Drizly's Secret Weapon that Makes Alcohol Delivery a Reality

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Local liquor stores have offered delivery services for beer, wine, and liquor for a number of years now, yet many folks don’t know that the option even exists. Mainly, customers who make large purchases or are valued, consistent buyers of products such as wine cases, can get their booze delivered. As a service of mostly larger local liquor stores, alcohol delivery works as a kind of catering arm for stores, often providing corporations and individuals spirits for parties and events. Delivery can be expensive, slow, inconsistent, and quite a hassle for customers as well as liquor stores.

Drizly, a local alcohol delivery app, looks to make the process of beer, wine, and liquor delivery as simple as ordering a takeout pizza. With an approach that resembles Domino’s Pizza more than a catering service, the company has been delivering booze to Boston and some surrounding areas through its mobile app for a few months now.

How, you may ask is alcohol delivery possible? There must be some sort legality issue that prevented someone from trying this before?

The Drizly team, Spencer Frazier, Nicholas Rellas, and Justin Robinson, came up with the idea and were shocked to find out that no major legal hurdles stood in the way of creating the app. After consulting with a ton of lawyers, the main obstacle in making Drizly a reality had to do with ID verification.

So Drizly connected with Advanced ID Detection, a state of the art ID reader and verification company, and created Mident, their joint venture mobile ID verification system.

Justin Robinson, Drizly’s co-founder and CMO, gave a demonstration of Mident to me last week in Brighton. The product is like the ID verification machines used by bars, restaurants, and liquor stores to prevent the underage sale of alcohol. However, Mident bundles ID verification and an exhaustive ID guide to into a single mobile app.

When a customer makes a purchase through Drizly, they must go through an age verification process that reads and confirms that a customer is of age. The drivers, who work for the alcohol-providing liquor store then must confirm, with Mident, the validity of the purchaser's ID upon delivery.

The legal onus falls upon the liquor stores, who take the same responsibility as they do selling alcohol in-store. Drivers become an extension of employees working at the store’s checkout counter. Mident then becomes a tool for trained alcohol sales people to make delivery of beer, wine, and liquor a possibility.

As Robinson said, “Our ID verification product can’t be beat, we know if someone is going to be 21 when a driver gets to a delivery.”

Before it launched in private alpha in March, Drizly formed a vital partnership with Gordon’s Liquors in Watertown. Gordon’s is currently the main store out of which Drizly’s deliveries originate. The service delivers to most of Boston as well as parts of Brookline, Newton and Cambridge; however, Drizly is looking to expand their liquor store providers and delivery zone very soon.

A typical delivery takes between 20-60 minutes. There is a $20 minimum for purchase and a delivery fee of $5, which goes entirely to the liquor store.

Drizly earns revenue from selling zip-code subscriptions to liquor stores for the opportunity to be the alcohol provider for a specific service area. Additionally, the company hopes to leverage the wealth of data and advertising metrics it is collecting, which is unlike anything available in the beverage industry today.

Some early analysis has helped Drizly figure out who its target customers are. For instance, an average Drizly user is thirty-one years old, which is pretty close to Drizly’s target customer age. The majority of orders are large purchases and tend to be higher-end liquor purchases. In Boston, Southie has provided the largest customer base thus far.

The chance to innovate in a sector that has had little in the way of technological advancement over the years is also an attractive proposition for Drizly.

“The liquor store industry is so old school, so devoid of technology,” Robinson said. “That’s why we were so excited to get into this. What we are doing, is so much more [than just delivery].” He added, “There are so many more exciting verticals [within the the industry] that we are going to be eventually hitting.”

Drizly is currently available in the iOS App Store and Mident can be downloaded from both the iOS and Chrome app stores. As Robinson hinted, with a ton of impending deals to expand Drizly and a bright future for Mident, the company is going to be sharing some exciting announcements over the next few months.

One piece of recent news for Drizly is the announcement of its first, of what should be many, summer event at the Ocean Club in Quincy on July 14. Tickets went on sale yesterday for the harbor cruise/event that is co-hosted by Uber, NV Concepts, and Tabelist. The cruise will leave from Rowes Wharf, head to Marina Bay for the co-hosted party, and returns downtown after the event’s conclusion.

Dennis Keohane is a staff writer for VentureFizz.  You can follow Dennis on Twitter (@DBKeohane) by clicking here.

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The Joy of Drinking. Beer, Wine & Liquor. Delivered.

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