New Jersey Liquor Board Readies Permits for Home Delivery of Alcoholic Drinks

September 23, 2022

New Jersey recently announced a permitting process that allows third-party delivery services like DoorDash, Instacart, and Amazon Flex to deliver alcoholic beverages – including cocktails “to go” – from restaurants, bars, and liquor stores to customers’ doorsteps.

The permit, authorized by the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), allows delivery services to enter formal agreements with restaurants, bars, and liquor stores to make deliveries on their behalf.

Currently, ABC regulations permit only licensed retailers and transporters to deliver alcoholic beverages in New Jersey. The new third-party delivery permit, which carries an annual cost of $2,000, updates those procedures by allowing independent contractors using their personal vehicles, without transit insignia, to deliver alcoholic beverages to residences and charge a fixed fee for their delivery services.

The permitting process was developed through collaboration with the New Jersey Licensed Beverage Association, New Jersey Liquor Store Alliance, and participants in the third-party delivery sector.

“This is a game changer for New Jersey’s alcoholic beverage industry and a tremendous opportunity for growth,” said ABC Director James B. Graziano.

In order to qualify for a third-party delivery permit, an applicant must submit a method of operation as part of the application process that describes in detail operating protocols, including procedures for:

  • conducting initial and recurring background checks of delivery workers, including criminal history and driving record;
  • providing alcohol-compliance training and certification to delivery workers who are eligible to deliver alcoholic beverages;
  • verifying that receiving customers are of legal age and not visibly intoxicated; and
  • refusing delivery and returning alcoholic beverages to retail licensee when necessary, such as when a customer is underage or intoxicated, refuses to sign for the delivery, or there is there is reason to suspect the customer is accepting delivery on behalf of an underage person.

Additionally, an applicant must submit a sample formal agreement with a retail licensee as well as a sample formal agreement with a delivery worker. A permittee will be required to have formal agreements with retail licensees and delivery workers before any deliveries are made.

Only retail restaurants, bars, and liquor stores have the option of using the services of a third-party permittee in the state. Currently, businesses operating under manufacturing licenses – such as craft breweries and distilleries ­– do not have these delivery privileges.

A permit application will be made available by ABC beginning October 1, 2022.