It’s game day and the libations at your home tailgate are running dry long before kickoff. Or the guests at your sunset soirée are proving thirstier than anticipated. Or everybody’s showing up to your adult house party.
You can’t just buzz off to buy more liquor, beer, or wine. You probably shouldn’t get behind the wheel to buzz anywhere, anyway. What to do?
Thanks to a new state law, you can order alcohol delivery online the same way you might get groceries or restaurant food. Senate Bill 126, overwhelmingly passed in April 2021, allows delivery of up to a dozen bottles of wine or liquor per customer per day, five cases of bottled beer, or just over two gallons of draft beer.
Alcohol delivery is in its infancy in Alabama, with only a few companies, including Birmingham-based Shipt, currently carrying beer and wine from select retailers. Two new companies, FetchMe in the Auburn-Opelika area and Dippi Delivery in greater Birmingham, deliver liquor, beer, and wine.
With either, choose a store from a list of participating retailers, currently independent package stores, wine shops, brewery tap rooms, and distilleries that sell directly to the public like Dread River in Birmingham (Dippi) and John Emerald Distilling (FetchMe). Select products from what they keep in stock, and pay electronically.
Dippi is seeking a green light from the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to start deliveries from state ABC stores, the main purveyors of liquor here, says Ken Stewart, the company’s chief marketing officer.
Both companies check and scan IDs before delivery. Dippi also requires confirmation when ordering.
“We make sure customers are of a legal age, their ID is not a fake, and that the product is delivered to who purchased it,” Stewart says. “We have to be mindful and considerate in protecting the safety of our customers. If they’re inebriated and it’s apparent, we cannot distribute to them.”
Dippi charges $5.99 plus a service fee, on top of the products’ selling price. For now, it’s delivering only from within a 10-mile radius. It’s developing an app upgrade that will expand the territory, with an additional per-mile charge outside of the 10-mile zone, Stewart says.
Dippi’s territory ranges from the Trussville area to Hoover and Forestdale. Plans call for expanding throughout Alabama by the end of the year, Stewart says.
FetchMeAlcohol is an extension of a five-year old, family-owned online restaurant delivery and marketing company operating in the Auburn-Opelika area. The spinoff works like the restaurant-delivery side.
FetchMe’s package retrievers—Fetchers, the company calls them—will deliver within two hours. Its current fee is $3.99 within a 15-mile delivery radius, which increases incrementally beyond that.
“We’re thrilled to work with FetchMe,” Becky Sharp, owner of the John Emerald Distillery Company in Opelika, says in a news release. “We’ve heard consistently from customers that they are looking for more convenience as they order.”
Like groceries and restaurant delivery, demand for buying alcohol from home reached critical mass during the COVID-19 pandemic. The delivery companies say they provide a safer shopping alternative as the coronavirus threat continues, and can play a role in reducing drunk driving.
“We provide a luxury service,” Dippi’s Stewart says, “with safety in mind.”