WSWA Issues Guidance for Smart and Responsible Alcohol Delivery Regulation

Jul 06, 2020
“WSWA advocates for local delivery from beverage alcohol licensees, with delivery executed by their employee or a licensed third-party delivery company”

WASHINGTON, D.C., 07/06/2020 – In the wake of an increased need to meet consumer demand for doorstep convenience, states and localities are expanding delivery to different channels. The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America WSWA) offers guidelines to policy makers in order to promote smart and responsible practices.  Today, WSWA issued the following public position statement on delivery:


WSWA advocates for local delivery from beverage alcohol licensees, with delivery executed by their employee or a licensed third-party delivery company. The delivery person must conduct legal drinking age verification and provide beverages in safe, sealed containers with proper labeling.


“Convenience and compliance can and should coexist,” said WSWA CEO and President Michelle Korsmo. “The COVID-19 pandemic created a stay-at-home environment in the U.S. that prompted consumers to minimize public contact and seek “doorstep” convenience for virtually everything, including alcohol. Minimizing contact can create unintended consequences and WSWA is offering guidance to be helpful to the policy makers who want to meet the needs of today’s shifting alcohol marketplace while maintaining the public health and safety standards of the current alcohol supply chain.”


Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, alcohol delivery sales were allowed in 33 states throughout the U.S. by local, off-premise retailers, often in partnership with ecommerce platforms like Drizly. After only one month of sheltering in place, 45 states plus Washington, D.C. expanded alcohol delivery permissions to include on-premise retailers like restaurants. Some states allowed on-premise businesses to offer pre-mixed cocktails in addition to beer, wine and spirits for delivery to consumers and ecommerce platforms like Drizly saw as much as a 400 percent increase in traffic.


As policymakers start to address this issue, WSWA has developed detailed guidance to help state regulators navigate smart and responsible alcohol regulations. Key features of that guidance are offered below:


Smart and responsible delivery regulations provide consumers with convenience from local retailers within their community. This may include language that stipulates deliveries must be made the “same day” product leaves a local retailer or include specific geographic perimeters.


Smart and responsible delivery regulations only allow for delivery by licensed retailers or licensed third-party delivery partners.  Smart regulation should include provisions that ensure licensed retailers can:

  • Verify that the recipient of the delivery is of legal drinking age;
  • Gather the signature of every legal delivery recipient;
  • Consider the totality of the circumstances of the delivery and use reasonable judgement before handing over the product (ex. not complete the delivery if there are minors drinking in the house or the recipient is already intoxicated).


Smart and responsible delivery regulations should provide clear definitions of both alcohol delivery and shipping. WSWA is opposed to the shipment of alcohol across state lines and defines shipping as moving alcohol from an off-premise retail store to a consumer by common carriers such as FedEx, UPS, DHL and GSO. Delivery should be local and licensed.


Regulators interested in learning more about safe and responsible alcohol delivery policy guidelines can contact a member of the WSWA State Affairs Team.



About Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America

WSWA is the national trade association representing the distribution tier of the wine and spirits industry, dedicated to advancing the interests and independence of distributors and brokers of wine and spirits. Founded in 1943, WSWA has more than 380 member companies in 50 states and the District of Columbia, and its members distribute more than 80 percent of all wine and spirits sold at wholesale in the United States. 


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