By Shereen Siewert

WAUSAU — City officials are contemplating a ban on drive-up alcohol sales, a response to the growing popularity of online ordering and pickup services.

Customers are increasingly purchasing alcohol through such services, which are known industry-wide as “click and collect,” according to the Wisconsin Alcohol Police Project. To include alcohol in “click and collect” sales, retailers are required to take specific actions at the municipal level to comply with state law.

In Wisconsin, alcohol sales must be face-to-face and take place on a licensed premises. The purchaser must be at least 21 years old and cannot be intoxicated, while the seller must be a licensed operator or under the supervision of a licensed operator.

Applebee’s and other retailers are asking municipalities including Wausau to designate parking stalls used for “click and collect” deliveries as part of the licensed premises for the alcohol license to allow alcohol sales.

In a Sept. 26 memo, Jeff Gress, chairperson of Healthy Marathon County, cautioned city officials to carefully consider the impact of allowing greater access to alcohol in Wausau. Gress pointed to strong evidence that increasing the number of outlets where alcohol is purchased increases consumption, while at the same time putting an extra burden on the business.

The practice remains banned in a range of other Wisconsin communities including Madison and Neenah. Madison officials in December recommended approving “click and collect” alcohol sales, but Mayor Paul Soglin vetoed the service weeks later.

Members of the city’s public health and safety committee will consider the issue during their regularly scheduled meeting, slated for 5:15 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15 at City Hall. The meeting is open to the public.

3 replies on “Wausau mulls ban on drive-up alcohol sales”

  1. I do not drink, so none of this will apply to me ever. But, I think it is interesting the restaurants want to deliver drinks to cars. I do not know if THAT is a good idea.

    1. I get what you’re saying, Dino, and as an AOD Board member I am hesitant to allow greater access to alcohol. But what I think I heard during the initial meeting about this (I’d have to check to be sure) stems from a request from Applebees to offer those single serve wine bottles for sale when people pick up their entrees curbside. They’re sealed, and they’re probably sold at a premium, so I am skeptical of the real impact of this. It feels a little like we’re creating policy for a problem that doesn’t exist.
      Wausau has bigger issues to worry about. Still, I can see the need for regulation if this becomes more widespread.

  2. I am totally cool with NOT allowing curbside whatever booze someone has cooked up. I think we have good enough access to alcohol and do not need to find ways to get booze in cars.

    This does not seem like a thing yet.

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