State Senate Committee Approves Bill for Alcohol Delivery

State Senate Committee Approves Bill for Alcohol Delivery
State Sen. Jane English, R-North Little Rock

A state Senate committee on Tuesday approved a bill that would allow liquor stores to deliver alcohol to customers.

The Senate City, County and Local Affairs Committee approved the bill, sponsored by Sen. Jane English, R-North Little Rock, that would permanently allow direct delivery to customers. The state began permitting direct delivery under emergency rules at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March.

"… [W]hat we're hoping to do is to pass the bill so that once the pandemic — if ever — is passed, this will still be a good business model for liquor stores," English told committee members.

The one-page bill would allow a retail liquor permit holder to deliver alcoholic beverages directly to the private residence of a consumer 21 years of age or older. Delivery must take place in a wet county or territorial subdivision during legal operating hours. 

The permit holder would not be allowed to deliver alcohol to an area outside the county in which the permitted store is located. Alcohol must be delivered by an employee of the permit holder and not through a third-party delivery system, according to the bill.

Arkansas Business reported in November that the United Beverage Retailers of Arkansas would seek a permanent law allowing for alcohol delivery.

"I think that delivery has been a huge game-changer for consumers in Arkansas," John Akins, co-owner of Legacy Wine & Spirits in Little Rock and president of the retailers' association, told Arkansas Business last fall.

The bill now heads to the Senate floor.

State Rep. Karilyn Brown, R-Sherwood, and Rep. David Whitaker, D-Fayetteville, are the bill's co-sponsors.

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