The delivery of alcoholic beverages, beer, light-wine, and light spirits will soon be legal in Mississippi. On April 14 Governor Tate Reeves signed into law House Bill (HB) 1135 which legalized alcohol delivery. The measure will take effect on July 1.
Following the coronavirus pandemic, the demand for alcohol delivery service skyrocketed nationwide as people waited out lockdowns in their homes. Mississippians suffered due to laws that banned any and all delivery of alcohol.
Effective July 1, alcohol delivery will be legal, but not without restriction and regulation. Deliveries can only be made within 30 miles of the store selling the alcohol. Deliveries cannot be made in dry counties or dry municipalities and delivery drivers must be 21 or older.
Liquor stores in Oxford are already planning to take advantage of this new law and offer delivery, like Kiamie Package Liquor Store on Jackson Ave.
“I feel that Oxford is a great market for delivery. It will allow customers to find the best service, selection, and value without leaving their home,” owner AJ Kiamie said. “We will get our permit and plan to start delivery the second or third week of July.”
Licensed alcohol retailers may deliver alcohol once they are granted a delivery service permit. Alternatively, licensed alcohol retailers may engage in a contract with an independent delivery service that has been granted a delivery service permit. The delivery service permit, which must be acquired through the Department of Revenue, will have a $500 permit fee.
Kiamie Package Liquor Store has opted to hire their own drivers.
“We will start with our own drivers. We are currently working on a digital marketplace that will allow customers to shop our entire store with live updates on inventory,” Kiamie says. “Delivering our own orders should allow our customers to save on fees and markups from 3rd party delivery companies and allow us to keep the level of service to our own standards.”
While Oxford liquor stores prepare to offer their own delivery services, local entrepreneurs are also gearing up to capitalize on this new market.
Colton Miller of local start-up Booze Cruise plans to dive head first into this new venture, partnering with local liquor stores to offer delivery service.
“We’re launching in five different spots,” Miller said. “At first, it probably won’t be to where I need multiple drivers. But if business picks up, then I’ll hire more.”
Miller and Booze Cruise plan to begin operations in Oxford and other locations as soon as possible.
Andy Priddy of Oxford Wine and Spirits explained that it was more cost effective, for both the business and the customer, to form their own delivery service as opposed to partnering with a local one or a third-party company like Doordash.
“The problem with Doordash and stuff like that is we’d have to increase our prices for delivery stuff,” he says. “People might be willing to pay those prices for delivery, but we figured we might as well try it on our own.”
In anticipation of this new business venture, Oxford Wine and Spirits have designed their own app to make their delivery service easily accessible, but expressed uncertainty about the rules. They’re hoping for clearer guidelines when they are able to put in their application for a permit July 1.
“We’ve made an app, our own app, that people can order through and get delivery through,” he said. “But we haven’t gotten a ton of information about it…like the rules. Because we’ll have to check ID somehow and all that stuff.”
To prevent the abuse of alcohol delivery services, retailers must “obtain from the customer a confirmation that he or she is at least twenty-one (21) years of age at the time the order is placed.” Age must be verified again upon delivery with a valid photo-ID and delivery drivers must utilize “identification scanning software technology or a state-of-the-art alternative at the point of delivery,” as specified in HB 1135.
Delivery service permit applications will be available beginning July 1, after which alcohol delivery services will be available for the first time in Oxford and across Mississippi.