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Alcohol Pick-up and Delivery Tips for the Upcoming Holiday Season

Alcohol delivery sales spiked over the last few years as many restaurants took advantage of loosened regulations and an increased demand for alcoholic beverage delivery. As the food and beverage game settles into a new normal, consumer desire to have cocktails delivered with food orders remains.

But as we head toward the holiday season, it’s important to know that the option of ordering a six-pack with a pizza or a mixed cocktail with a meal appeals to some age groups more than others.

Recent studies that follow generational trends found that in 2022, as many as 70% of Gen Zers (consumers ages 21-25) said the ability to add alcohol to a takeout or delivery order is a determining factor when choosing a restaurant. For Millennials, the number wasn’t far behind at 62%. But just 36% of Gen Xers (born 1965-1980) and only 12% of baby boomers (born 1946 - 1964) placed alcohol delivery as a reason to order from one establishment over another.

As we approach the busy holiday season, it's the perfect time to make the most of the end-of-year celebrations by creating a plan to optimize your restaurant’s alcohol delivery and pick-up menu.

In this article, we'll help you get alcohol delivery right with some tools and tips including license guidelines, updated state-by-state laws for 2022, packaging essentials, marketing strategies, and the latest drinking trends.

According to Statista, alcohol makes up 20-25% of a restaurant’s income, and the holiday season is a great time to pour on the profits with alcohol delivery during the last quarter of the year. We’re here to help you do it right!

Tips and Tools for Delivering Alcohol this Holiday Season

Make sure you have the licenses you need

Before you begin delivering alcohol, you’ll want to make sure you’re in compliance with local laws. Check with local authorities about which off-premises alcohol sales and consumption rules apply to you, and obtain any required licenses and signage before sending out the spirits this season.

For selling alcoholic beverages via online delivery or for click and collect on-premises, a business needs a license from their local council. In the United States, most US jurisdictions also divide licenses by on-premises consumption (bar and restaurant) and off-premises (bottle) sales.

When applying for these licenses for the purpose of selling alcohol online or setting up an alcohol delivery service, most states require establishments to clearly outline the steps that will be taken to make sure alcoholic beverages don’t end up in the hands of anyone under the legal drinking age.

Know the law in your state

Alcohol-to-go laws in many states were a lifeline to restaurants and bars when folks were stuck at home, and now that restrictions have lifted, some states have continued to allow alcohol delivery, while some have not. That’s why it’s important to check your state's liquor laws before initiating delivery or take-out alcohol sales.

Laws and other policies related to alcohol delivery and takeout sales have continued to change as states developed and refined them, so make sure you stay current on legalities in your locality. Because what happened in 2020 might not apply in 2022.

Promote your alcohol delivery offerings

Whether you’re just starting to deliver alcohol, or you’ve been taking advantage of this added source of revenue for a while, it’s important to make sure your customers know you offer alcoholic beverages along with the rest of your delivery menu. Even your existing customers might not be aware that you now offer alcohol delivery, so make sure to get the word out. Post your offerings on your online menu and on social media, put up on-premise signage, and update your item descriptions in Google and in third-party delivery apps.

Draw customers in with special package deals, like Weekend Brunch Deals or Holiday Specials. You could even create an online happy hour, setting discounts for drinks during the high-demand hours.

Rules for promoting the responsible consumption of alcohol are stated under your alcohol licenses and apply online as much as they do on your physical premises. Consider these regulations when deciding how best to promote your alcohol products.

Collaborate with other local businesses

With the “buy local” trend still in full swing, customers have become accustomed to supporting local establishments instead of putting money in the pockets of big chains. Get hyper-local by purchasing ingredients like organic fruits or vegetables for garnishes from local farmers, or join with a local nursery or flower shop to provide unique holiday offerings that combine wine and roses, for example.

Be Up on the latest drinking trends

Get creative with your alcohol offerings. Develop fun food and drink pairings, offer holiday-themed specials, and stay up-to-date on the latest alcohol trends to ensure you always have the latest beverage in stock. Low-alcohol volume (ABV) drinks, hard seltzers, and canned beverages are having a big moment these days. Make sure you’re up on the latest cocktail trends to keep your business relevant.

Post pictures of your various offerings on social media and ask customers to do the same. Run a promotion around sharing photos on Instagram, for example, to entice your loyals to share.

Mix-it-Up with Cocktail Kits

Even if your state doesn’t permit delivering alcohol right now, you can still jump on the cocktail beverage bandwagon by creating your own cocktail kits using creative packaging. Put together a holiday package that includes mixers, garnishes, and straws that customers can combine with their own liquor to create a fun party pleaser. Create your own wine bags or get creative with specialty advertising to make your own beer mugs to go. Think outside the box as the season for spirits gets kicked into high gear.

Create Mocktails

As popular as alcohol delivery may be, there’s another rising demand for non-alcoholic beverage options. To add to the holiday zing around your menu for non-drinking customers, come up with creative mocktails and offer a selection of soft-seltzers and non-alcohol beer.

Use appropriate packaging

When delivering to customers, it’s important to give them peace of mind that their beverages are fully safe to drink. To do this right, especially if you’re offering pre-mixed cocktails, package orders with tamper-evident labels.

This one should be a no-brainer. If you’re delivering wine or beer by the bottle, make sure the glass is wrapped in protective material like bubble wrap. The last thing you want is for a courier to arrive at your customer’s door with a soaked delivery bag and a load of broken glass.

Add some branding to your alcohol packaging. Attach your own logo label or sticker to the delivery bag or packaging to help keep your brand memorable and increase the chance of repeat business.

Here to stay

With delivery still booming, it’s no surprise that the demand for alcohol delivery is growing in popularity as well. With this extra stream of revenue here to stay, the holidays are the perfect time to pour on the power of this growing trend. Stay up on the laws, trends, and regulations surrounding alcohol to-go in your area, and deliver profitability from this new revenue source this holiday season.

As restaurants return to full operation, it is expected that the desire for alcohol delivery will remain. Make the most of the end-of-year’s biggest drinking holidays by creating a plan to offer alcohol delivery and pick-up for the upcoming festivities.

By Eileen Strauss


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