DoorDash’s Next Legal Frontier: Booze for the Masses

DoorDash’s Next Legal Frontier: Booze for the Masses
Photo: Michael M. Santiago, Getty Images

DoorDash has expanded booze delivery in the so that more people can drink at home. If this is unfamiliar, you have not known shame until you’ve stood there in your pajamas with the door wide open, fumbling with your ID while a Dasher holds your bag of pre-batched margs. Lockdown was hard on us all.

“DoorDash is proud to offer a wide selection of beverages for all special occasions,” it adds. Yes. “Special” occasions. Thank you.

On Monday, DoorDash announced in a press release that it has now brought its alcohol delivery to 20 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, and Australia, making app-based alcohol delivery available to “100 million customers worldwide.” (And if you had any concerns about DoorDash turning into an underage bar, it assures you that it’s also partnering with Responsibility.org and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) to promote safety.)

DoorDash told Gizmodo via email that none of the locations are necessarily new today, but this is more of a progress report. Pre-pandemic, it said, alcohol delivery was only available in very limited parts of California. Since last April, it’s started delivering alcohol in Australia, Canada, California, New York, Washington, Texas, Illinois, Massachusetts, Virginia, Florida, Idaho, Arizona, Minnesota, Ohio, Connecticut, DC, Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan, Iowa, Oregon, Missouri, and Nebraska.

This summer, the app also rolled out an “alcohol” tab, which (in New York) leads to wine shops and liquor stores. In order to get alcohol from DoorDash, you have to upload a photo of your ID, and DoorDash says that it blurs all but your photo and date of birth. The Dasher will use this to then check your ID in person.

Some areas, such as New York City, previously allowed alcohol delivery from liquor stores, with sealed bottles, through apps such as Minibar and Drizly, but takeout and delivery cocktails from bars and restaurants were limited or banned. (Uber bought Drizly earlier this year for $US1.1 ($2) billion.) During lockdown, ABC News reported, 39 states relaxed their cocktail delivery policies, and as of July, 11 states still hadn’t fully reverted to pre-lockdown delivery rules.

In the release, the company also emphasised that it’s working with restaurants in “supporting legislation” allowing alcohol delivery, though DoorDash positioning itself as a restaurant ally wreaks of horse shit. The company, along with others, has fought cities that have implemented fee caps and sued New York City over them earlier this month. To-go and delivery cocktails happened to save restaurants, many said, at a time when they were at the mercy of delivery apps that skimmed off their slim margins and more. Luckily for delivery alcohol supporters, at least DoorDash’s vast lobbying infrastructure could help keep the tap flowing.