounces of beer, 12 750-mL bottles of wine or 9,000 mL of liquor. Restaurants would be allowed to sell 375 mL for patrons.

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.

Those seeking an alcohol delivery license would have to pay a $100 application fee and a license fee of $250. An amendment was added ensuring that brewpubs and distilleries could also have their products delivered.

The bill passed with a final vote of 79-12 and now goes back to the Senate for concurrence.

A separate bill allowing customers to have wine shipped directly from wineries to their homes also passed the House of Representatives. House Bill 437 from Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, would allow up to 12 cases of wine to be shipped to a person’s home in the course of a year.

The bill also sets up a licensing process to regulate shippers. A company looking for a license would have to pay a $200 application fee and a $100 annual license fee.

Unlike the grocery delivery bill, Collins said her bill would allow wine to be shipped to homes in dry counties or municipalities.

“I think the Legislature and the people of Alabama are ready for this service,” Collins said.  “I’ve worked hard on this issue for years and I believe we are close to getting it done.”

House Speaker Mac McCutcheon, R-Monrovia, said he saw both bills as important economic bills especially since restaurants and businesses were impacted financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think it’s gonna be a huge step forward to help our economy and get some of these places back open at least get some revenue flowing back,” McCutcheon said.

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