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Kentucky Lawmakers Consider Whether To Allow Home Delivery Of Alcohol

Rick Howlett

Lawmakers are considering whether to allow the home delivery of alcohol in Kentucky.

A Boston-based alcohol delivery company called Drizly wants to add Kentucky to its list of places where customers can use its app, which sources local stores to deliver beer, liquor and wine. The company is asking the state legislature to consider a bill that would allow it to operate in the state.

Nick Rellas, CEO of Drizly, said the app allows local companies to make money off trade on the internet.

“They’re able to put their prices, their products up. Consumers are able to shop for alcohol on their phone or on the internet and have it delivered just like they do essentially every other area of their life,” Rellas said.

The app connects customers with a local liquor store based on location. It doesn’t work in certain designated areas like dry counties or college campuses who request to be blacked out.

Rellas pitched the app as a tool that allows local retailers to compete better in the free market.

“What you see is that these small businesses are able to compete in ways that the big box stores won’t,” Rellas said.

State law currently prohibits retailers from delivering alcohol or advertising alcohol delivery.

Drizly is available in at least 23 cities across the U.S. and Canada, including New York, Nashville, St. Louis and Indianapolis. The company advertises that if customers are in a city where they operate, the service is able to make deliveries within an hour.

Retailers are in charge of making deliveries while Drizly operates the software, charging a monthly licensing fee. Customers are also charged a $5 delivery fee.

Several lawmakers had concerns about whether underage employees would be allowed to make deliveries or if the premise would violate Kentucky’s alcohol regulatory system.

Sen. Joe Bowen, a Republican from Owensboro, said he was in favor of the measure.

“I think this is one of those concepts that helps and enhances what we should be hands-off on, and that’s letting the laws of the free market prevail,” Bowen said.

Other lawmakers said they would be in favor of the measure if it came along with loosening other restrictions, like allowing wine sales in grocery stores or out-of-state delivery of wine or beer.

“I am certainly in favor of allowing you all to do this, but I would be reluctant to want to see this to move forward without a more inclusive conversation about what we can do in other avenues as well,” said Rep. David Osborne, a Republican from Prospect.

No legislation has been proposed yet to repeal the state’s ban on alcohol delivery.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives. He's covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Texas. He grew up in Lexington.

Email Ryland at
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