Global standards launched for online sale and delivery of alcohol as e-commerce booms during pandemic (May 2021)

  • New data from Euromonitor International* sees e-commerce grow by 33% globally, while total volume of alcohol sales fell by 6% year on year in 2020
  • New global standards enhance safeguards to prevent online alcohol sale and delivery to those underage or intoxicated, and where prohibited by law
  • Groundbreaking coalition spanning six continents between leading beer, wine, and spirits producers and 14 prominent global and regional online retailers, and e-commerce and delivery platforms
Today sees the launch of the first-ever global standards for the online sale and delivery of alcohol beverages. This international initiative is focused on supporting consumers’ increasing demands for greater convenience with enhanced standards of responsibility to prevent sale to those underage and to reduce harmful drinking.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of hospitality venues in most countries throughout 2020 resulted in global alcohol sales volumes declining by more than 6% year on year in 2020, there has been an acceleration in the shift to e-commerce with the sale and delivery of alcohol online increasing by 33% globally*. In the U.S., e-commerce grew by more than 100% with Brazil and Canada seeing growth rates of more than 300%.

In response to this trend, a global partnership of the 12 leading beer, wine, and spirits companies that form the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD) and 14 prominent global and regional online retailers, and e-commerce and delivery platforms have identified five key safeguards to help ensure that robust standards are in place throughout the entire supply chain and customer journey to combat harmful drinking.

The standards outlined in the document launched today include:
  • Improving safeguards and security measures that aim to prevent minors from being able to buy alcohol ​
  • Putting in place mechanisms to prevent beer, wine, and spirits being delivered to minors, to individuals showing visible signs of intoxication, or where prohibited by law
  • Providing tools, information, and education, or other support to drivers to empower them to deny delivery
  • Enhancing consumer information and control
  • Promoting global standards as a resource to support the development of national level codes and practices for the online sale and delivery of alcohol that build on local and national regulation 
The full details of the standards can be found here.
Albert Baladi, President and CEO of Beam Suntory and Chair of IARD CEO Group, said:
“This partnership reflects the shared determination of leading alcohol producers, online retailers and e-commerce platforms to combat the harmful use of alcohol in all its forms.
“These global safeguards for alcohol e-commerce cover the entire online purchase journey – starting from the moment a consumer begins the purchase process and travelling all the way through to the moment of delivery, helping ensure these orders don’t reach underage individuals or visibly intoxicated people.”
Henry Ashworth, IARD President and CEO, said:
“This is a true world-first initiative in raising standards of responsibility across the board for e-commerce. This international partnership has worked together tirelessly to set global standards for the online sale and delivery of alcohol beverages, taking further concrete steps towards the elimination of alcohol sales to minors. IARD is proud to have united the world’s leading drinks producers with leading online retailers and e-commerce platforms and we invite others to join us in this landmark collaboration to raise global standards.”

