Bottoms Up:

What to Consider When Buying Beer, Wine, and Spirits Online

What better way to relax on a weekend than to have your favorite booze delivered right to your doorstep?

Thanks to the Internet, you can now have almost anything shipped to your home, whether it’s the latest iPhone model or your weekly groceries. Alcohol, of course, is no exception. Why would it be, when 1 in 10 Americans aged 21 and above purchase alcohol online?

In-store purchasing, of course, remains more popular—7 in 10 legal-aged Americans are “regular buyers” of alcohol, which means they purchase alcoholic drinks several times a year from their local liquor stores.

Both these statistics are hardly surprising, reflecting the fact that 29% of Americans drink at least once a week. Five percent of Americans, meanwhile, drink daily while 10% drink several times a week.

Whether it’s a well-deserved beer after a long day of work, a friend’s birthday toast, or a weekend gin and tonic, it’s clear that alcohol is an easy and convenient way to have fun.

Still, there aren’t as many options for buying alcohol online as there are for other goods. Unsurprisingly, there are several factors to consider before you can place an order. Just because you’re buying online doesn’t mean you’re exempt from laws regulating alcohol purchase.

That being said, many people are optimistic that the market will grow in the next few years.

Liquor vs. Beer vs. Wine

Most retailers offer different kinds of alcoholic drinks. However, depending on where you’re located, you might not be able to buy that particular bottle you’ve been eyeing for a while. Some states allow only the delivery of liquor, while others only allow beer and wine. For the uninitiated, here’s the difference between the three:


Liquor contains the highest alcohol content among the three. Popular examples of liquor are tequila, vodka, rum, and gin. These drinks are often mixed with other drinks to create cocktails. Generally, liquor has an alcohol concentration higher than 30%.

These drinks are produced by distilling grains, fruit, or vegetables that have already gone through alcoholic fermentation.


Beer is usually made by brewing cereal grains, particularly malted barley, wheat, maize, and rice. Most modern beers have around 4% to 6% alcohol by volume. This drink has the least amount of alcohol content among the three.


Wine is made from fermented grapes and usually has about 12% alcohol. The different kinds of wine are a result of the combinations of different grapes and strains of yeast.

Some wines are not made from grapes at all but from plum, cherry, pomegranate, currant, and elderberry instead. Wine is usually served at social events and is popular among women and millennials.

Factors to consider when buying alcohol online

The in-person purchase of alcohol is governed by different laws and statutes depending on which state you’re in. Buying alcohol online is no different.

Before deciding between what color label to buy or committing to any wine subscription boxes, make sure you’ve considered the following:

You should be at least 21 years old before ordering online.

This goes without saying, but only order alcohol online if you are of legal age. In fact, most websites’ terms and conditions state that you have to be at least 21 years old before using their website.

You’re also required to present proof of your age (usually a driver’s license or a passport) before claiming any of the alcohol you ordered—so if you’re underage, sorry, but there’s no finding a loophole here. Some retailers may also require you to upload a scanned copy of your license or passport when you place an order.

Note that you might also be required to present the credit card upon delivery. This is to avoid any possible instances of credit card fraud.

Drinks with different alcohol content have different regulations.

The availability of alcoholic drinks depends highly on the retailer. However, there are some general guidelines as to what can be delivered to you depending on the alcohol content. Alcoholic beverages with less than 24% alcoholic content are not subject to hazardous materials regulations, while alcoholic beverages with over 24% alcohol (48 proof) cannot be shipped by air.

You’re still required to obey state laws regarding alcohol.

Ordering online doesn’t exempt you from following state laws and statutes. The good news is that most states or regions don’t present any problems with online alcohol shopping—but not all of them do. For instance, Alabama, Oklahoma, and Utah don’t allow alcohol deliveries coming from a different state. Meanwhile, Mississippi, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Guam do not have a clear policy on the issue.

If you’re from a state that doesn’t allow the shipping of alcohol, most websites will simply not accept the shipping address you enter. Either that or a customer representative will contact you to notify you that they will not be able to ship to your address. If you are ordering from The Bro Basket, for example, our website has a list of states that we can deliver wine, beer, and liquor to.

Note that all retailers cannot ship to PO Boxes, freight forwarders, APO/FPO addresses, or internationally.

Consider the date you want your package delivered.

Depending on the season, some items you ordered might arrive in less-than-stellar conditions. For instance, make sure gift boxes that contain chocolate aren’t ordered during the hottest days of summer—otherwise, they might end up melting before they get to you!

You can have your package shipped to an office address.

In fact, some retailers prefer that you have them ship to your office. Deliveries need to be signed by a legal adult once they are delivered, which makes a business address ideal.

Make sure you’re available to receive the package.

If sending the package to a business address isn’t an option, make sure you’re able to receive the package on the date of delivery. Otherwise, advise the courier that someone else will be receiving the package for you. As long as the recipient is of legal age, the delivery should go without a hitch.



Ordering alcohol from a website is as easy as making any other purchase online. With just a few clicks of a button, you can have your favorite beer delivered to your home. As long as you stick to the rules (old-fashioned as they may be), your delivery will be smoother than whiskey down your t

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