Starting this fall, New Jersey households can have alcoholic beverages delivered to their doorsteps by such popular services as DoorDash, Instacart and Amazon Flex.

The Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control has issued a special ruling for third-party permits that allow delivery services to enter formal agreements with restaurants, bars, and liquor stores, Acting Attorney General Matthew Platkin announced on Friday.

An online application for the new permit, which will carry a $2,000 annual fee, will be available exclusively on the Division’s licensing system beginning Oct. 1.

The independent contractors delivering alcoholic beverages to customers’ residences on behalf of New Jersey retail licensees will be able to charge “a fixed fee for their delivery services.”

ABC Director James Graziano called it a “game changer.”

The new permit would only be an option for restaurants, bars, and liquor stores – which operate under retail licenses that have statutory privileges to sell and deliver alcoholic beverages for off-premise consumption.

Craft breweries and distilleries — and other businesses operating under manufacturing licenses — do not currently have “statutory delivery privileges” and would not be authorized to use such services, Platkin said.

Also not allowed under the new rules are alcohol deliveries to the campus of any college or university, or to any customers who are already drunk or younger than 21.

“The demand for delivery services exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Third-Party Delivery Permit expands that market in New Jersey and allows retail licensees to tap into it,” Platkin said in a written release.

“This new permit strikes a balance that has been the hallmark of the Murphy Administration to continue innovation and growth in business but without sacrificing or jeopardizing public safety. This is also a boon for consumers who have grown accustomed to using smartphone delivery apps to order everything from groceries to gourmet meals,” he continued.

Currently, ABC regulations permit only licensed retailers and transporters to deliver alcoholic beverages in New Jersey.

Permit holders would be responsible for ensuring that its delivery workers follow required procedures, avoiding the following:

— leaving alcoholic beverages unattended or storing alcoholic beverages overnight;

— subcontracting a delivery of alcoholic beverages;

— delivering alcoholic beverages to customers who are actually or apparently intoxicated or under the legal age to purchase or consume alcohol

— delivering alcoholic beverages to the campus of any college or university.

Violations could result in a permit being suspended or taken away, permanently.

“Opening the door to allow for third-party services to deliver alcoholic beverages to New Jersey residents will allow our local businesses to adapt to the ever-changing world of technology and e-commerce,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a written statement.

The New Jersey Licensed Beverage Association and New Jersey Liquor Store Alliance were collaborators on the updated ABC ruling, Platkin added.

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at erin.vogt@townsquaremedia.com

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