Alcohol delivery bill draws controversy over exclusion of breweries, wineries and distilleries

Updated: Feb. 19, 2021 at 11:12 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Home delivery of alcohol is now one step closer thanks to a bill lawmakers are currently debating this legislative session, but not everyone is rejoicing with the possibility.

Some local groups report they were left out of consideration.

Alabama State Senator Jabo Waggoner said the idea for Senate Bill 126 is simply one of convenience, especially during the pandemic.

“People are buying their groceries and having them shipped because of the virus, and I’ve had a lot of calls of people who like to have a glass of wine or drink a beer so why can’t we have that shipped too,” Senator Waggoner questioned. “This allows for direct delivery for an alcoholic beverage by an ABC licensed retailer by a third party delivery service licensee for off premises consumption.”

Senator Waggoner said there will be some restrictions to this bill.

“You cannot deliver to a dry county. If you call a restaurant and you want a bottle of wine, a meal has to be included,” he said.

This bill doesn’t have everyone sold. Jim Perkins with the Alabama Brewers Guild said they support home delivery of alcoholic beverages, but the way the current bill is written excludes wineries, distilleries, and breweries.

Perkins says these businesses need the extra income.

“Businesses have been hurt hard by the shutdown that we have 2020, and the continuing struggles of people getting into establishments in 2021. Anything we can do to make things fair to small businesses is a good thing,” he said.

At Yellowhammer Brewing, General Manager Ethan Couch said they’re frustrated, but hopeful an amendment would make it so they could participate too.

“People have asked for it and this is something that the community wants, and if passed with the amendment it will be a neat thing to survive the pandemic,” Couch said.

This bill is expected to go before a committee for review.

Our crews also spoke to Alabama State Representative Mike Ball who said some lawmakers are currently working on an amendment to include breweries, wineries, and distilleries in this bill.

They hope to talk about this next week, stick with WAFF for updates both online and on-air.

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