Buying Liquor at Walmart? Read This First!

Heading to Walmart to pick up some whiskey, vodka, tequila or other spirits? Smart move – Walmart‘s prices on liquor are hard to beat. But before you head to the liquor aisle, there are a few key things you should know as a shopper.

As someone who‘s purchased more than my fair share of gin and bourbon at Walmart, let me walk you through what to expect, from navigating store availability to getting the best deals. Consider this your insider’s guide to buying liquor at Walmart!

Store Availability Can Vary

The very first thing to keep in mind is that not every Walmart sells liquor. Hard to believe, right? But depending on local and state liquor laws, only about half of Walmart locations have liquor available in-store.

Some states like Oklahoma and Texas prohibit liquor sales entirely at Walmart and grocery stores due to regulatory restrictions. Other states like Colorado and New Mexico allow liquor sales statewide. And even within the same state, individual Walmart store policies can impact whether liquor is sold.

So before making a special trip, use Walmart’s website or mobile app to check liquor availability at your desired store. Or give them a quick call – the customer service desk will know right away if that location stocks spirits or not. Nothing worse than getting your hopes up for a vodka run, only to find an empty liquor cabinet!

Pro Tip: Use Walmart’s mobile app to locate liquor availability at stores near you on-the-go. This can really come in handy if you’re traveling or visiting a new area.

Walmart Follows All Alcohol Regulations

Booze laws vary wildly across states, counties and cities in the US. But one thing‘s for sure – Walmart strictly adheres to all local liquor rules and regulations wherever it does business. You can count on Walmart to stick to the letter of the law when it comes to selling spirits.

For example, in Utah where liquor laws are notoriously strict, Walmarts can’t sell until after 11am and have other restrictions. Walmart stores in New Orleans close liquor sales at midnight per the city‘s alcohol ordinances. And in states like Oregon where liquor can‘t be self-scanned, Walmart diveres shoppers with spirits to manned registers.

No matter how confusing or patchwork the rules, Walmart makes sure to abide. So you never have to second guess about legality when buying liquor there.

Fun Fact: Blue laws prohibiting Sunday liquor sales are still on the books in 10 US states. But Walmarts in those states simply adjust operations to comply.

online buying JUST for in-store pickup

Walmart offers super convenient online grocery ordering and delivery…for most items, that is. Unfortunately liquor is excluded from home delivery due to regulations prohibiting shipping alcohol.

If you want to order liquor using Walmart’s website or mobile app, you’ll have to select in-store pickup when you checkout. You’ll pick a timeframe to swing by and grab your bottle(s) from the designated pickup area – just don’t forget your valid photo ID or they won’t release the liquor to you!

While not as convenient as direct shipping, it still makes snagging spirits you want easy breezy through online ordering. Beats wandering the aisles aimlessly, if you ask me.

Pro Tip: Selecting a late night pickup window from 10pm – midnight will get you in and out when stores aren’t as busy.

Selection Really Varies

If you’re used to liquor megastores with endless aisles of spirits, Walmart’s selection may surprise you. Some locations live up to the hype with liquor departments to rival specialty shops. But others…not so much. Especially smaller format Walmarts or ones in less booze-friendly areas.

You can generally count on core offerings – major vodka brands like Smirnoff, best-selling whiskeys like Jack Daniels, Bacardi rum, etc. But fringe stuff like craft gin or obscure tequila varieties? That’s hit or miss depending on your store.

If hunting for a rare bottle, call ahead to check availability or be prepared to potentially special order. For general shopping though, Walmart should have you covered.

Insider Info: Selection is usually best at Supercenter locations with full grocery sections. Neighborhood Markets have more limited liquor variety.

Beats Most Retailers on Price

Why deal with subpar selection and varying availability? For the jaw-droppingly low prices, of course! Walmart leverages their massive size and scale to get wholesale deals few retailers can match. The result? Liquor prices that beat most supermarkets, warehouse clubs, liquor stores, and other national chains.

To give you an idea, Grey Goose Vodka goes for around $35 per 750mL bottle at Walmart. The exact same sized bottle is $10 more at Kroger and $15 more at Albertsons. That adds up over time!

However, Costco still edges out Walmart when it comes to the absolute lowest per volume pricing in some cases. But you have to buy in bulk. Overall, Walmart wins for everyday liquor prices on standard quantities.

750mL Walmart Price Kroger Price
Grey Goose Vodka $34.97 $44.99
Jack Daniel‘s Whiskey $24.98 $26.49
Bacardi Rum $19.92 $23.49

Prices at time of writing based on local Walmart and Kroger listings for national brand liquors.

App Finds Exact Aisle Locations

Locating a 12-pack of cider in a 181,000 square foot Supercenter is no joke. But the Walmart app makes it easy breezy to find exactly where any liquor product lives – down to the precise aisle number, shelf and slot.

Next time you’re hunting for Fireball or any other elusive spirit, first open the app and search for the product. Tap “Check in store” to see real-time inventory. Then look for the “Aisle Location” displayed to get turn-by-turn directions right to that bottle.

No more aimless wandering past laundry detergent and kitty litter to find the tequila – the app brings liquor right to you!

Pro Tip: Save yourself multiple trips by building a full liquor list in the app first. You can check all the aisle numbers at once.

Mistakes Happen! Exchanges and Returns Accepted.

We’ve all been there – you grab a bottle of flavored vodka on a whim that just doesn’t suit your taste buds once you crack it open at home. At most liquor stores, you’re stuck with that purchase forever. But returns and exchanges are fully allowed on unopened liquor bottles at Walmart!

