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Alcohol compliance

The legal requirements for alcohol sales and delivery vary across regions. Retailers and Instacart must ensure that they are in compliance with these laws. Instacart has a compliance service which is used by all Instacart platforms, including Instacart Connect. When a cart or order contains alcohol, the request goes to the compliance service, which identifies the region and runs the compliance check.

Details used for the compliance check#

The following details are used in an alcohol compliance check:

  • Store address
  • Customer address
  • Customer address type (business or residential)
  • Customer date of birth
  • Delivery time and day
  • Alcohol type (wine, beer, or spirits)
  • Alcohol quantity

Responsibility for running the checks depend on whether Instacart has the list of items:

  • For delivery and pickup orders, Instacart is sent the list of items and runs the compliance check on all details.
  • For last mile delivery orders, Instacart is informed that the order contains alcohol, but doesn't have the list of items or the customer's date of birth. The retailer is responsible for ensuring that the order is compliant in terms of alcohol type, alcohol quantity, and the customer's age. Instacart is responsible for ensuring that the addresses and the delivery time and day are compliant.

Instacart Connect requests and compliance#

The following types of requests trigger the alcohol compliance check:

RequestDeliveryPickupLast mile delivery
List time slots for deliveryโœ…โœ…โŒ
Reserve a time slotโœ…โœ…โŒ
Create an orderโœ…โœ…โœ…
Update an orderโœ…โœ…โœ…

For delivery and pickup, if a time slot is not available for alcohol delivery, the time slot is marked as available=false and includes the reason; these time slots cannot be reserved or booked while the cart contains alcohol.

Instacart policy for alcohol delivery#

Instacart requires that shoppers and customers adhere to the following rules for orders containing alcohol:

  • In the United States and Canada, alcohol cannot be left unattended. If you're in a country other than the U.S. or Canada, please contact your Connect Account Manager and their legal partner to discuss local rules.
  • The customer must show an Instacart-accepted form of ID with their date of birth to prove that they are old enough to purchase alcohol in their region.
  • An underage person cannot accept the order on behalf of the customer. A person who is legally permitted to purchase alcohol can accept the order.
  • The customer cannot be intoxicated.

Alcohol at checkout#

Consider telling your customers about the Instacart policy for alcohol delivery. While Instacart does not require you to add this information, the customer experience is better if the customer knows what to expect.

Suggested Language "Hi Andrea, it looks like you have alcohol in your cart. Please have your ID ready for age verification when your shopper arrives. Please note that your shopper is unable to leave alcohol unattended or to deliver alcohol to an individual who is underage or appears intoxicated."

Ensure your site can handle the following scenarios for alcohol compliance in the customer's region:

  • Some time slots are not available due to regional laws governing alcohol delivery days and times.
  • The type or quantity of alcohol exceeds regional laws.
  • The customer is underage.
  • After a time slot is reserved, alcohol is added to the cart and the time slot is no longer compliant.
  • After an order is created, alcohol is added to the order and the time slot or order is no longer compliant.