Food delivery platform DoorDash said Monday it’s expanding its alcohol delivery service to 20 new states and the District of Columbia, Canada, and Australia, which it says will reach 100 million adults worldwide. Before the pandemic the company was only delivering in California and started expanding within the last six months.
“Customers in select markets, where legally permissible, can toggle to the Alcohol tab of the DoorDash app to browse and safely order from a wide selection of drinks from restaurants, grocery stores, local retailers, and convenience stores,” the company said in a press release. DoorDash cited a 2020 study from the National Restaurant Association that found 56 percent of customers over 21 would order alcoholic beverages if offered as part of food delivery from a restaurant.
The feature is only available to customers 21 and older and requires ID verification: once at checkout, and again by the delivery driver at the door. DoorDash says it will blur out identifying information on users’ IDs except for the photo and date of birth, according to its customer support page. This means that customers won’t be able to have a totally contactless delivery if they order alcohol, and DoorDash encourages customers to wear masks when interacting with its drivers.
During the height of the pandemic last year as many restaurants closed to in-person dining, some states, including New York, temporarily relaxed rules around alcohol delivery, providing many eateries with a needed revenue source. When then-Gov. Cuomo lifted the state of emergency in June of this year, the delivery of alcoholic beverages was also ended, to the chagrin of many restaurants.
But delivery services, even as they tangle with state and local laws requiring them to share information with restaurants and generally treat them more fairly, see alcohol delivery as a lucrative revenue stream. In February, DoorDash competitor Uber Eats acquired alcohol delivery service Drizly in a deal worth $1.1 billion. That deal has drawn scrutiny from the US Federal Trade Commission, however, which is apparently concerned the acquisition could hamper competition.
Also on Monday, DoorDash also announced partnerships with Responsibility.org, a non-profit focused on eliminating drunk driving and underage drinking, and Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD), which is focused on the same issues.
Update September 20th 9:51AM ET: Adds detail that contactless delivery isn’t available for alcohol orders.