New Liquor Laws in NJ Brings Cocktails to Your Doorstep
The Division of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) issued a special ruling Friday, Aug. 26, 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 demand for delivery services exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Third-Party Delivery Permit expands that market in New Jersey and allows retail licensees to tap into it,” said Acting Attorney General Platkin. “This new permit strikes a balance that has been the hallmark of the Murphy Administration to continue innovation and growth in business but without sacrificing or jeopardizing public safety. This is also a boon for consumers who have grown accustomed to using smartphone delivery apps to order everything from groceries to gourmet meals.”
Currently, Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) regulations only permit licensed retailers and transporters to deliver alcoholic beverages in New Jersey.
This new special ruling, the Third-Party Delivery Permit which carries an annual cost of $2,000, updates previous regulations to allow independent contractors to use their personal vehicles (without transportation insignia) to deliver alcoholic beverages to customers’ homes on behalf of New Jersey retail licenses and charge a fixed fee for their delivery services.
In order to qualify for a Third-Party Permit, an applicant must submit a method of operation as part of the application process that describes in detail the applicant's operating procedures, 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 the 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 Third-Party Delivery Permittee will be required to have formal agreements with retail licenses and delivery workers before any deliveries are made.
Only restaurants, bars, and liquor stores – which operate under retail licenses that have statutory privileges to sell and deliver alcoholic beverages – have the option of using a Third-Party delivery service.
Currently, businesses operating under manufacturing licenses – such as craft breweries and distilleries – do not have statutory delivery privileges and therefore cannot utilize these new third-party delivery services.
Under the new special ruling, a Third-Party Delivery Permittee will be responsible for ensuring that its delivery workers comply with its approved method of operation and the permit’s conditions and restrictions.
These include the following prohibitions:
- leaving alcoholic beverages unattended or storing alcoholic beverages overnight;
- subcontracting a delivery of alcoholic beverages;
- delivering alcoholic beverages to customers who are actually or apparently intoxicated or under the legal age to purchase or consume alcohol; and
- delivering alcoholic beverages to the campus of any college or university.
Violations of any of the above rules could result in suspension or revocation of the Third-Party Delivery Permit.
The application for a Third-Party Delivery Permit will be available exclusively on the Division of Alcohol Beverage Control’s licensing system (POSSE) beginning October 1, 2022.