Thirsty Americans want their booze, and they want it with as little effort as possible.
Now alcohol delivery services are bubbling up across the nation with the promise of choice libations in less time than it takes to order a pizza.
Along with other popular apps like Saucey and MiniBar, booze delivery services are filling a hole left open by both the U.S. Postal Service, which prohibits mailing any item with more than five percent or more alcoholic content by weight, and Amazon itself, as hard liquor is one of the few items you can't buy in its marketplace.
The new crop of drinks-to-your-door companies have cribbed a few pages from other app and web-based services like Uber and GrubHub with cashless payment options and ultra-quick response times. Customers in a designated delivery area first place orders via app or website and pay with a stored credit card, then a local distribution partner dispatches a delivery person who verifies the buyer's age. After ID verification -- and hopefully a tip for the delivery person -- the rest is easy:
The benefits of booze delivery services go beyond convenience, says Aniket Shah. Shah, whose delivery service Qwiker operates in cities like Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Boston, told DNAinfo Chicago in March such companies also give discerning drinkers more time to consider their purchase, which comes in handy when comparing nuanced (and often pricey) items like wine and scotch.
"All these questions could be answered online if you compare bottles," Shah said. "It's more difficult in the store. You're pressed for time."
Florida-based DrinkDrivers go so far as to tout their service as a safety alternative. Founded by University of Central Florida students and operating in Orlando and in the college town of Ann Arbor, Michigan, the creators say their booze delivery app is a smarter option for buzzed partiers who may otherwise get behind the wheel for a beer run.
“At the core of what we do, we think that this will help cut down on the number of DUIs and alcohol-related driving accidents," DrinkDrivers co-founder Jeff Nadel told MLive. "We believe that getting your drink should be as awesome as drinking your drink. And now it is."
While convenience has its perks, most of the services also have a policy about cutting off patrons who may be three sheets to the wind by the time they place their order. Customers found to be over-served or underage at the time of delivery are hit with a service fee -- usually around $20 -- and no booze changes hands.
"We want to promote the convenience of it," Shah said. "We don’t promote excessive drinking."
To keep potential McLovins from exploiting the service, Drizly even went so far as to create a proprietary technology to check customer IDs.