The Arkansas liquor industry will likely be asking the state Legislature to pass a bill permanently allowing the delivery of alcohol, which the state began permitting under emergency rules in March as the coronavirus pandemic began to make its presence felt in Arkansas.
“I think that delivery has been a huge game-changer for consumers in Arkansas,” said John Akins, co-owner of Legacy Wine & Spirits in Little Rock and president of the United Beverage Retailers of Arkansas.
The group doesn’t yet have a legislative sponsor for a delivery bill.
You may recall that package liquor stores saw a big increase in business after the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Division issued new rules March 19 allowing liquor retailers to offer curbside service and delivery.
Liquor sales have leveled off, Akins said, though they remain higher than in previous years. “The rush has subsided,” he said, with the lifting of curfews and lockdowns.
“A large majority of people never stopped shopping in the store,” Akins said, though his business saw a lot more curbside pickup customers than in-store shoppers.
“Delivery was really still only a fraction of our sales, but it gave those people who didn’t want to leave their homes the option to have it brought to their home,” he said.
But there’s another benefit to delivery, Akins noted. “If you’re having an event at your home or anything, a party, it’s a lot better for people to stay home and have more [liquor] brought to them as opposed to them getting back out on the road and trying to go to a store.”