Local restaurants turn to alcohol delivery to stem losses

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission is fast-tracking applications for businesses hoping to begin curbside and residential delivery.

Posted: Mar 27, 2020 6:23 PM
Updated: Mar 27, 2020 6:25 PM

EUGENE, Ore.-- The Oregon Liquor Control Commission is fast-tracking applications for businesses hoping to begin curbside and residential delivery of beer, cider and wine as more customers turn away from eating out.

The OLCC estimates that 5,500 establishments in the state could be looking to apply for off-premises alcohol sales permits, which allow to-go sales for growlers and other alcohol containers. Additional certification is available that allows delivery.

Applications have moved online, and businesses can receive an automatic 30-day temporary permit as the OLCC processes the paperwork.

"I've been talking to licensees who have been calling me and all of them are very excited about this and interested in doing it. I wouldn't be surprised if we've had an uptick," said OLCC public affairs specialist Matthew Van Sickle.

Containers of beer, wine and cider of up to two gallons can be delivered. Up to five gallons of beer can be delivered to each residence per day.

Even with social distancing guidelines, delivery workers must continue to check IDs in-person.

Elkhorn Brewery is just one Eugene business that has turned to alcohol delivery. Owner Steve Sheehan said that their delivery workers are wearing gloves and checking IDs from a safe distance.

"People have really wanted to keep their distance. When it comes to food delivery, some people have wanted to leave it outside and us leave. As for alcohol, we haven't done that any," he said.

Sheehan said that his business has been doing a couple of hundred dollars in alcohol sales each evening. They are delivering between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. with a $30 minimum.  Delivery orders must be called in by 4 p.m.

He is glad to have the new revenue stream, but delivery alone cannot fill the void left behind by concerned customers. 

"The beer sales are helping us stay afloat some," he said. "But it's just a matter of two weeks, three weeks max we have left."

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