As the on-demand economy matures, vendors are narrowing their focus with more niche products and services. One of the hottest subgroups of on-demand services right now involves liquor delivery. Piggybacking on the success of on-demand delivery startups like Instacart and Postmates, these so-called “liquor logistics services” are tapping into the $70 billion distilled spirits market and raking in capital from investors. Startups in the alcohol industry have raised $100 million in funding in last year alone, according to TechCrunch, and the liquor logistics service Drizly raised more than $7 million earlier this year.
Whether these startups find lasting success will depend largely on their ability to generate revenue. Companies like Minibar — currently one of the largest players in the space — bringing in revenue through the transaction-based technology fees they collect from vendor partners. Other companies charge delivery fees to consumers or licensing fees to retailers.
Here are seven on-demand liquor delivery services looking to gain traction in this expanding market.
1. Thirstie: A plug-and-play tool for liquor retailers.
An on-demand wine and spirits marketplace, Thirstie allows consumers to search for specific liquor brands through a mobile app. Deliveries occur within an hour. Ordering from Thirstie is a three-step process—select the bottles, select the tip, and wait for the delivery—however, deliveries can only occur when a user’s local stores are open. Thirstie is currently available in parts of New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and Miami. Delivery fees for Thirstie “vary by region.”
2. Drizly: A liquor logistics and local delivery service.
Drizly considers itself primarily a technology company that powers the delivery of alcohol to consumers through its mobile apps. The company also has an e-commerce website that people can use to order beer, wine, and liquor. Drizly’s service is available in more than a dozen cities, including Seattle, St. Louis, Indianapolis, and Denver. In addition to liquor, Drizly also delivers “extras” like soda and mixers. Although the company doesn’t mark up its liquor, it does charge a $4 delivery fee in selected markets. Drizly generates revenue by charging its retail partners a monthly licensing fee, and it relies on those retailers for all order fulfillment and delivery services.
3. Minibar: Connecting consumers with nearby stores.
Minibar offers a mobile app that connects consumers with nearby liquor stores and allows them to schedule orders to be delivered to their doors. Available in more than 13 metropolitan cities (including New York, Palm Beach, Austin, and San Francisco), Minibar orders may happen immediately or they may be scheduled for future dates. Minibar is careful to point out that it does not actually delivery alcohol, since deliveries are fulfilled by licensed local retailers. The company doesn’t charge a delivery fee to consumers, but does take a cut of each sale from participating retailers.
4. Saucey: On-demand alcohol delivery.
Described as “Uber for booze,” Saucey is an on-demand tool that people can use to have wine, beer, and spirits delivered to their doorsteps in under an hour. Consumers in San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco set their locations, place their orders, and present their IDs to their couriers at the time of delivery. (The company plans to expand its service to Chicago and Dallas in the future.) Saucey does not charge additional fees at checkout, and orders generally take between 20 and 40 minutes to arrive. Unlike some of its competitors, Saucey does manage its own couriers in-house.
5. Klink: Order alcohol without leaving home.
Currently available in Ann Arbor, Miami, Washington, DC, and Orlando, Klink is a mobile alcohol delivery service that brings booze to people’s doorsteps in less than one hour. The company intentionally chose service areas near large universities, and it bills itself as the go-to solution for people stocking up on alcohol before hosting large parties. Klink charges the same prices as the liquor stores in the markets it services, with hours that vary based on local liquor laws. Klink charges a flat $3.87 delivery fee.
6. Swill: Connecting consumers with local liquor retailers.
Calling itself the “liquor store in your pocket,” Swill offers alcohol delivery in under an hour. Swill launched in New York City late last year. Available through an iOS app (Android is coming soon), Swill connects its users with local merchants selling beer, wine, spirits, and mixers. The mobile app includes reviews, tasting notes, and recommendations. Real-time notifications keep users updated on the status of their orders. Swill also notifies users about local tastings and promotional. Although Swill does not charge for delivery, a 15% gratuity is automatically added to all orders. The company takes a slice of every transaction that runs through its platform.
7. BrewDrop: Alcohol delivery in Austin.
A service available exclusively to consumers in selected Austin zip codes, BrewDrop is an alcohol delivery application that people can use to have beer, wine, and liquor delivered to their doorsteps in 30 to 60 minutes. Users can only make orders during the hours when BrewDrop’s partner liquor stores are open. Rather than selling products directly to consumers, BrewDrop connects its mobile app users with local retail stores, and these retailers are responsible for following state laws and regulations with regard to liquor sales and delivery.
Know of other on-demand alcohol delivery services? Leave a description in the comments.
Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.