More Wisconsin grocers seek to offer curbside alcohol pickup
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — More Wisconsin grocers are asking municipalities for liquor license extensions so they can take alcohol purchased online out to customers’ vehicles.
Walmart and Pick ’n Save first started offering curbside pickup of beer, wine and spirits in the Milwaukee and Fox Valley areas in 2017. Other stores quickly followed, but the practice has been met with criticism that it could allow minors to buy alcohol or make liquor access easier in a state that’s known to overindulge, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.
Residents ages 25 to 34 are driving the trend toward online grocery shopping, but grocers are hoping that older shoppers will also embrace it.
“The millennials have really been the early adopters of the overall e-commerce trend,” said James Hyland, vice president of communications for Roundy’s Supermarkets. “Clearly, they’re the demographic that appreciates the curbside alcohol pickup option. The demographic, though, is really spread across the entire spectrum of our customer base.”
Hyland said Wisconsin has a few municipalities that don’t allow curbside pickup of alcohol, “but they’re the exception rather than the rule.”
The city of Neenah is among those that have been asked to amend retail liquor licenses to allow for the pickup option, though it hasn’t happened yet.
Alderwoman Marge Bates said the practice could worsen binge drinking in the Fox Valley.
Former Madison Alderwoman Ledell Zellers said she has mixed feelings about the practice, but she voted to allow grocery stores to use curbside pickup at a Tenney-Lapham neighborhood meeting in March.
“People with kids, you know, don’t want to bring their kids in,” Zellers said. “They can just pick things up including beer or wine. The other side of it is, as most people probably know, we are a state that is known for drinking and sometimes binge drinking.”
Wisconsin Grocers Association President Brandon Scholz said he expects online grocery sales to grow rapidly.
“Does it exacerbate an existing problem? Does it create a new problem? I think those are legitimate discussions people should have, but when you get right down to it this is a customer service issue,” Scholz said. “This is something people want. It’s not being forced on anybody.”
Information from: Wisconsin Public Radio, http://www.wpr.org