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Wine, beer home delivery bills coming this session

By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News

A state lawmaker is proposing home delivery of beer and wine in a bill pre-filed for the 2021 legislative session.

“You’ve got a number of companies and businesses that deliver groceries,” Rep. Gil Isbell, R-Gadsden, told Alabama Daily News. “This would include beer and wine.”

Isbell said there are still ongoing discussions with several groups, including the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, about House Bill 101 and changes could be made.

Isbell sponsored the bill in the 2020 session and HB101 is a version that received committee approval.

Isbell said COVID-19 and the restrictions on gathering outside the home has changed some outlooks on alcohol purchasing in the state.

“The way I look at it, if the citizens want it then that’s what we need,” Isbell said. “Under this COVID situation, I think ABC has looked at it things a lot differently.”

Earlier this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ABC Board allowed restaurants and bars to sell alcohol to-go.

“The ABC Board has been working with several legislators, as well as the joint study committee headed by Sen. Jabo Waggoner, to develop an acceptable and safe home delivery bill,” said Dean Argo, government relations manager for the ABC Board. “Rep. Isbell’s legislation is a good starting point for discussions. We look forward to working with him and others to craft a bill that authorizes and ensures the responsible and convenient delivery of alcohol to the home.”

The bill requires a $1,000 annual delivery licensing fee and includes a limit — 48 12-ounce beers and six 750 milliliter bottles of wine — in a 24-hour period.

“It’s about the convenience, we’re in a busy world,” Isbell said. “If you’re married, you’re both working and you got children, you’re calling in orders to the grocery store to have it delivered.”

The bill requires an agreement from the retailer and delivery service and training for those delivering.

Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, has tried for several years to pass a bill allowing for direct shipment of wine from producers or retailers to Alabamians’ homes. She said she’d sponsor the bill again in the session that starts Feb. 2.

“The only bill I continuously hear about from people all over the state is the direct shipment bill,” Collins said recently.

She said Alabama is one of only a handful of states that doesn’t allow wine delivery at home.

“If you travel, you should be able to ship it home,” she said. “Or if you have a favorite, you should be able to order it.”

In 2019, Waggoner, R-Vestavia Hills, created a task force “to determine whether the direct shipment of wine would benefit the state as a whole, while protecting current businesses and ensuring that alcohol is delivered in a responsible manner.”

Waggoner this month said the group will have legislation in the upcoming session.

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