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August 30, 2022

New Jersey bars, restaurants can soon deliver alcohol through third-party services

A permit will be available beginning Oct. 1 and will cost $2,000 per year

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New Jersey cocktail delivery Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

New Jersey will allow alcohol deliveries through third-party services starting Oct. 1. Bars, restaurants and liquor stores can enter agreements with companies, such as Door Dash, Uber Eats, and Instacart, to deliver products – including to-go cocktails.

Craving that tequila sunrise from your favorite bar but your couch is too comfortable and your favorite TV show just came on? You'll soon be able to have it delivered to your doorstep in New Jersey.

Last week, the state's Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin issued a special ruling to allow third-party delivery services – such as Door Dash, Uber Eats, or Instacart – the ability to deliver alcohol. The ruling includes to-go beverages from restaurants and will begin Oct. 1. 

According to the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, this is a forward-thinking initiative to keep up with consumers who use technology to order goods and services for delivery rather than going to stores. 

"Opening the door to allow for third-party services to deliver alcoholic beverages to New Jersey residents will allow our local businesses to adapt to the ever-changing world of technology and e-commerce," New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said.

Restaurants, bars and liquor stores will be able to enter agreements with the delivery services to distribute products. Only licensed ABC retailers were allowed to transport and deliver alcohol before.

Platkin said the demand for delivery services increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in the early months when the country was shut down. Many restaurants had relied on third-party delivery services to keep their businesses running. He added that this is a chance for the state's commerce to grow without jeopardizing public safety.

To be permitted to serve alcohol for delivery, there is a collaborative application process through the New Jersey Licensed Beverage Association and the New Jersey Liquor Store Alliance.

In order to qualify for the Third-Pary Delivery Permit, which costs $2,000 annually, an applicant must pass a background check that includes criminal history and driving record. They also must go through alcohol compliance training and a certification process. 

Permitted parties must be able to verify the legal age of customers receiving alcoholic drinks and will need to confirm that they are not intoxicated, which may result in refusal of delivery when appropriate.

Restaurants, bars, and liquor stores that want to participate must have retail licenses authorizing the ability to sell alcohol that can be consumed away from the business. 

Under the ruling, delivery drivers are not allowed to leave alcohol unattended, institute an alcohol order away from the app, or deliver to any college campus. Any violation will result in the loss of the permit. 

The application for the Third-Party Delivery Permit will be available through ABC's licensing system beginning Oct. 1.

"We've worked diligently to craft a permit that serves as an economic stimulus for the industry while maintaining the integrity of New Jersey's robust liquor laws," said ABC Director James B. Graziano. "Third-Party Delivery Permit includes appropriate safeguards to ensure orderly, controlled, verifiable and accountable deliveries of alcoholic beverages."

New Jersey will become the 18th state or territory to permanently enact cocktails-to-go legislation

In Pennsylvania, the temporary order which allowed mixed drinks to be sold in take-home containers expired and a resolution making it permanent fell apart. Gov. Tom Wolf has said he would sign a bill authorizing certain alcoholic drinks to be served to-go.

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