Naperville residents can have beer, wine and hard liquor delivered to their door without restriction, a service that might need to be governed by city rules, members of the Naperville Liquor Commission say.
The topic was discussed last week when commissioners were asked to approve a request from Miss Kitty’s Saloon to begin delivery. Because the business owner already has a Class C liquor license, allowing for the sale of packaged liquor, there was no prohibition keeping the 634 E. Ogden Ave. bar from selling alcohol to be delivered to a home or business.
“Downers Grove does have an ordinance (governing the delivery of alcoholic products),” said Mayor Steve Chirico, who serves as the head of the Liquor Commission. “We have no regulation. In Naperville there is nothing preventing you from doing this.”.
Commissioner Chuck Maher endorsed the idea of following Downers Grove’s lead.
“I like language of the Downers Grove ordinance,” Maher said. “It gives directions and expectations. Not a bad way to go if we find out if there’s any problems. I think getting a signature and keeping record of what was received like Downers Grove” is a good idea.
Commissioner Joe Vozar, however, was not so sure home delivery of alcoholic beverage was a smart move.
“I’m torn on this one,” Vozar said. “We now have 250ish licenses and permits out there. We know where and when most of the liquor changes hands. We have a boundary around it. This opens it up to how many houses we have in Naperville, and to all the 18- and 17-year-olds trying to beat the system.”
Senior Assistant City Attorney Jennifer Lutzke said alcohol delivery services are not allowed to “accept payment at the door,” so purchases would need to be made by some electronic method.
With the looming threat of possible regulations, the new owner of Miss Kitty’s seemed open to abiding by recommendations suggested at the meeting.
“Delivery is as easy as calling up DoorDash and creating a menu. I can have one of my employees doing it (instead). They are BASSET trained,” said Bryan Werschulz, who owns Walker’s Charhouse and took over ownership of Miss Kitty’s this spring.
Several commissioners said they preferred delivery done by a Naperville employee who has completed the Beverage Alcohol Sellers and Servers Education and Training program, but not all of them.
“I don’t see why they have to be BASSET trained. It’s not necessary,” Commissioner Pam Davis said.
The convenience is a factor that needs to be considered for the benefit of residents, said Commissioner Whitney Robbins, who buys groceries and liquor from Whole Foods through her Amazon account.
“I see value in BASSET training because of the whole exercise in learning what is a fake ID,” Vozar said. “I have wineries deliver to my home. I don’t know if my UPS guy is BASSET trained. It’s here. We have to address it one way or another.”
While Chirico noted that Jewel, Mariano’s and Pea Pods already offer online ordering and delivery of groceries, including alcohol, he still strongly advised Miss Kitty’s to “use your BASSET-trained employees” for the service.
Werschulz said all his employees are at least 21 years old and receive BASSET training within 60 days of hiring as per state law. He offered to restrict alcohol delivery to a “radius limit” as DoorDash does.
“That would be cleaner,” Naperville Police Detective Dan Riggs. “I agree that’s logical.”
Miss Kitty’s is one of five taverns in Naperville with a license that allows packaged liquor sales, opening up the possibility that the other four bars could begin their own alcohol delivery service as well.
Diane Moca is a freelance reporter for the Naperville Sun.