Legal Question in Business Law in California

Local Delivery Services - Including Alcohol

I'm thinking of starting a local delivery service where individuals can order goods, including alcohol, and have it delivered to there home for a delivery fee. This would allow people to look on a list of local resturants and supermarkets, choose their products, call me and have them delivered. My main concern is the alcohol delivery. I reviewed some state laws regarding alcohol delivery, but they only mentioned distributor info for retailers and didn't have any info pertaining to local, private delivery of such items. I would like to get at least a general idea of how i should pursue this. Where I should go localy for specific laws. Is it just frowned upon in California? Should I require a license? Is it a virtualy untouched area in California? Is it just county specific in my state? Any information on this matter will be more than helpfull, thank you.

Asked on 8/21/07, 3:16 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Cathy Cowin Law Offices of Cathy Cowin

Re: Local Delivery Services - Including Alcohol

Among other laws, you must require a person over the age of 21 to sign for alcohol deliveries and maintain a record of compliance. Consult an attorney to assist you with your plans.

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Answered on 8/21/07, 4:16 pm

Terry A. Nelson Nelson & Lawless

Re: Local Delivery Services - Including Alcohol

You have some hurdles to overcome. Without the alcohol issue, no real problems, only normal liability releases and waivers, contracts, etc. With the alcohol, you have state and federal ABC and ATF rules to comply with. You're going to need a proper education on what you and your drivers have to know to avoid civil and criminal liability. Feel free to contact me if serious about doing this right.

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Answered on 8/21/07, 4:27 pm
Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

Re: Local Delivery Services - Including Alcohol

I'd say the ATF or BATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms) is less lilely to be involved, since the federal taxes have already been paid by the time you get the alcohol, and there is no interstate transportation involved. This Federal agency is now known as the TTB (Alcohol & Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) and can be contacted and its regulations researched at

Probably the more relevant agency laws, rules and regulations would be those set up or enforced by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Conrol (ABC) and the Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). If you choose not to hire an attorney to do the research (which could be a mistake), I would at least plan on one or two in-person meetings with ranking staff members of both state agencies to learn about their requirements for your proposed business.

You may be straddling the fence between being a transportation company (the CPUC's area) and being a retailer (ABC license required), and you may have to design your business so it is clearly one or the other in order to avoid dual regulation.

Finally, don't fail to figure out if TTB (Federal) affects you; probably not, but I don't know for sure and can't guarantee they don't also have regulations that could affect you.

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Answered on 8/21/07, 6:13 pm

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