The coronavirus has seriously stifled the travel industry for the past year-and-a-half, but if you live in Hancock County, you can now go on a “Booze Cruise” without ever leaving your house.
A new Diamondhead-based business, Booze Cruise is the first legally-permitted alcohol delivery service in the state of Mississippi.
It’s the brain-child of long-time pals and Ole Miss grads Anthony Depreo, Scott Tartavoulle and Joel Salsbury.
The Mississippi Legislature made liquor home delivery legal in July of this year, and the Booze Cruise partners hit the ground running, going through a stringent permitting process with the Mississippi Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
“We can deliver beer, wine and liquor, and we’re covering the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Oxford and Starkville, and now Nashville,” Depreo said.
“We have franchised out to other cities,” Depreo said, “but as of right now, we’re the only permitted liquor delivery service in Mississippi.”
Even though they have franchises in Oxford, Starkville and Nashville, Depreo said, all the actual business decisions are made in Hancock County.
“We’re trying to expand quickly,” Tartavoulle said. “We want to cover every major city in Mississippi in a year. We want to be pioneers in the industry — instead of some out-of-state company coming in here and shipping everything off to California, we want to headquarter here and keep everything in Mississippi.”
Depreo is no newcomer to the home-delivery game — he started Tiki Delivery in May 2018, the first restaurant-to-home delivery service in Hancock County. He and partner Colin Byrd, of Waveland, and their employees delivered food from more than 90 restaurants from Waveland to Gulfport. Waitr bought Tiki in December 2020.
Depreo said the service was a huge boon for local restaurants during the pandemic, and now Booze Cruise is set up to help local mom & pop liquor stores and — most importantly — help keep drunk drivers off the road.
“Our slogan is ‘You drink, we drive,’” Depreo said. “Mississippi has a huge problem with drinking and driving, and it’s a thing we’re trying to help with.”
In order to keep their permit, the Booze Cruise partners have to be extremely careful about checking IDs.
“We do hold all the liability,” Depreo said. “It’s on us to make sure our customers are not underage. It’s not a situation where underage people can get alcohol. We can only physically deliver it to people 21 and older.”
Currently, Booze Cruise delivers products from Got Shots? Wine & Liquor and 2 Back-O-Town in Diamondhead; Cocktail Wine & Liquor and Smoke & Ale in Waveland; and Bay Breeze in Bay St. Louis; Long Beach Market & Deli; as well as Chandeleur Brewing in Gulfport, but they want to expand.
“We’re with the local people, and that’s the way we want it,” Tartavoulle said.
You can contact Booze Cruise through Facebook, or via their app, which you can get on any Apple or Android phone at www.boozecruise.app.