The folks at the alcohol delivery service Drizly must have some serious beer muscles. A new story in Recode details the startup’s hopes and plans to beat Amazon to the punch when it comes to being the premium destination for beer, wine and liquor sales online.
Boston-based Drizly was founded in 2012 and through its mobile app it has created a business out of allowing customers to order alcohol and have it delivered within an hour. Recode writes that the company, which has raised more than $17 million in financing, now wants to expand to next-day, scheduled delivery as an option, to “drastically increase the number of liquor, wine and beer brands it can offer.”
Drizly’s service is currently available in 18 cities, including Seattle. The company makes money by licensing software to liquor stores that allows them to accept orders from the app.
The goal is to build the biggest online catalog of booze available for delivery in the country, so that someday it becomes the de facto e-commerce shop for online alcohol sales, according to Recode, which further writes:
Drizly believes an exclusive relationship it holds with the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America trade group, which has invested in the startup, gives it a distinct advantage in what is a highly regulated industry.
Amazon currently delivers alcohol in three markets — Seattle, New York City and San Diego — through its one-hour delivery service, Prime Now. In Seattle, it has its own liquor license, while in the other two cities it partners with local liquor stores. In an ideal world for Amazon, you’d think it would want to circumvent local stores as well as wholesalers and buy booze directly from the companies making it. But laws created in the wake of Prohibition make that difficult, which is why Drizly’s relationship with wholesalers appears to give it an advantage. For now.
Drizly CEO Nick Rellas told Recode that the business was never just about on-demand.
“It was actually about e-commerce and doing in alcohol what has happened in books and CDs. But we had to be humble about that because we’re a little tech startup.”
In April of 2015, GeekWire reported on how customers were frustrated by the removal of alcohol from AmazonFresh. The beer and wine selection available through Amazon’s online grocery delivery service had suddenly and mysteriously disappeared.
Later that summer, Amazon debuted the one- and two-hour delivery of beer, wine and liquor through its Prime Now service. GeekWire tested the service in Seattle, happily cracking a bottle of vodka in the newsroom 34 minutes after placing an order.
GeekWire also tested Drizly when it launched in Seattle back in November 2014. At the time, Rellas said, “We think we’re on to something” and “things are moving quickly for us.” He said the biggest concern was whether Drizly could convince people to opt for delivery over actually shopping at a physical liquor store.
“When we think about consumer behavior, it’s not a question of Amazon — it’s whether people can make that jump,” Rellas told GeekWire. “And we see that overwhelmingly, they are.”