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Last Monday, the drinks e-commerce site Drizly announced it was essentially shutting down in March and being absorbed into its parent company Uber, in a move that seems to have been made to bolster the company’s Uber Eats service.
The news came as a surprise to the alcohol industry. “I really can’t believe it — I had just referenced them in an article as a pioneer that helped break down the first walls for e-commerce and spirits,” says whiskey educator and Single Malt Savvy founder Chris Perugini.
While it’s never good news when talented people lose a job or a valuable service goes away, there is some relief in knowing that, as far as ordering booze online goes, there are still plenty of options — whether you want a Drizly-like experience or something different or more specialized,
Was the Shuttering of Drizly Inevitable?Pour one out for the drinks delivery service, now closing in March
“The closure of Drizly is more indicative of Uber’s strategic choices rather than a direct reflection of the alcohol delivery market’s performance,” explains Derek Correia, the CEO of another drinks e-commerce platform, ReserveBar (which also owns the like-minded Minibar Delivery and the beer/RTD specialists Get Stocked). “BevAlc e-commerce will continue to grow, exceeding $25B in the U.S. in the coming years, and the occasions served and variations in consumers and their preferences will continue to create an environment for multiple companies to succeed.”
That said, consumers are going to be a bit lost at the beginning, as Drizly had sort of become shorthand for ordering booze. And even though UberEats technically will offer a similar platform with some bonuses — like ordering a meal at the same time — it’s going to take a while for someone to replicate Drizly’s curation and insider knowledge. “Buying groceries and including your favorite bourbon when available makes sense when using grocery apps, but those platforms don’t lend themselves to exploring bourbon or tequila or seeking out knowledge, new experiences, and new products,” Correia notes.
Still, if you need a bottle of booze or wine (or some beer), there’s a service for you. Here’s a breakdown of the different apps and sites that you can use to order a drink online — including one underutilized option that you should consider.
Similar to Drizly: Saucey
Available in several major cities, Saucey is your “I need some booze and mixers quick” option, offering a 30-minute delivery window (or two days for stuff that you don’t need right away). It’s a pretty minimalist site — it lacks the curation and insights of Drizly — but it replicates the basic requirements of door-to-door booze service with a modest $4.99 delivery fee. * See also: ReserveBar, Uber Eats, Delivery.com, Minibar Delivery, Grubhub
More than booze: Uber Eats
As noted above, Uber Eats is more than just food — you can tack on a grocery or dinner order to your alcohol request. It’s good for those who know exactly what they want, but not so great if you want to explore or try something different (and understand what you’re getting). * See also: Delivery.com, Grubhub
Hard-to-find bottles: Frootbat
If you’re having trouble locating allocated bottles, craft spirits or limited releases, Frootbat is ideal for these luxury purchases. The site also offers several useful guides to distillery and drinks categories, particularly for those rarer releases. * See also: The Whisky Exchange, Caskers, Seelbach’s, Cask Cartel, Flaviar, Spirit Hub
If you only drink one type of hooch: The Whisky Exchange
Yes, The Whisky Exchange certainly offers an array of non-whisky bottles, as well as wine and beer. But as the name suggests, their specialty is whisk(e)y from around the globe, and their insider knowledge is unparalleled (plus, they offer exclusives). * See also: Sip Tequila, Sip Whiskey, Dekanta (Japanese whisky), Curiada (craft spirits), Boisson (non-alc), Get Stocked (beer/RTDs), CraftShack (primarily beer)
For choice: Total Wine
Same-day delivery? Shipping? Store pick-up? Total Wine, which has been around since 1991 and has over 250 physical stores, offers a wide variety of spirits, wine and beer, and you can order them pretty much however you want. It’s the department store of booze. * See also: ReserveBar, The Whisky Exchange, Wine.com
Curation and knowledge: ReserveBar
ReserveBar offers recipes, articles, curated collections, gifting ideas and, most importantly, context and information behind each bottle they sell. Plus, the site/app offers both same-day delivery and shipping options, along with exclusive bottles and a membership program. It feels more like a drinks discovery site than a straightforward e-commerce app. * See also: The Whisky Exchange, Flaviar, Sip Tequila
There are some smaller and more locally-focused options as well (BOTLD in Pennsylvania). As well if you have a favorite local liquor store, they probably have their own app or website. They certainly have a phone number. You’ll save a little cash and support a local business (and get on their radar, which helps if you’re after rare or allocated bottles).
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