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What local business owners had to say about delivering alcohol
Downtown Drafts, a craft beer and wine store on the square, plans to begin delivering alcohol to people's homes if House Bill 879 is enacted. - photo by Kelsey Podo

Having alcohol delivered to your front door may become a reality. 

A bill allowing package stores, bars, grocery stores and some restaurants to deliver liquor, wine and beer has passed in the Georgia state House and Senate 

On June 23 the Georgia State Senate approved of House Bill 879, 42 to 9. Two days later, it won final approval in the Georgia House on June 25 with a 114 to 45 vote. The measure is now in the hands of Gov. Brian Kemp. 

If local municipalities don’t agree with the bill, they can opt out of allowing the option. 

For some businesses in Hall County, delivering alcohol isn’t on the table, even if they had the opportunity. 

Emily Wiley, director of purchasing at J&J Foods in Gainesville, said the grocery store doesn’t provide delivery, so bringing alcohol to people’s homes wouldn’t be something the owner would consider. 

Todd Heflin, manager of ChopBlock Food & Spirits on the square, said he would feel uncomfortable taking on the responsibility of delivering alcohol to someone’s home.  

Instead of handing off the liquor, wine or beer to whoever answers the door, the bill requires delivery people to check IDs to see if their customer is at a legal alcohol-purchasing age. 

“I don’t really want to be responsible for making sure someone is 21 or older ... the person I’m handing it to,” Heflin said. “Even if it passes, we would not participate in that.” 

Peggy Haynes, manager of Rabbittown Package Store in East Hall, said the bill seems pointless. 

At a business that keeps a five-person staff, Haynes said her workplace doesn’t have the manpower to offer deliveries. 

“I think it’s kind of dumb,” she said. “I understand for the ones that are homebound, but people are going to come in anyway.” 

When the pandemic hit Georgia, Haynes witnessed a jump in customers. She said Rabbittown Package Store’s sales nearly doubled. Now it’s beginning to go back to normal.  

If Gov. Brian Kemp signs House Bill 879 into law, Georgia liquor stores, bars, grocery stores and some restaurants will be able to delivery wine, beer and liquor to people's homes. - photo by Kelsey Podo

Octavia Ybarra, manager of 129 Package Store off Athens Highway in Gainesville, said her workplace also experienced an increase in sales over the past few months, but she sees the delivery bill as a great means of reeling in more income.  

Ybarra said the package store’s customers would be thrilled at the idea of having alcohol delivered to their homes and would “definitely take advantage” of it. 

“I think it would be a pretty big game changer,” she said. “I don’t think it’s a bad idea. It would help prevent people from drinking and driving.” 

Downtown Drafts on Gainesville’s square also shares the same enthusiasm.  

Aimee Hoecker, co-owner of the beer and wine shop, said as soon as the measure is signed and enacted into law, her business will begin deliveries. Since Downtown Drafts is licensed as a package store, it falls under the bill.  

Hoecker said she thinks her customers would use the service since many of them are receiving their beer and wine via curbside pickup. Because her business already has a Brews Cruiser— a van that brings beer, wine and cider to events on tap— she said delivering alcohol shouldn’t be an issue. 

“A delivery would make it more convenient for them (customers),” she said. “I think it would be another way to serve customers and keep them safe.” 

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Downtown Drafts owner Nick Hoecker opens the sliding door of the new Brews Cruiser van Tuesday, May 7, 2019, in downtown Gainesville. The van travels to events and serves cold beer, wine and cider. - photo by Scott Rogers