Colorado initiative 122 would allow businesses to offer a delivery service or provide a third-party alcohol delivery service. Under the current state law, at-home delivery of alcohol is restricted to liquor stores that deliver using their own employees and vehicles. If enacted, Colorado’s Initiative 122 would authorize any business licensed to sell alcohol for off-site consumption, like grocery stores, to offer delivery and use third-party delivery services such as GrubHub beginning in March 2023.
According to the Colorado Secretary of State’s analysis, Initiative 122 is likely to have no meaningful impact on the state’s net revenue or costs.
Proponents’ Arguments For
As with another of the alcohol initiatives slated for the 2022 ballot, Initiative 122, is backed by an issue committee called Wine in Grocery Stores. This group is funded primarily by delivery companies like DoorDash and Instacart and is also supported by Safeway and Target. Proponents argue that the measure would modernize alcohol sales in Colorado and improve consumer convenience.
Opponents’ Arguments Against
Opposition to allowing third-party delivery of alcohol has been limited and has come mainly from the committee, Keeping Colorado Local. This group is also opposed to the other two alcohol-related measures on the 2022 ballot, and they portray these measures as a bid from “billion-dollar, out-of-state corporations who want to come in and put the mom-and-pop small business out of business.” They fear that allowing non-liquor stores to offer home delivery will further harm the ability of liquor stores to compete in the market.
With memories of COVID-19 lockdowns still fresh in voters’ minds, it may be tough to convince them that there are many downsides to allowing the home delivery of alcohol. During those lockdowns, Colorado was among the many states to temporarily liberalize alcohol laws, allowing bars and restaurants to sell alcohol to-go and deliver alcohol along with customers’ food orders; a measure the state legislature recently extended to July 2026.
Instead of using their own staff to make home deliveries, Initiative 122 would simply allow businesses already licensed to sell retail alcohol to do through third-party delivery services. While specific regulation of alcohol delivery differs by state, at least 15 states and Washington, DC, currently allow some form of home alcohol delivery through third-party services, like Instacart and Drizly.
In addition to the benefits to consumers, access to these specialized services could benefit grocery stores, particularly smaller ones that may not have their own fleet of delivery people. This is especially true if voters approve Initiative 121, also on Colorado’s 2022 ballot, which would allow grocers to sell wine in addition to beer.
Initiative 122 could also benefit small liquor stores, as well, who might be able to increase their capacity for deliveries throughout the state.
Finally, the Initiative would certainly be beneficial to residents and visitors to Colorado, particularly those accustomed to the on-demand alcohol delivery available in other states.