Holiday spirits … delivered: DoorDash gets OK from state to add alcohol to platform

DoorDash is 1st to be approved in New Jersey, but it is experienced in process — 35 states already allow such deliveries

DoorDash became the first third-party platform to be given the right to deliver alcohol in the state of New Jersey — an ability that began Thursday.

The company said it will take numerous steps to ensure alcohol is not delivered to underage residents. For instance, deliveries to college campus are not allowed. And consumers can opt out of seeing the option on the platform.

DoorDash officials said they are confident the program can be implemented safely and effectively.

The biggest reason: It already is doing so elsewhere.

DoorDash, which added alcohol sales to its marketplace in 2020, now delivers alcohol in 35 states plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

The company said it has seen 100% year-over-year growth in other states. In addition, its 2023 Alcohol Ordering Trends report showed 60% of surveyed consumers reported using on-demand alcohol delivery more than the previous year.

Erik Ragotte, DoorDash’s general manager of alcohol and convenience, said the company is confident that it will be able to serve New Jersey residents safely and effectively.

“This is a huge step forward for consumers across New Jersey, who will now be able enjoy the convenience of having alcohol delivered safely to their doors from their favorite local businesses through the DoorDash platform,” he said.

“Importantly, we’ve worked hard to build a best-in-class alcohol delivery platform with robust safeguards, like our ID verification process, that ensure that all deliveries are done responsibly. We look forward to continuing to work closely with the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control and continuing to lead the industry forward on safe and responsible alcohol delivery.”

Here’s what the company is doing to ensure safety:

  • State-of-the-art ID verification: The process requires that IDs are scanned not only before the first alcohol purchase but also again at the door, on top of a physical ID check at the point of delivery — in many cases going above what is used for a typical in-store transaction. Only after verifying the consumer’s age and checking for any signs of intoxication may the delivery be completed;
  • Bans in high-risk areas: The company said it will be proactively blocking deliveries to certain high-risk areas, such as college campuses, and other similar locations where unsafe deliveries to underage consumers could be made;
  • Dasher compliance modules: Dashers in New Jersey interested in accepting offers including alcohol are required to complete a course on safe and responsible delivery. The company said it will provide detailed guidelines to those Dashers on how to safely and compliantly deliver alcohol;
  • Self-exclusion register: The company has developed a voluntarily self-exclusion list so consumers can easily stop seeing alcohol on the Marketplace platform.

Then, there’s this.

If a delivery cannot be completed, the company said it has a platform in which dashers will return the alcohol to the store — but still get paid as if the delivery was made, plus additional pay for the return trip.

Dashers will never have to choose between completing a delivery or complying with the law, the company said.