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Five O'Clock Somewhere: States pave the way for alcohol home delivery 

One for the road — It might seem like a no-brainer, but alcohol delivery services are not as common as you might think. After all, when a party is really going, and the hosts are as likely as their guests to be blitzed, chances are somebody will have to go on a liquor run. But with alcohol delivery, a responsible, sober, professional driver takes care of the job, taking at least one drunk driver off the roads. Despite the good sense the alcohol delivery concept makes, it seems it would be difficult to implement in Michigan. At least we couldn't find anything assuring us that it is legal, aside from "catering" services, which are something completely different.

But that may be changing. For example, look at what's happening in the Keystone State, where a ruling by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board last month laid the groundwork for home delivery of beer. According to advisory opinions, the sale just has to occur at the establishment, which also has to purchase a transporter-for-hire license.

Or look to Indiana, where the alcohol-delivery website (and app) Drizly has added Indianapolis to the list of cities they serve, and business has been gangbusters. Michael DiLorenzo, senior vice president of Drizly marketing, said weather was another major factor driving business. As temperatures dropped, orders rose; in one day alone, sales jumped almost 50 percent.

Given the business-friendly stance of Lansing, this is something you'd think they'd actually act upon. You're unleashing the power of business to make a profit, after all. That said, not everybody agrees that alcohol delivery is a hot idea. Substance abuse experts say the service makes it too easy for problem-drinkers to get booze. (So does living above the liquor store, for that matter.)

Poisoned by booze — You may have heard about the rash of poisoning deaths in India from people drinking homemade hooch that contained methyl alcohol. In northern India, a shop owner sold the beverage to a number of spectators at a cricket match. Dozens fell ill and more than 100 were hospitalized. The symptoms indicated poisoning by methyl alcohol, the bad kind that blinds you and stops you from breathing.

Interestingly, a search for the incident called up another piece by Lily Rothman for Slate, describing how the U.S. government ensured that "denatured alcohol" was poisonous as part of its war against alcohol.

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October 21, 2020

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