Legalese — Liquor Delivery

You may have heard about the new Georgia law that allows for home delivery of alcoholic beverages.  The law, House Bill 879, is fairly lengthy, and convoluted, so I thought I’d break it down here.

One of the first things it does is it allows for municipalities and counties to hold referendums (votes) to change the times where you can drink in restaurants and buy liquor at package stores.  The current law restricts it on Sundays from 12:30 PM to 11:30 PM, but House Bill 879 allows you to have a vote to change it to 11:00 AM until Midnight.  I think of this as the brunch bill. Your city or county can hold a vote to see if the citizens want to allow me to drink a mimosa at Sunday brunch.

Although I generally make it a point not to interject my own opinion into these columns, I feel compelled to do so here.  These laws, called “blue laws,” which restrict alcohol sales on Sundays have never much made sense to me, probably because I am Jewish and my sabbath is not on Sunday.  Also, my sabbath service requires the blessing and drinking of wine.  If your religion forbids the drinking or handling of alcohol on the sabbath, I respect that, and you should not drink or handle alcohol on your sabbath.  Why your religion should forbid me by secular law from drinking or handling alcohol on a day which is not my sabbath seems a violation of the establishment clause in the first amendment, since it forces me to abide by the tenets of your religion.

Regardless, it is the law, and here we are. 

The bill also allows for the delivery of “malt beverages and wine in unbroken packages” (but not distilled spirits – this would mean that you can get beer and wine but not tequila, bourbon, or vodka) delivered for personal use subject to certain restrictions.  You have to have an account with the package store – you can’t just anonymously order. You have to pay for the beer or wine before it leaves the store.  It has to be transported by the liquor store or the third party that removed it from the liquor store – it can’t change hands in the middle.  The delivery person has to be at least 21 and have a valid driver’s license.  The driver has to have had a background check and can’t have had more than three moving violations, a major traffic violation, or a DUI within the past seven years.  They also can’t have committed fraud, a sex offense, or certain other crimes.

There are a lot of other nitpicky rules, too, but the most important one is that the person on the other end accepting delivery has to be at least twenty-one, can’t be visibly intoxicated, has to show valid ID, and has to sign for it. 

You don’t necessarily have to be at home to have beer and wine delivered – there are a few situations where I could imagine you’d want it delivered elsewhere – but there are some places that you can’t have it delivered.  Most of them are fairly obvious.  You can’t have it delivered to a public or private school.  Sorry third grade teachers, I don’t care how bad your day was.  You can’t have it delivered to a prison or jail; you can’t have it delivered to a rehab facility; and you can’t have it delivered to a PO box. 

There are also provisions in the bill about providing samples of alcoholic beverages for consumption at the store for tasting events.  All in all, the bill is 17 pages and 574 lines long, so it is quite lengthy and I have only hit the highlights.  If you want to ready the whole thing you can find it here.   

This article is being offered for informational purposes only. Nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice.

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