LINCOLN — People in Omaha with a hankering for some beer and pizza rolls now will be able to get both delivered to their door.
The Nebraska Liquor Control Commission approved a liquor license Tuesday for goPuff, an online convenience store that already offers home delivery of snacks, nonalcoholic drinks and assorted essentials in Omaha.
But the commission put off a decision about Hy-Vee’s proposal for a different model of online ordering and delivery of alcohol, saying the model raises legal questions.
The Des Moines-based grocery store chain wants to add beer, wine and liquor to the range of items that customers can order from a new fulfillment center in Sarpy County.
Karl Kruse, Hy-Vee executive vice president of supply chain, said the plan is to offer home delivery or allow customers to pick up online orders at local Hy-Vee stores. Both options are available for ordinary grocery items now. Iowa allows alcohol to be included in orders; Nebraska does not.
Ultimately, some stores would have free-standing kiosks in their parking lots where people could drive up and collect their orders without leaving their vehicles, he said. The first such kiosk has been open for two weeks in Iowa.
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“The challenge is we have customers who want this,” Kruse said. “What we want to know is what we can do within the limits of the law.”
Hobert Rupe, the commission’s executive director, said the answer is not clear.
He said Nebraska law allows for online ordering and home delivery of alcohol, as long as the products are paid for in advance, are delivered by people age 21 or older and are not delivered to minors or intoxicated people.
The goPuff model complies with those requirements, according to Hadji Maloumian, the Philadelphia-based company’s associate general counsel.
Customers must prove their age when ordering and when receiving the alcohol. The same person who ordered the alcohol must receive it and his or her identification is scanned to verify the age. Drivers must be at least 21 and must go through server training.
Maloumian said the Omaha service also will comply with special conditions set by the city, including no sales of mini-bottles of alcohol and no deliveries after 1 a.m.
GoPuff, which has operations in 40 states and offers alcohol delivery in 51 locations, is pursuing a liquor license for its Lincoln operation.
Rupe said Nebraska law limits the storage and transportation of alcohol by a retailer. Moving alcohol from the fulfillment center, which would have one liquor license, to a store with a different liquor license appears to violate those limits.
The state also specifies the areas to be served by wholesale businesses, while the Hy-Vee plan would move alcohol from one wholesale area to another.
Commission members also questioned how Hy-Vee planned to train delivery drivers and keep alcohol out of the hands of minors.
“I think the issue for us is we think this is the future and we want to do this right,” said commission member Bruce Bailey of Lincoln.
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Two-year-old Hannah Bonnot of Denver, Colorado, stands in awe before "Mountain Outlaw" taken at Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, on display at Tom Mangelsen's "Life in the Wild" exhibition at the Durham Museum in Omaha, Nebraska.
A deer walks through the tall grass at Chalco Hills Recreation Area in Omaha, Nebraska.
Canada geese fly over Flanagan Lake at sunset in Omaha, Nebraska.
The sunset is reflected in some open water at Flanagan Lake in Omaha, Nebraska.
Ian Murphy, canvases the nearly 90 snow people which are on display at the Leavenworth Park in Omaha, Nebraska. Neighbors such as Murphy say the snow people didn't exist yesterday and claim it happened over night or possibly early this morning.
Husker fans rock The Rock and corn hats in the first half as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln men's basketball team hosts Michigan State at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska.
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The setting moon is framed by some dried flowers at Lake Zorinsky in Omaha, Nebraska.
A person goes for a run along the snow covered trails at Lake Zorinsky in Omaha, Nebraska.
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Sarpy County Sheriff's Deputy Darin Morrissey rides an ATV through floodwaters in Hawaiian Village.
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Lincoln Pius X's Austin Jablonski holds up the net after his team defeated Omaha Roncalli in the championship game in the Class B Nebraska state basketball tournament at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
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Lincoln Pius X's Charlie Easley, left, and and Omaha Roncalli's Alexander Rodgers stretch for a loose ball during the championship game in the Class B Nebraska state basketball tournament at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
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Aurora's Kaleb Moural wipes the sweat from his face during the second half against Omaha Roncalli during a semifinal game in the Class B Nebraska state basketball tournament at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Bob the cat looks on from a basket in a boat after being rescued from floodwaters in Hamburg, Iowa.
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Lincoln East's Charlotte Bovaird practices her shot and she and her teammates warm up in the hallways before the start of the game. Lincoln East played Millard South in a Class A first-round basketball game during the girls state basketball tournament at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska.
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