State permits home delivery of…cocktails
TRENTON – Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin Friday announced that the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control will allow home delivery of alcoholic beverages. The ABC issued a special ruling to allow third-party delivery services such as DoorDash, Instacart, and Amazon Flex to deliver alcoholic beverages, including cocktails “to go,” from restaurants, bars, and liquor stores to customers’ doorsteps.
The “Third-Party Delivery Permit” authorized in Special Ruling 2022-15 ushers in a new era of modern technology and e-commerce in New Jersey’s alcoholic beverage industry that benefits businesses and customers, while maintaining safety and preserving the legislative intent of the 89-year-old Alcoholic Beverage Control Act that established the state’s alcohol distribution system, Platkin said in a statement.
The permit allows delivery services to enter formal agreements with restaurants, bars, and liquor stores to make deliveries on their behalf.
“Opening the door to allow for third-party services to deliver alcoholic beverages to New Jersey residents will allow our local businesses to adapt to the everchanging world of technology and e-commerce,” Gov. Phil Murphy said. “Safety is a key element of this ruling; we want to make sure that those involved in delivering and receiving these products are authorized to do so. As we continue with the COVID-19 economic recovery, we must continue to take steps to evolve and adapt to our new normal.”
Platkin said delivery service “exploded” during the pandemic, and that the new permit will “continue innovation and growth in business but without sacrificing or jeopardizing public safety.”
The permit will cost $2,000 a year and allows independent contractors to use their personal vehicles (without transit insignia) to deliver alcoholic beverages to customers’ residences and charge a fixed fee for the service.
“This is a game changer for New Jersey’s alcoholic beverage industry and a tremendous opportunity for growth,” ABC Director James B. Graziano said. “We’ve worked diligently to craft a permit that serves as an economic stimulus for the industry while maintaining the integrity of New Jersey’s robust liquor laws. The Third-Party Delivery Permit includes appropriate safeguards to ensure orderly, controlled, verifiable, and accountable deliveries of alcoholic beverages.”
But safety is key in qualifying for a Third-Party Delivery Permit, which requires criminal history and driving record background checks on delivery workers, mandatory training to verify that receiving customers are of legal age and not visibly intoxicated.
Delivery workers will be required to refuse delivery and returning alcoholic beverages to retail licensee when a customer is underage or intoxicated, refuses to sign for the delivery, or there is there is reason to suspect the customer is accepting delivery on behalf of an underage person.
Only restaurants, bars, and liquor stores that operate under retail licenses that have statutory privileges to sell and deliver alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption have the option of using a third party permittee. Craft breweries and distilleries that do not have statutory delivery privileges cannot participate.
A Third-Party Delivery Permittee will be responsible for ensuring that its delivery workers comply with its approved method of operation and the permit’s conditions and restrictions, including the following prohibitions:
- leaving alcoholic beverages unattended or storing alcoholic beverages overnight;
- subcontracting a delivery of alcoholic beverages;
- delivering alcoholic beverages to customers who are actually or apparently intoxicated or under the legal age to purchase or consume alcohol; and
- delivering alcoholic beverages to the campus of any college or university.
Violations of the requirements contained in the Special Ruling could result in suspension or revocation of the Third-Party Delivery Permit.
Applications will be available on the division’s licensing system (POSSE) beginning Oct. 1.