Harrell said his bill is a reaction to changing times.
“It’s just a response to consumer demand,” Harrell said. “One of the companies that delivers in other states had over 400,000 requests for delivery in calendar year 2019 for delivery, and they had to say ‘no’ to every one of them.
“Clearly, there is demand, and more and more people are ordering groceries online. It’s just a convenience for the consumer.”
Under HB 879, beer or wine couldn’t just be left on the front porch, like Amazon deliveries. The delivery person would have to check IDs to make sure the buyer is old enough to purchase alcohol.
HB 879 would allow local municipalities to opt out of allowing alcoholic beverage delivery. The liquor store lobby asked out of the bill, so Georgians wouldn’t be able to get a delivery from a liquor store.
House Regulated Industries Chairman Alan Powell, R-Hartwell, was a co-sponsor of the legislation and called it "a very good bill."
Amazon, which owns Whole Foods, has some concerns because the government classifies it as a carrier/shipper, and those kind of companies are excluded from making deliveries under the bill. That means Amazon couldn’t deliver beer or wine from its own grocery store.
HB 879 also will face a fight from religious conservatives, who worked hard to keep a lid on the Sunday sale of alcohol, calling it an attempt to chip away at the Christian Sabbath.
“We oppose all expansion of accessibility to alcohol,” said Mike Griffin, lobbyist for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board. “The more people who have alcohol accessible, the more they will buy and the more they will drink. And any time you increase consumption, it causes potential for problems.”