As long as the seal is intact, Walmart will happily swap out or refund any liquor within 90 days, no questions asked. Simply bring the unopened bottle and your receipt back to customer service.

Of course, this only applies to Walmart liquor purchases – can’t go returning empty bottles from elsewhere now. But for the times when you change your mind, it’s a nice perk.

Fun Fact: Up to $14 billion in merchandise is returned at Walmart annually. Liquor makes up a tiny fraction, but the policy still applies!

Walmart Grocery Pickup – The Game Changer

My personal favorite way to buy liquor at Walmart is via Grocery Pickup. Here’s how it works to save you major time:

  • Browse the liquor selection in the app and order what you want.
  • Select a pickup window time convenient for you.
  • Park in any Grocery Pickup parking spot at your arrival time.
  • Check in on the app – they’ll bring your liquor right out to you!

No wandering aisles, standing in checkout lines, or hefting heavy bottles around the store. And payment happens online, so showing ID is all you need to do upon arrival. Absolute game changer!

Pro Tip: With pickup, you can add liquor to existing grocery orders. Knock out all your errands in one quick stop.

Third Party Delivery Expanding

Imagine liquor deliveries dropping right at your doorstep, just like Amazon orders and takeout food. Walmart is now making this an emerging reality through delivery partnerships with services like DoorDash in select markets where allowed.

Instead of pickup, eligible zip codes now have the option for same-day delivery on Walmart liquor orders through third parties. Boeing it right to you never felt so good!

Check and enter your zip to see if delivery is supported in your area yet. Still rolling out, but exciting possibilities ahead!

Walmart‘s Own Booze Brands

Beyond big names like Bacardi and Jack Daniels, Walmart also offers store-owned liquor brands at select locations. These include budget-friendly vodkas, gins, rums, tequilas and more under labels like Oak Leaf, Paramount, and Excelsior.

For example, Oak Leaf bourbon sells for under $20 per 1.75 L bottle – a steal compared to Jim Beam and other major brands. The quality may not be quite as high, but Walmart’s brands let you stretch your liquor dollars further.

Fun Fact: Oak Leaf wine turned out to be a huge hit – Walmart’s #1 best-selling wine brand today, exceeding $250 million in annual sales!

Yes, You Can Use Walmart Gift Cards for Liquor!

If Aunt Sally gifted you a $100 Walmart gift card for the holidays, feel free to put it towards liquor! Walmart gift cards can be used to purchase alcohol where it’s sold in store.

The only catch is if your liquor total exceeds your gift card balance, you’ll need to cover the remainder with another payment method. But gift cards can be combined with other tender types at checkout if needed.

So your next vodka run is covered! Although gift cards can’t be used for alcohol delivery orders – in-store only. But still, a great option for gifting flexibility.

Minors Can Be Present with Adult Purchaser

According to liquor laws, having your kiddos or under 21 friends present while buying spirits at Walmart won’t get you in trouble. As long as the actual purchaser is of legal age, it’s totally fine for minors to tag along to the liquor department.

However, Walmart employees do reserve the right to refuse sales if they suspect you’re buying for minors. Never a bad idea to avoid gray areas by shopping solo if possible. But overall, not an issue bringing your whole crew along.

Good To Know: Walmart prohibits minors from purchasing alcohol, even as gift purchases. Must be 21+ to buy, regardless of who gift is for.

Price Matching Finds Even Lower Deals

Walmart already has amazing liquor prices. But you can actually save even more through their price match guarantee!

If you spot a better deal at Target, GasBuddy, grocery stores or other major retailers, Walmart will match the price at checkout when you show proof. Same brands and sizes only – but still an awesome way to maximize your savings on spirits.

Between the everyday low prices and potential price matching, Walmart is my go-to for price-comparing booze against competitor listings. Get the best value every time!

Pro Tip: Snap a photo of the lower liquor price you spotted elsewhere to make price match verification easy for Walmart associates.

Rigorous Training for Alcohol Sales

Ever wonder how prepared Walmart employees are to sell liquor responsibly? Extensively trained is the answer! Associates must complete robust training programs around alcohol retailing before workingregisters in liquor departments.

This includes proper ID checking, recognizing fake IDs, handling intoxicated customers, obeying liquor laws, identifying straw purchases, and more. Routine refreshers also keep knowledge up-to-date.

So next time an associate at Walmart asks to see your ID when you know you look of age, take comfort in knowing it‘s quality training, not personal! Strict alcohol protocols are a good thing for everyone.

Good To Know: Walmart’s Responsible Alcohol policy exceeds state and federal training requirements for retail employees.

Self-Checkout Expanding for Liquor

Love the ease of self-checkout? At Walmart locations where allowed by state liquor laws, you can often scan spirits right at the self-service kiosks now too.

Select your vodka, rum, etc. then head to any open self-checkout instead of waiting in the manned register line. Scan away! Just know associates will still ask to see your valid ID when it‘s time to pay.

This makes whipping through liquor purchases fast and convenient. But in some areas, liquor is still treated as an age-restricted item that needs to go through a cashier. Depending on your store, give self-checkout a try for spirits!

The Takeaways

After all this, your next liquor run at Walmart will be smooth and savvy. To recap, be sure to:

  • Confirm your store sells liquor before going
  • Bring valid photo ID if you look under 40
  • Use mobile app to check inventory and prices
  • Remember in-store pickup only for online orders
  • Compare deals and price match if possible
  • Utilize grocery pickup for liquor convenience
  • Ask associates for help finding products
  • Enjoy the amazing prices on spirits!

Cheers to smart liquor shopping at Walmart! No matter what you’re drinking, stay safe and never drink and drive.

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