Trending: Owning an Amazon delivery business: The risks, rewards and economic realities of the tech giant’s new program for entrepreneurs

Don't look for beer or wine coming out of the AmazonFresh trucks. The company appears to have stopped alcohol sales, at least in Seattle.
Don’t look for beer in that AmazonFresh truck. The company has stopped alcohol sales in Seattle.

For the past year, Seattle software engineer Philip Beber has routinely jumped on to AmazonFresh to order beers for his company’s office. But Beber, who works at video conferencing company Fuze, started noticing something a little quirky last week.

The 'beer run' may be a more commonplace routine now that delivery services such as Amazon and Instacart have stopped selling beer and wine. Photo: Kurt Schlosser
The ‘beer run’ may be a more commonplace routine now that delivery services such as Amazon and Instacart have stopped selling beer and wine. Photo: Kurt Schlosser

Many of the favorite India Pale Ales that he routinely ordered for the staff were no longer in stock. Then, on Wednesday, Beber noticed that the entire beer and wine selection sold through Amazon’s online grocery delivery service was mysteriously gone.

Curious, Beber emailed customer support at AmazonFresh: “We are running low at the office and this could cause serious problems,” Beber wrote.

That message was greeted with this response from AmazonFresh customer support:

I’m truly sorry that the beer and wine selections have been removed. Unfortunately we really are not sure if or when the item will become available at this time. I completely understand how inconvenient and frustrating this can be. I will forward this feedback and comments to our business team.

Beber is not alone. At least one other GeekWire reader in Seattle noticed the lack of alcohol on AmazonFresh over the past day.

Philip Beber
Philip Beber

When I perused AmazonFresh on Thursday morning, the only beer I could find was of the root beer variety. No results were returned when I searched for wine.

Amazon did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

Beber, for one, is annoyed that Amazon.com did not do a better job of communicating with its customers. And he’s considering switching to Drizly, a new online alcohol delivery service in Seattle, despite the fact that Beber said prices appear to be higher than AmazonFresh.

“It’s super annoying that Amazon has done this — removing beer without any announcement or setting any expectation as to when it might be returned,” he said. “It erodes my trust in them as a company. I wish they would communicate more around these things.”

AmazonFresh is not the only online grocery delivery service that has stopped selling booze.

Instacart halted sales of wine and beer last December, with the company saying that it “wanted to be proactive about compliance.” Instacart said it hoped to begin selling alcohol very soon, but as of Thursday no beer or wine was listed for a sale through the site at stores we searched in Seattle.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline

Comments

Job Listings on GeekWork

Find more jobs on GeekWork. Employers, post a job here.