Receiving an alcohol shipment can be tough. You want the bottles, but don’t have the luxury of waiting to sign for the package in a 12-hour drop-off window. Well, we have good news: That’ll soon be a thing of the past, thanks to a little spot on the corner of happy and healthy. Wine.com and FedEx are teaming up with Walgreens and other retailers to provide alcohol pickup locations across the country. Finally, you can pick up your favorite wine and some extra sponges in one easy trip.
Wine.com, one of the largest online wine retailers, and FedEx will now drop off your alcohol shipments at stores like Walgreens, Duane Reade, Albertsons and Safeway. That frees you up to pick up the package any time the store is open, which is 24 hours in many major cities. The service is provided in more than 8,000 locations in the majority of states.
According to Wines & Vines, direct-to-consumer shipping of alcohol generated $2.33 billion in 2016. That’s a lot of people waiting at home to sign for packages, but the number could be much higher. While companies like MiniBar complete orders through local retail stores, alcohol shipments over state lines, like the ones Wine.com and FedEx are doing, are more difficult to navigate. State regulators in Illinois, Michigan and New York have recently put interstate shipments under more scrutiny. These retail holding stores are a workaround.
That doesn’t mean it’s a free for all, though. Only licensed producers are allowed to ship alcohol, and Wine.com is the only wine retailer that offers local pickup options at the time of purchase, according to the business magazine Retail Leader. By using FedEx, individual producers could ship to holding locations as well, despite FedEx’s ban on “indirect delivery.”
Unfortunately, it’s not universal and there are still a lot of caveats to getting your favorite bottle to your nearby Walgreens. Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Utah either have restrictions on interstate alcohol shipments or ban them outright. Wine is the easiest to ship, while only a few states allow interstate shipments of beer and liquor.
It’s not perfect, but Wine.com and FedEx are bringing the U.S. a few steps closer to a world where your favorite bottles are only an online order away.