Alcohol delivery legal July 1, but not likely locally

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, June 30, 2021

The delivery of alcoholic beverages, light wine, light spirits and beer will be legal in the Magnolia State beginning July 1, but local liquor stores don’t plan to deliver it themselves.

Throughout the lockdowns of the coronavirus pandemic nationwide, the demand for alcohol delivery service skyrocketed. Mississippians, however, were not able to take advantage of such a service due to laws that banned such deliveries.

Gov. Tate Reeves signed HB 1135 legalizing alcohol delivery on April 14.

Alcohol delivery will become legal Thursday, with restrictions and regulations. Deliveries can only be made within 30 miles of the store selling the alcohol, deliveries cannot be made in dry counties or municipalities, and delivery drivers must be at least age 21.

A representative from Newman’s Package Store in Brookhaven said the law was not worded clearly enough for the company to want to make its own deliveries.

Bob Hamm, owner of Brookway Wine & Spirits in Brookhaven, said his business will also not be making deliveries on their own.

“It’s too complicated and there’s too much liability,” Hamm said. “If there are delivery services that are going to be delivering, we will be happy to sell to them.”

A representative from WAITR food delivery service said the company would deliver alcoholic beverages, but only if offered through restaurants, not from liquor stores or other retail stores.

“We will from restaurants,” said Jenny E of WAITR, “but the customer would have to order a food item, as well.”

Licensed alcohol retailers may deliver alcohol once they obtain a delivery service permit. Permits are $500 and must be acquired through the Mississippi Department of Revenue. Retailers may also contract with independent delivery services that have a proper permit.

To prevent abuse of alcohol delivery services, retailers must “obtain from the customer a confirmation that he or she is at least twenty-one (21) years of age at the time the order is placed.” Age must be verified again upon delivery with a valid photo ID and delivery drivers must utilize “identification scanning software technology or a state-of-the-art alternative at the point of delivery,” as specified in HB 1135.

Delivery service permit applications will be available beginning July 1, after which alcohol delivery services will be available for the first time across Mississippi.