SALEM, Va. – You may have heard of drone delivery, but now it's time for a different type of service. Getting beer and wine right to your house is a growing business in Virginia, and Southwest Virginia is no exception.
Many people stop in the beer cooler on the way home from work or when going to a cookout to pick up some drinks. Now you can just pull out your phone and get it delivered right to you.
In the age of must have it cheap and must have it now, life just got a whole lot easier. Salem's GB gas station is one of three convenience stores in our area bringing the beer and wine right to people's homes.
"You've got Amazon and everybody else doing certain things, we want to bring you the same type of services at grocery store prices right to your doorstep," GB fuel manager Andy Gill said.
Virginia legalized home alcohol delivery in 2017. GB is one of about 450 statewide with the permit to do it. But most of the permit holders are breweries and wineries, There are few convenience stores getting in on it, and even fewer in our neck of the woods. There are two in the Roanoke Valley offering the service and one in Radford. But they are a growing niche.
"I really am glad Roanoke is stepping up in having this be the next big thing," delivery customer Tabbetha Smith said. "I think it's great that (GB) is there already."
The rules of the game are still the same. You must be 21 years old to purchase and consume, you must have your ID, and you can't be over-served. Deliveries can only be made to the person ordering, and all drivers license numbers are recorded and logged. Virginia ABC has regulatory control over the entire process and requires logs to be submitted.
Gill said the service is not about helping drunk people drink more, it's about adding a convenience to people with little time or limited mobility. There's a four case limit on what you can order. Gill thinks of himself as no different than the milkman or grocery delivery person.
"We're reinventing the idea in the modern age where home delivery is coming back and we're going back where we were at," Gill said.
GB has big goals with the addition of the new service. Gill said he expects to double his business based on being able to deliver to homes. For him, it's not just about the money, it's about keeping drunken drivers off the road as well, and that is a mutual point between the store and its customers.
"Nine times out of 10 (driving drunk) will either get (you) a DUI or hurt somebody really bad," delivery customer Frank Justice said. "I think this right here with what Andy (Gill) and GB is doing, the life they may save might be yours or mine."
Deliveries have quickly racked up. GB started delivering convenience store staples like snacks and sodas earlier this year. They can do lottery tickets if you're paying cash, too. Alcohol was the next big step and now with that under their belt, they're looking at what's next. They want a gas station on wheels where they can fill up your car without even leaving the driveway.
"Our goal is to eventually bring you soda, snacks, cigarettes, lottery tickets, beer and gasoline right to your doorstep," Gill said. "You never have to leave your house."
For the month of August, GB is offering free delivery. After that, delivery will come at a $2.99 charge. There's a 10-mile radius and delivery is offered between the hours of 2 p.m. and 10 p.m.