Cheers! Online Booze Delivery Services Can Now Operate in the District
Remain in your La-Z-Boys, D.C. Online-based booze delivery is now legal in the District.
The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board announced that it has issued new guidelines that allow websites and apps to provide alcohol services in the city.
The legality of such services came into question after Ultra–a website that partners with local liquor stores to deliver alcohol in less than an hour—launched in the District in May. About a month later, ABRA issued Ultra a cease and desist order because it didn't have a license to sell alcohol. The service immediately shut down and Ultra appealed the board's decision.
ABRA's new guidelines say businesses like Ultra can exist as long as they limit their operations to connecting consumers to District retailers like liquor and grocery stores. These companies are restricted from selling and shipping orders for alcoholic beverages and storing alcoholic beverages to sell to consumers. Companies like Ultra are also prohibited from collecting money, fees, or transacting any credit or debit cards for the sale of alcohol. These technology companies, however, can collect money from the licensed retailer for its services.
"We are very happy to see ABRA moving fast to provide guidance for online and app delivery services. We worked closely with ABRA to provide them with information, including relevant regulations in Texas and California to formulate their opinion," Aniket Shah, CEO and founder of Ultra, wrote in a press release. "This is a great news for DC consumers. Ultra received great response from DC consumers the first time around and look forward to serving them again."
Shah said Ultra would restart its booze delivery services in the next couple of days.
Read ABRA's ruling below:
Photo by Charles Sac