Alabama’s first drive-through liquor store opens in Calera

Beau Rourke and Robert Rourke recently opened R&R Wine and Liqour in Calera. (Photo by Jon Goering.)

Beau Rourke and Robert Rourke recently opened R&R Wine and Liqour in Calera. (Photo by Jon Goering.)

By LAUREN HEARTSILL DOWDLE/For the Reporter

CALERA – Calera residents can now buy alcohol and cigarettes without getting out of their car. The first drive-through liquor store in the state, R&R Wine and Liquor, opened on Highway 31 next to Subway and Publix in November 2013.

“Calera was in need of one,” said Beau Rourke, one of R&R’s owners. “Where I am, it’s at least 10 miles until the next one.”

While most visitors prefer to come in and browse the selection, many of the repeat customers take advantage of the drive-through option, he said.

“It’s really just about the convenience,” Rourke explained. “If they know they can go to a drive-through, instead of having to go inside a store, I think they’ll turn to us.”

In addition to saving customers time, having the drive-through also provides another level of safety for the R&R workers.

“After dark, the employees could lock the door and just use the drive-through,” said Rourke, who previously worked at Iron Horse Café.

There’s no state law against drive-through liquor stores, but Rourke did have to get approval from the city before opening the business.

“It helped that the building used to be a dry cleaners and already had a drive-through,” said Rourke, who owns the business with his father, Robert.

The store sells beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, mixers and juices. Rourke hopes to add a humidor and start offering cigars soon, as well.

“We should have all of your needs,” he said.

R&R Wine and Liquor is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Wednesday and then until 10 or 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, which are their busiest days.

“It’s a family-owned business and a one-stop shop,” Rourke said. “We try to get everything for everyone to be local and convenient.”