Why towns are starting to regulate home liquor deliveries

One type of product commonly dropped off at suburban homes through grocery delivery services is causing towns to create new regulations, and it's not a food.

Alcohol deliveries are becoming more common, municipal leaders are beginning to realize, so they are taking steps to update their liquor codes accordingly.

"Right now we have no regulation on this," Naperville Mayor and Liquor Commissioner Steve Chirico said about alcohol delivery. "And obviously it's being done."

Naperville is not the only town to notice.

Thirty miles to the northeast, Wheeling enacted an alcohol delivery ordinance on Monday. The rule requires delivery drivers to be at least 21, to verify the recipient of the alcohol is at least 21, to collect a signature from the recipient and to keep a record of all deliveries and signatures.

The village also requires all people who deliver alcohol - whether they are employees of a delivery carrier, a liquor-licensed business in town or a third-party delivery service such as Peapod, Instacart or GrubHub - to receive some form of training on verifying identification,

Two towns east of Naperville, Downers Grove's regulations are similar to Wheeling's. But instead of the training requirement, the village mandates all alcohol delivery take place during regular liquor sales hours, typically 8 a.m. to 1 or 2 a.m., depending on the day.

Naperville liquor commissioners on Thursday looked mainly to Downers Grove for guidance as they pondered updating a code that offers no regulations on liquor delivery.

Their investigation came at the request of owner Bryan Werschulz of Miss Kitty's Saloon and Walker's Charhouse, who sought guidance on whether he could begin a delivery service from his businesses.

Commissioners said yes, although they advised him to use drivers who have completed Beverage Alcohol Sellers and Servers Education and Training, saying any regulation they create likely would require completion of the program.

Detective Dan Riggs, who teaches the training courses, said he would instruct future delivery drivers about how to spot fake IDs and how liability works if they deliver drinks to someone who proves underage or who later drives drunk.

Liquor commissioners, including Chuck Maher, said they like the idea of putting something on the books to give "direction and expectations" about how drink delivery is to take place. But they worried about how police would enforce the rules.

Chirico suggested compliance checks, in which the city could order alcohol from various services to determine if the driver would leave it with someone younger than 21.

Senior Assistant City Attorney Jennifer Lutzke plans to draft an ordinance for further liquor commission and city council review.

"It's here," liquor Commissioner Joe Vozar said about the service. "So we have to do something."

• Daily Herald staff writer Chacour Koop contributed to this report.

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