Buying alcohol online isn’t a new phenomenon, and those who do it often loudly sing its praises, but for many of you reading this, it’s probably the first time you’ve ever even considered buying a bottle of wine, beer, or spirits online. So for those of you new to purchasing booze online and having it directly shipped to your home or office, here’s how it’s done. (And our top barware picks, as well.)
Let’s get one thing out of the way immediately. If you live in Alabama, Oklahoma, or Utah, you might as well stop reading right now. Sure, some of you will claim you have bought alcohol online and had it shipped to you before, but it’s technically illegal to have any alcohol in your state delivered to a private person, and I don’t want you to break the law. If you live in Mississippi, it’s a gray area, not legal and not illegal, so proceed with caution. For the rest of you in the United States, wine deliveries are legal, and then, depending on your individual state, beer and spirits may also be able to be delivered. But, no matter where you live, you are going to need to have someone at home or at the office who is 21 with a valid ID to sign for the package. If you don’t, the delivery will be returned to sender, often at your expense.
How to Buy Alcohol Online for Same-Day Delivery
This is the delivery for people looking for instant gratification, usually within an hour or two after you place your order. The two best apps for this are MiniBar and Drizly, depending on where you live — for most of you, that will be Drizly, as they are much larger. If you’re familiar with Grubhub when it comes to ordering your favorite take-out, the concept is similar. Both of these services contract with liquor and wine stores in your area and facilitate the sale between you and them. That’s why everyone sees a little different selection when they log into these apps, depending on where they live. Once you place your order, a delivery person brings it straight to you. Just remember to tip.
Don't Miss A DropGet the latest in beer, wine, and cocktail culture sent straight to your inbox.
How to Buy Alcohol Online for Next/Multi-Day Delivery
If you want to order more than a bottle or two of your favorite libation, you’re probably going to want to shift from the same-day services above to services with a much larger selection, and probably a bit better prices. These services are similar to Amazon; they just solely offer alcohol.
How to Buy Wine Online
When it comes to wine, the O.G. who ships to the most markets with a very large selection is Wine.com. They have warehouses across the country, so are able to fulfill orders rather quickly. But maybe you’re more into natural wines, which Wine.com doesn’t carry a lot of, or you have just one or two wineries in Napa or Sonoma that you love. It’s also possible to order directly from wine shops and wineries around the country, so if you have a favorite, simply ask them if they will ship to you. Many will make it very clear on their websites.
How to Buy Spirits Online
Wine.com sells spirits too, but their selection isn’t as large as Reserve Bar, which is my go-to here. And if you consider yourself a big-baller, you can definitely find lots of limited and high-priced bottlings here.
How To Buy Beer Online
Beer is the hardest to buy online, probably because it seems to be the easiest to buy offline. Available in most grocery stores around the country, shopping for beer online is probably only a necessity if you’re looking for those hard-to-find brews. If you need something quickly or just don’t want to leave your house, you’re better off using Minibar or Drizly. But if you really do want those hard-to-find beers, your best bet is either Craftshack or Hopsy. Hopsy sends growlers of fresh draft beer in the mail to you, while Craftshack sends bottles and cans.