How The Tabc Gave Amazon Authority To Sell And Deliver Beer And Wine In Texas

Posted: Jun 22, 2018

Amazon has added beer and wine to its Prime Now two hour delivery service in Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, Houston and San Antonio.

Buying beer and wine online with one- and two-hour deliveries already exists in D-FW and most major markets. The option was added to Florida markets in May.

Amazon launched Prime Now deliveries from Whole Foods stores in February. At that time, some select beer was available, but no wine. The launch represented the first time Amazon started using Whole Foods stores to fill online grocery orders since it purchased the Austin-based organic grocery chain a year ago. Amazon had been using Sprouts Farmers Market, but that partnership has ended.

Alcohol delivery times are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 10 p.m. on Sunday.

Amazon previously had not applied for a permit to sell alcohol in Texas, said Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission spokesman Chris Porter. But recently it obtained "wine only package store" permits and "beer off premise" licenses for five of its warehouses in Texas.

The permits allow Amazon Logistics, which holds a TABC "carrier's permit" to deliver beer, ale, and wine to consumers within the counties where their warehouses are located — in this case, Bexar, Dallas, Harris, Tarrant and Travis. The drivers are trained to check for IDs and to collect an adult's signature before delivering the alcohol, Porter said.

Other online delivery services that operate in Texas had to partner with a retailer in order to deliver beer and wine. Amazon is now a retailer in Texas, from the standpoint of beer and wine sales, Porter said.

7-Eleven started testing online deliveries — including beer — with its 7-ElevenNow app from 10 Dallas stores in December. The Irving-based convenience store chain this week expanded that test to 68 Dallas-Fort Worth stores and expects to roll it out nationally this year.

Locally, hundreds of beer and wine choices are in Amazon's mix, including popular brands of Miller Lite, Corona Extra and Kendall Jackson and local brands Deep Ellum IPA and Community Mosaic IPA.

Since starting Prime Now deliveries from Whole Foods stores in Dallas and Austin, the service has been expanded to 14 cities. Prime Now, which started in Manhattan in 2016, is in more than 30 more cities.

Shoppers are used to being able to buy "everything" from Amazon, and not being able to buy wine with the fixings for dinner was a gap. Walmart trained customers to expect one-stop shopping in the physical world starting in the early 1990s with its Supercenters. Now, the two retailers are battling online, but so far, Walmart doesn't offer beer and wine online in D-FW. Walmart has been trying to sell liquor in its Texas stores.

The most popular items D-FW shoppers are buying online from Prime Now are fresh fruit —avocados, strawberries and bananas and pantry staples like paper towels and bottled water. That may change.

By Maria Halkias
June 21, 2018

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