Why is it so hard to find a straight answer about alcohol delivery and how it works near you? The reason it’s so complex is quite simple. Alcohol is one of the most regulated, legislated products on the market. Furthermore, each country, state and province has their own rules. Lucky for you, this is the best primer on understanding alcohol delivery no matter where you are in North America. Whenever purchasing alcohol, whether in-person, online or via delivery app, follow all state and local laws.
Understanding U.S. Wine, Liquor and Beer Delivery Rules
If you’re in the United States, the first thing to know is that alcohol beverages cannot be shipped through the United States Postal Service (USPS). In fact, you can’t even ship items in a box that had alcohol in it at one point unless you completely cover all references to alcohol. Second, there are some states where no alcohol can be shipped or delivered. As of April, 2022 those states are: Alabama, Delaware, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee (this is new and could change quickly), Utah and South Dakota.
That said, there are ways to easily access wine delivery. Depending on where you live within the US, you may be able to have alcohol beverages (wine, beer, liquor) delivered straight from the store. Many US liquor and wine stores added delivery during the pandemic and it’s not gone away. This has helped small producers, restaurants and other aspects of the hospitality industry tremendously.
Especially if you live in a major metropolitan area, you can easily search “alcohol delivery near me” and get a variety of options, be it through a service like InstaCart, Drizly, UberEats and PostMates, or direct from the producer or a mass-sale site like wine.com using a shipping company like FedEx or DHL. Once you know your options, be sure to take advantage of our directory to save on these alcohol delivery services.
Keep in mind, because each state legislates alcohol delivery, the rules change and are different for different types of alcohol. Here’s what usually falls under restriction:
- Type of Alcohol. Some states do not allow the shipping of liquor, but do allow beer and wine to be shipped. This is often because of alcohol content. Read on!
- Alcohol Content. Wine and beer use Alcohol By Volume as the measure of alcohol in a drink. Some states do not allow delivery of wines and beers over a certain percent of alcohol. This often doesn’t affect beer delivery but does impact your desire to ship wine, because it has a higher ABV, can be tricky. Sherry, port and other fortified wines (wines where fermentation is stopped by adding a spirit to retain sugar and boost alcohol) are often the victims of these bans. These high alcohol content, fortified wines, are often not available for delivery and instead have to be purchased in person. The amount of alcohol in spirits or liquor is measured by proof. If liquor delivery is allowable by law in the state there is rarely a limit on proof since it is always high in alcohol.
- Distribution Agreements. States love to make alcohol sales and delivery as complex as possible, so there are restrictions on whether alcohol from one state can be sold in another. A distribution agreement has to be in place for specific brands but there are also reciprocal agreements between states. This is why we recommend thinking about wine, for example, by varietal or blend, vintage and region rather than seeking a specific label. Not all of the same wine will be available for delivery.
- Delivery Options. In some states it’s simple to order through an alcohol delivery app, grocery service or directly from the shop or even grocery store for delivery. In others, it’s not. Learn how you can get liquor, wine and beer by delivery in your state and, when in doubt, look to some of our favorite delivery options to make it easier!
Don’t Forget Subscription Services!
An option many don’t think of as alcohol delivery is the subscription-box model. You can get delivery of craft beer and wines from all over through a subscription. Some producers provide this and feature their own alcohol but there are also themed shipments that feature a variety of producers.
Why go this way?
If you like a particular type of alcohol and the ease of delivery, these are the best! Enjoy bottles or cans delivered to your door, on a set schedule.
There’s another reason to choose a subscription for your liquor delivery. Many are specially curated, sometimes even around a cause. Naked Wines, for example, is a way to support indie winemakers through a wine delivery subscription. You can also look to support women and BIPOC winemakers by joining a specific producer’s club. Winc doesn’t just ship wine but also incredible recipe pairings. Or look to subscription cocktail kits (where legal, like in Toronto) for a fun experience of learning about cocktails and getting literally everything you need delivered right to you to perfect your mixology skills.
While not a subscription service, Flying Embers offers hard kombuchas and seltzers with a philanthropic twist. The Embers Foundation, the non-profit organization by the company, donates 1% of its revenues to “address first responder and community needs nationwide, through wildfire prevention and education, real-time natural disaster response, and recovery.”
Our Favorite Alcohol Delivery Options (USA)
When it comes to online shopping for booze, there are some great online options! Unlike in Canada, where ordering is often through an online service that allows for the purchase of everything in one place, in the US most delivery options are divided by type of alcohol.
Favorite Beer Delivery
Whether you want hoppy IPAs or puckery sours, lagers or ales or something funky and experimental, there are great options for the delivery of beer shopping online.
The Original Craft Beer Club is a subscription model for craft beer delivery. They offer a variety of options and no shipping charges. While state laws vary, this is a great option for US residents who want to try from a great selection of beer from all over the country.
Favorite Spirits Delivery
Your one stop shop for all things mixology is Spirit Hub. You’ll find all sorts of spirits for delivery but also mixers, barware and other goodies. The site is organized beautifully including by type of spirit, sales and more so it’s easy to find what you’re looking for. The best feature, though, is the option to get matched with suggestions by taking a quiz.
Similar to a choose-your-own adventure book, the quiz asks you what you usually drink, how you drink it, the flavor profiles you like in your liquor and budget. At any point you can skip which is especially helpful if you want to try something new! At the end of your quiz just enter your email (because everyone wants you on their mailing list) and get your suggestions. It’s a fun way to explore new options from a great liquor delivery site.
