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House passes bill to allow home delivery of alcohol

The bill would allow Alabama residents to legally have beer, wine and liquor delivered to their front door.

Wine ready for delivery

The Alabama House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill allowing businesses to purchase a license from the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to deliver beer, wine or hard liquor to Alabama residents. Senate Bill 126 is sponsored by state Sen. Jabo Waggoner, R-Vestavia. The bill was carried on the floor of the Alabama House by Rep. Gil Isbell, R-Gadsden.

Isbell asked that the body table the committee amendment and introduced his own floor amendment. Both motions passed. Isbell explained that the floor amendment would allow brewpubs and distilleries that are authorized to serve on-site to make home deliveries. They would be limited to the amount of alcohol that they are authorized to sell on site.

“Craft brew makers and distillers have become a major workforce in the state,” Isbell said. “This covers beer, wine and spirits.”

The ABC Board will license companies to deliver within the state of Alabama. Businesses would be limited to no more than 75 miles from the business, and they cannot cross state lines, Isbell said. Deliveries would be limited to up to five cases of beer and up to 12 bottles of wine.

“It will be interesting to see if there is an increase in the consumption of alcohol,” Isbell said.

Applicants will have to pay $100 to apply for a license and $200 a year to maintain the alcohol delivery license, according to Isbell. He added that drivers will be trained not to deliver to underage or intoxicated people. He also said that the customer must provide a copy of their driver’s license to the driver, who will then scan it. The company will keep a copy for their records. Some representatives expressed concerns about privacy risks.

Rep. Brett Easterbrook, R-Fruitdale, asked: “I live in a dry county. Will they deliver to my home?”

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“There will be no deliveries to a dry county,” Isbell responded. “The driver may drive through a dry county.”

Some members opposed the legislation, arguing that it will encourage alcoholism.

Rep. Reed Ingram, R-Montgomery, said: “I don’t want to do anything that will create even one more alcoholic in this state.”

Isbell suggested that the bill would decrease the number of accidents because alcohol drinkers would be able to have their local delivery service send them their alcohol rather than them having to drive to the liquor store.

The legislation passed the Alabama House of Representatives 79 to 12. The bill has already passed the Senate, but because it has been amended, SB126 will go back to the Senate for them to concur or to a conference committee if the Senate does not concur.

A Shipt spokesperson released a statement thanking the Legislature for their work on this issue:

“We appreciate both the Alabama House and Senate for supporting a clear set of rules that will help ensure safe alcohol deliveries to homes throughout the state. 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. This legislation brings that convenience one step closer.”

The House also passed a bill from Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, which would allow wine to be shipped both across state lines and from wineries in Alabama. Collins said this “is not the same” bill as SB126. Collins told Easterbrook that under her bill, even residents in a dry county could get shipments of wine. The bill establishes wine delivery franchises in the state. The House passed a substitute version of HB437 on an 83 to 7 vote. HB437 now goes on to the Senate for its consideration.

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Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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