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Georgia Governor Signs a Bill Allowing Grocery Stores and Restaurants to Deliver Booze

It could be months before restaurants, package stores, and grocery stores can begin home delivery of beer, wine, and liquor

Bottles of wine on a shelf in a shop. Flickr/kendra b harris
Beth McKibben is the editor and staff reporter for Eater Atlanta and has been covering food and cocktails locally and regionally for 12 years.

Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill on Monday allowing home delivery of beer, wine, and liquor in Georgia. HB879, which has been in the works since before the pandemic, permits beer, wine, and liquor to be delivered directly to people’s homes from restaurants, bars, convenience stores, some package and retail stores, and grocery stores. However, the new legislation excludes the state’s breweries and distilleries.

It could be months before businesses across the state can actually begin home deliveries. According to the AJC, the Department of Revenue still needs to draw up the regulations and measures needed for businesses to comply with the law.

As for how home delivery works on the consumer end, HB879 requires alcohol deliveries be accepted in person and only by someone 21 years or older and with proper ID. The law also leaves the decision to allow alcohol delivery from certain businesses up to local municipalities, much like the decisions to permit Sunday alcohol sales and restaurants and bars to begin serving booze on Sundays at 11 a.m.

Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms continues to extend a citywide order temporarily allowing restaurants to sell unopened beer and wine to-go for off-premise consumption during the pandemic. The order does not include open containers or cocktails. By permitting Georgia restaurants to deliver beer, wine, and liquor with takeout food, this new law could provide another source of much-needed revenue.

Without a recovery plan specifically aimed at aiding small, independent restaurants and bars, these businesses are expected to struggle financially for the foreseeable future amid rent disputes and unrecoverable lost revenue due to dining room shutdowns and state-mandated safety requirements.

Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours chef and owner Deborah VanTrece told Eater in July that the costs of running a pandemic-era dining room are significant. Before reopening her Westside restaurant for dine-in service in June, VanTrece spent $5,000 to professionally sanitize the building and install air filtration systems, and over $3,000 to install Plexiglass dividers between tables. This doesn’t include additional costs for providing masks and hand sanitizer to her staff and to the restaurant’s patrons.

Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours

1133 Huff Road Northwest, , GA 30318 (404) 350-5500 Visit Website