The site is easy to navigate and there’s online help via chat (or you can call) which we love. Online chat help is available 9am-5pm CST.
Favorite Wine Delivery Service
We’re fans of wine.com. They offer a massive variety of wines, including splits and emerging regions, and use FedEx so shipping is (usually) quick and reliable. They regularly offer deals on the sale of wine and, for just $45/year, you can never pay for shipping on your delivery of wine. Their customer service team is great and they also offer the ability to chat with a somm to find your favorite wine.
The site is user-friendly and offers lots of ways to search. You can set several filters to find the perfect gift and, when shipping to a friend or client, they offer gift bags and never send the receipt. The recipient gets an email that lets them know a gift has been sent and provides tracking information which is very helpful because in the USA someone 21+ must be home to sign for alcohol deliveries. This is one of few federal laws related to alcohol delivery.
Understanding Alcohol Delivery in Canada
Canada’s wine delivery laws are similar to the US in that they vary province by province. One of the biggest differences, though, is the limit on shipping between provinces. Of Canada’s ten provinces, only four allow liquor, wine and beer shipping between them. If you’re in Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan or B.C. you can order alcohol from other provinces for delivery.
Yes, you are right: Quebec and Ontario do not fall under this rule.
These rules are under serious scrutiny, especially since the start of the global pandemic in 2020, especially for smaller producers. With the closing of in-person everything, and tourism at a stand still, small producers suffered tremendously because they were limited to only shipping within their provinces. While this was always the case, more people started using online delivery services to get beer and liquor and there were no tourists visiting breweries, distilleries and wineries–a devastating blow to their businesses.
Our Favorite Alcohol Delivery Services (Canada)
We’ve covered the US but what about Canada? There are several options for when you want to have alcohol delivered to your door in Canada.
Alberta and British Columbia
Alcohol delivery giant, Drizly, is one of the best options for getting wine, beer, spirits and other delights delivered to you. The service allows you to look up a particular item and see where it’s available nearby. Then you can look at the rest of the selection. The site is very easy to navigate and delivery times, current stock, minimum prices and delivery fees are easy to see as you’re shopping. They also offer great deals regularly. Fun fact: you can also order snacks to compliment your booze!
If you’re in Manitoba and wondering “how do I get alcohol delivered near me?” the answer is Manitoba Liquor Mart. They provide home delivery of wine, beer, liquor and more. If you’re in Winnipeg, another option is using UberEats to order from a restaurant, liquor store or other licensed establishment.
There are a few great options in New Brunswick. The first is DrinkNB which offers beer and cider delivery from local producers. There are also snack options. This is a great option for supporting local and getting super-fresh beer. For more variety and adding wine and liquor delivery to your routine, UberEats is another great option.
Newfoundland and Labrador
During the pandemic, Newfoundland and Labrador made wine delivery legal, permanently, through third party apps and services so here, like in other provinces mentioned, your best options for alcohol delivery app are UberEats, Drizly and the like.
If you’re in Nova Scotia, you can get wine, beer and liquor from Harvest Wines, Beers & Spirits. They deliver throughout Nova Scotia and have a clean, easy-to-use site. We love that they offer gift cards, recipe inspo and each category of alcohol includes a section of local offerings!
Ontario Alcohol Delivery Options
There are a lot of options for online wine, beer and spirits (and cider) shopping and delivery in Ontario. The third-party companies are all available but we also like The Beer Guy for a quick and easy experience. Ontarians rave about Boozer and Brewski Booze Liquor Delivery. Ontario is the place to be when it comes to options for liquor delivery.
Prince Edward Island
Similar to Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island has made liquor delivery permanently legal. In addition to using the liquor agency stores, residents of Prince Edward Island can also get wine, beer and liquor from restaurants, wineries, breweries, cideries and distilleries.
The SAQ (Société des alcools du Québec/Quebec Alcohol Corporation) is the governmental agency that regulates alcohol in Quebec. It has every type of alcoholic beverage you could want delivered and non-alcoholic options, to boot! They offer a simple online shopping experience and home delivery throughout Quebec for delivery and pick up.
While there are a few options available they are city specific so our recommendation is to look to your favorite restaurants for delivery of wine, beer, spirits and cocktails. If you’re in Regina or Saskatoon there are also lots of delivery options and with recent legislation changes, we think Sakatchewan will continue to see alcohol delivery popping up throughout the province.
Hey! Be Smart with Alcohol Delivery!
Liquor delivery is a double-edged sword. It limits driving but it can make access to alcohol easier. Here are some important things to remember.
There are delicious non-alcoholic Zero Proof options available throughout the USA and Canada. Taking a night (or more) off doesn’t mean a soda or water any more.
Alcohol can have long-term effects on physical and mental health. People taking certain medications or using drugs can experience significant complications when adding alcohol. Speak with your doctor before mixing alcohol with medication and other intoxicants.
Always have a way home, whether a designated driver, ride-share app or cash for a taxi. Do not get behind the wheel if you have been drinking and don’t get in the car with an impaired driver. A parking ticket is well worth getting home safely.
Alcohol is an intoxicant that impairs bodily functions including decision-making processes. Do not drive, operate machinery, make big purchases or any other major life choices when impaired.
In the United States, you must be 21 to purchase and drink alcohol. Buying alcohol for minors (or serving them) is a felony in most places. The legal drinking age in Canada is 19. Brain science and studies show that children who drink before the age of 15 are four times more likely to develop an addiction to alcohol. Don’t be the “cool” parent, sibling or other adult.
Alcohol is also addictive. If alcohol is affecting your employment, relationships or quality of life there’s help.