*Euromonitor International Proprietary Alcoholic Drinks data

Notes to Editors

  1. Euromonitor International Proprietary Alcoholic Drinks data


Top twenty markets by volume of e-commerce sales
Market Volume in million liters
E-commerce alcohol sales volume year-on-year growth 2019–2020
China 3,778.30 15.2%
USA 593.1 133.0%
United Kingdom 351 18.9%
France 255.1 43.2%
Japan 220.7 28.4%
Australia 178.4 12.1%
Germany 152.5 16.1%
Argentina 124.1 223.2%
Brazil 109.5 388.8%
Netherlands 101.1 81.2%
Mexico 91.6 74.1%
Italy 88.9 98.0%
Canada 66.9 300.6%
Belgium 55.4 35.8%
Spain 52.9 54.7%
Colombia 35.6 270.8%
Czech Republic 33.8 77.0%
Vietnam 33.3 125.0%
Sweden 27.9 35.4%
New Zealand 22.7 27.5%
2. The International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to reducing harmful drinking and promoting understanding of responsible drinking. We are supported by the leading global beer, wine, and spirits producers, who have come together for a common purpose: to be part of the solution in combating harmful drinking. To advance this shared mission, IARD works and partners with public sector, civil society, and private stakeholders.
3. The coalition of organizations to develop global e-commerce standards: 
Cornershop by Uber: Headquartered in San Francisco, Cornershop by Uber is a technology platform designed for consumers to find and purchase products from local supermarkets, independent grocery stores, and local specialty stores for scheduled or on-demand delivery in as little as 90 minutes. First launched in Chile, Cornershop was founded by friends Oskar Hjertonsson, Daniel Undurraga, and Juan Pablo Cuevas, and is now available in Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Perú, and the United States.
Coles Liquor: Coles Liquor is a national retailer with over 920 liquor stores across Australia and employing almost 6,000 people through our brands Liquorland, First Choice Liquor Market and Vintage Cellars as well as an online and corporate offer.
Drizly: Drizly is the largest online marketplace for alcohol in North America. We partner with thousands of retailers in more than 1,400 cities to empower them to grow their businesses and make our customers' good times better. Drizly is available to 100M+ customers and counting across the U.S. and Canada, offering a rich e-commerce shopping experience with personalized content, competitive and transparent pricing, and an unrivalled selection. 
Endeavour Drinks: Endeavour Group is Australia’s largest retail drinks and hospitality business. The Group employs 28,000 team members across its retail brands BWS, Dan Murphy’s, Cellarmasters, Langton’s, Shorty's and Jimmy Brings; its production and distribution arm Pinnacle Drinks; and its hotel business ALH. 
Glovo: Glovo is a pioneering multi-category delivery app and one of the world’s leading delivery platforms. Through the app, users can buy, collect and send any product within their city at any time. The company has more than 2.5 million monthly active users, over 25,000 associated partners worldwide and operates in 576 cities across 22 countries, including EEMEA, LATAM, and Sub-Saharan 
Grab: Grab is the leading everyday super app in Southeast Asia, providing everyday services that matter most to consumers. Today, the Grab app has been downloaded onto over 205 million mobile devices, giving users access to over 9 million drivers, merchants and agents. Grab offers the widest range of on-demand transport services in the region, in addition to food, package delivery, digital payments and financial services, across 394 cities in eight Southeast Asian countries. 
HipBar: HipBar is India's first alcohol-only home delivery platform operated through the HipBar Mobile Apps in iOS & Android versions. The Company - Hip Bar Private Limited was founded in 2015 by industry insiders with the desire to lead the digital transformation of the beverage alcohol industry, and help India drink wiser through technology. HipBar successfully operated the first government approved Home Delivery Pilot in 2017 in Bengaluru, where it developed protocols for a robust home delivery system that automated compliance at scale and delivered on a promise of 100% age verified deliveries for over 24 months. The HipBar home delivery service is currently offered in 4 Indian cities and its e-wallet service is currently operational in 25+ cities in India. is a leading technology driven e-commerce company transforming to become the leading supply chain-based technology and service provider. The company’s cutting-edge retail infrastructure seeks to enable consumers to buy whatever they want, whenever and wherever they want it. The company has opened its technology and infrastructure to partners, brands and other sectors, as part of its Retail as a Service offering to help drive productivity and innovation across a range of industries. is the largest retailer in China, a member of the NASDAQ100 and a Fortune Global 500 company. 
Jumia: Jumia is a leading e-commerce platform in Africa. It is built around a marketplace, Jumia Logistics, and JumiaPay. The marketplace helps millions of consumers and thousands of sellers to connect and transact. Jumia Logistics enables the delivery of millions of packages through our network of local partners. JumiaPay facilitates the payments of online transactions in the Jumia's ecosystem. With over 1 billion people and 500 million internet users in Africa, Jumia believes that e-commerce is making people's lives easier by helping them shop and pay for millions of products at the best prices wherever they live. E-commerce is also creating new opportunities for SMEs to grow, and job opportunities for a new generation to thrive. 
Mercado Libre: Founded in 1999, Mercado Libre is Latin America's leading e-commerce technology company. Through its primary platforms, Mercado and Mercado, it provides solutions to individuals and companies buying, selling, advertising, and paying for goods and services online. Mercado serves millions of users and creates a market for a wide variety of goods and services in an easy, safe and efficient way. The site is among the top 30 in the world in terms of page views and is the leading retail platform in unique visitors in the major countries in which it operates according to metrics provided by comScore Networks.  The Company is listed on NASDAQ (Nasdaq: MELI) following its initial public offering in 2007. 
Minbar Delivery: Minibar Delivery is the leading marketplace for on-demand delivery of wine, beer, liquor, mixers and more. We give users a better way to shop; connecting them with local liquor stores to offer the best selection of products and a personalized experience. Founded in New York in 2014, Minibar Delivery has quickly grown to serve more than 150 cities across the U.S with on-demand delivery, and more than 41 states with shipping. 
ReserveBar: ReserveBar offers the best of premium, reserve spirits, luxury champagne and fine wine as the perfect gift for any holiday, occasion or celebration. Faced with the need to send a gift of several bottles of premium vodka to a college friend, who lived across the country, the founders were frustrated to learn that no website existed that was devoted exclusively to gifting of spirits, wine and champagne that offered easy ordering; upscale gift packaging; and fast and reliable delivery. 
Retail Drinks Australia: Retail Drinks Australia is a national industry body that represents the interests of Australia’s packaged retail liquor stores, providing unwavering leadership, advocacy and support for its members. We act as a consistent unified voice with both industry and government stakeholders, with the objective of nurturing a stable political, social and commercial environment in which the retail liquor industry may grow sustainably. Our vision is to enhance the freedom to retail responsibly.
Uber Eats: Uber Eats is an on-demand platform and website that helps bring millions of people around the world the things they want, at the tap of a button. We partner with over 500,000 restaurants and merchants in more than 6,000 cities across six continents. From specialty local favorites to national brand names, groceries to household essentials and more, Uber Eats has what you want when you want it—with an average global delivery time of 30 minutes.