Hy-Vee plans to offer liquor delivery in Lincoln and Omaha.

The opening of a new Hy-Vee distribution center in the Omaha area this summer will allow the grocery chain to add liquor delivery service in Lincoln, company officials said Wednesday.

Already, Lincoln shoppers using Hy-Vee's Aisles Online can order liquor for pick up in stores, Hy-Vee's Dan Gubbins told the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission.

And customers can have food and other nonalcoholic products delivered to their homes and businesses in Lincoln through the Aisles Online program.

But the new fulfillment center set to employ 500 people in Sarpy County will be used to fill orders ranging from bread to alcohol for those seeking the convenience of grocery delivery, Gubbins said.

Hy-Vee officials believe liquor delivery will comprise only a small percentage of its e-commerce business, and the center's primary mission will be to keep individual store shelves stocked and clear aisles of staff plucking items to fill orders for pickup and delivery, Gubbins said.

Alcohol delivery in Nebraska is legal though not widely used, Liquor Control Commission Executive Director Hobert Rupe said.

Hy-Vee's new delivery service raised questions among commissioners who wanted to know about the safeguards in place to ensure minors don't get served.

"I'm just looking at what doors get opened," Omaha Commissioner Harry Hoch said.

In Lincoln, Drizly delivers alcohol picked up from partner liquor stores but doesn't offer same-day delivery, according to its website.

With Hy-Vee, orders for pickup and delivery will be marked so staff know alcohol is included and an ID needs to be checked, Gubbins told the commission. 

An app used in this process requires the ID be scanned so as to verify the recipient is at least 21, Gubbins said. 

Because most deliveries contain food, orders aren't dropped off at unattended homes, and alcohol brought to a home where there isn't an of-age adult will have its delivery rescheduled, he said.

Each delivery will include a $9.95 fee, though customers can get free delivery by paying for an annual membership, Gubbins said.

Delivery orders are paid for during online checkout. So delivery drivers won't carry cash, which company officials believe makes them less of a target for robbers, he told the commission.

Delivery is offered between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., and not all orders are guaranteed for same-day delivery.

The Liquor Control Commission will draft a memorandum of understanding with Hy-Vee as liquor regulators in Iowa did, outlining how the alcohol will be inventoried and handled in compliance with Nebraska regulations.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2657 or rjohnson@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSRileyJohnson.



Riley Johnson reports on local government in Lincoln.

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