In densely populated urban centers like New York, Chicago and San Francisco, nearly every store in the neighborhood delivers. However, due to state and local liquor laws (you can thank the 21st Amendment for the hodge-podge of local regulations), “alcohol, wine and spirits delivery (is) the last frontier in convenience and on-demand delivery,” Devaraj Southworth, founder of New York-based Thirstie, told the NYTimes.com’s Danielle Beurteaux.
Startups like Thirstie and other spirits delivery service start-ups can operate within many state liquor laws because they are considered third-party marketing businesses. The spirits delivery startups include Drizly in Boston (in 14 cities), Klink in Orlando, Drinkos in Cincinnati, Saucey in Los Angeles, Ultra in New York (in nine cities), and DrinkFly, in Chicago
(Amazon is offering same-day grocery and alcohol delivery service with AmazonFresh in New York City, Seattle and parts of California.)
According to Beurteaux, the delivery companies typically form partnerships with brick-and-mortar stores, and consumers use the delivery company’s website or app to shop. Usually, the delivery time is less than an hour and checking identification is the job of the delivery driver. Most delivery services are free to customers with the delivery service being paid a fee or commission by the retailer.
The jury’s still out on whether this new generation of delivery service can succeed where others have failed (see: Webvan, Kozmo, et al) “We had to trudge through some mud,” Drizly co-founder Nicholas Rellas said. “It was a fight to get consumers, it was a fight to get stores, it was a fight to get investors.”