If the pandemic has taught us anything it’s that home delivery is an essential service for just about everything. But a quirk in New Mexico’s decades-old alcohol laws prevents liquor license operators from adding that service. All that might change if a growing list of legislators and the governor has their way.
State Representative Dayan Hockman-Vigil (D) introduced House Bill 8 creating a new “Alcohol Beverage Delivery Permit” option allowing restaurants, and breweries to offer that option. New Mexico’s wineries, whose laws were written separately over the years, can already offer direct shipping and delivery in-state.
Could it pass? Probably. A similar measure by Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino passed both the State House and Senate by easy bi-partisan majorities in 2019 but it was vetoed by the governor who cited technical issues and conflicts with other state laws. Still, the governor urged the legislature to try again and pledged her support for a cleaner bill.
So is this it? Restaurateurs and taprooms sure hope so. The legislature’s analysis of that 2019 bill found that adding beer with delivery meals increased the average delivery checks by $10 each. That’s a big deal for struggling restaurants whose profit margins in regular times count on the larger profits on alcohol to make ends meet. State and local governments would get a bump too. Home delivery could increase statewide alcohol sales by $6 million per year, according to the legislature. That creates an additional $428,000 in taxes the state and local governments could use right now.
The legislation would also allow grocery stores and bars to provide this service. For bars who have been 100% closed for 100% of the pandemic, this is a big opportunity to start putting some cash back in the bank.
That’s all well and good but in a state with longstanding alcohol-related health and DWI issues, opponents’ concerns are not to be ignored. One study found that underage purchasers were able to defeat age-verification 100% of the time they ordered home delivery. And without adding new revenue to enforcement, abuse of the system could run rampant.
Still, restaurants, bars and delivery drivers are ready. Like now.
What say you?
Like this idea? Hate it? Let them know. At The Paper, we don’t want you to just read the news. We want you to use it.
That’s why we made this nifty tool to let you send a message to your elected legislators now. Just mention HB8 or the alcohol home delivery bill in your message. The tool shows you who your elected leaders are and delivers it directly to them. Easy peasy.
Contact your legislator about this story.
At The Paper., our reporters and contributors spend weeks doing deep dives and reporting on the issues impacting Albuquerque and all of New Mexico.
But that reporting doesn’t help if you don’t use it to demand the change you want to see.
Use this form to contact the elected state rep. and senator representing your neighborhood, then send them an email or call their office. Just follow the prompts, add your two-cents, and we’ll do the rest. Easy!
Use of this tool also subscribes you to The Paper, if you are not already an email subscriber. If you don’t need it, just unsubscribe.
Like this tool?
The Paper is a community-supported paper.
Donate now to help fund the reporters and tools connecting you to legislators.