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How Alcohol Delivery Platforms are Changing Bars

“You can do that?” I said, sneaking a peak over my friend’s shoulder at their open alcohol delivery app. It was 2019, we were midway through a party, and in danger of running out of beverages for our many guests. 

“Oh yeah,” they said. “Saved more than a few parties over the past couple years this way.”

On-demand alcohol delivery applications have become a phenomenon on the rise over the past decade, offering a solution that customers and proprietors alike have been wishing for, if not holding their breath for, since the advent of delivered takeout. 

“Wouldn’t  it be nice if we could get beer with our pizza?” “I wish. How do you check an ID from a distance?” (We talk more about this exact problem in our other post: Age Verification Check Process.)

Mid-pandemic, however, alcohol delivery has entered a new dimension of normalcy as bars and restaurants seek a means to continue serving their loyal patrons whilst also adhering to public health guidelines. Pre-mixed cocktails, take out beers, and shipped Shirazes have reached new popularity, allowing the burgeoning alcohol delivery industry to take its place on the global market scene. 

Current landscape of alcohol delivery

Among the businesses named as providing “essential services” during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic were the liquor stores. But even these highly-valued businesses needed to adapt their daily practices in order to better serve their flailing communities. This, along with adjustments made to standard grocery delivery applications, helped to support the monumental growth of alcohol delivery.

And it shows no signs of slowing down. A recent study from International Wine & Spirit Research demonstrated a total alcohol ecommerce market value in 2020 of around $5.6 billion – a 2.6 billion-dollar increase from the previous year. By 2024, experts expect the industry to have a collective worth of over $40 billion. 

Drizly case study

March 2020 marked the initial launch date for alcohol delivery’s newfound popularity. And Drizly, a company that had been around since 2012, became an industry frontrunner almost immediately. 

Two things set this organization apart: a 1-hour delivery guarantee, as well as an expansive network across the United States, both contributing to their already well established popularity. With new social distancing mandates in place, and customers in desperate need of a drink, the company’s sales increased 350% over the course of the following year. 

Drizly’s market value had reached $900 million by the end of 2020. Then, in February 2021, the company was acquired by Uber – rideshare giant and food-delivery application since 2014 – for a sum of $1.1 billion. 

And since their acquisition, Drizly more than doubled their staff to keep up with their skyrocketing demand. Across the national market, the increased popularity of alcohol delivery has created multiple thousands of new jobs, making a not insignificant dent in the unemployed workforce. 

Vivino case study

Another beverage delivery company, Vivino – specializing in wine and other viticultural beverages – has been enjoying a huge increase in user interaction over the course of the pandemic. 

Offering customers a curated wine experience over an ecommerce platform, Vivino’s biggest pre-pandemic seasons within the US existed around Thanksgiving and Black Friday. In the first days of the COVID-19 crisis, the company blew their 2019 figure out of the water with an increase of 162% between March 13 and March 2020 alone. 

Vivino’s 2020 Black Friday sale then brought in 2.5 times the revenue that they had taken in during their sale from the previous year.

State regulations on alcohol delivery

Unfortunately, despite the rise in demand, not every state in the union has gotten fully onboard with the concept of alcoholic beverage delivery. 33 states in total allow beer and wine ecommerce, with 25 including spirits within their permissions. 

Some states have been relatively loose in their guidelines. Alcohol delivery California, alcohol delivery in Washington state, and alcohol delivery service in Portland Oregon operate with minimal restrictions. But others with historically stringent laws surrounding alcohol in general have placed certain caveats on delivery laws which proprietors may find difficult to overcome. 

Pennsylvania, for example, maintains prohibition-era regulations which dictate who can sell alcohol, what specifically they may sell, and when, giving alcohol delivery applications a number of obstacles to navigate. The state now allows delivery of beer and wine within appropriate hours, but spirits remain excluded from this rule. 

Here are a few other testaments to alcohol delivery regulations within the US:

  • Alcohol delivery in Louisville Kentucky is nonexistent due to KY’s stringent alcohol regulations which ban the sale of spirits altogether in many counties.
  • Alcohol delivery in New Orleans and Louisiana in general operates with minimal restrictions.
  • Alcohol delivery in Miami and Florida in general operates with minimal restrictions.
  • Alcohol delivery in Rhode Island is limited to Rhode Island residents only, and must be shipped via a mail service direct from the business.
  • Alcohol delivery in Savannah, Atlanta and Georgia in general allows delivery of beer, wine and spirits in sealed containers during restricted business hours. Deliveries must be completed on the day which the order was placed.
  • Alcohol delivery in Missouri is permitted as long as the alcohol being delivered is coming from within the state.
  • Alcohol delivery in Mississippi is permitted within wet counties.
  • Alcohol delivery in Nashville and Tennessee in general is permitted(up to 1 gallon total.)
  • Alcohol delivery in Jersey City, Wayne, and New Jersey in general is permitted for small businesses.
  • Alcohol delivery in Denver, Fort Collins, and Colorado in general is permitted with restrictions on the amount.
  • Alcohol delivery in North Carolina is permitted within wet counties.
  • Alcohol delivery in Columbia and South Carolina is not permitted, but curbside pickup is permitted.
  • Alcohol delivery in Ohio operates with minimal restrictions.
  • Alcohol delivery in Sterling and Virginia in general is permitted with restrictions on the amount.
  • Alcohol delivery in White Plains and New York in general operates with minimal restrictions.
  • Alcohol delivery in Manchester and New Hampshire in general is permitted as long as the delivery is accompanied by food.
  • Alcohol delivery in Washington DC operates with minimal restrictions.
  • Alcohol delivery in Portland and Maine in general operates with minimal restrictions.
  • Alcohol delivery in Boston and Massachusetts in general operates with minimal restrictions.
  • Alcohol delivery in Canmore operates with minimal restrictions. 

If we didn’t cover alcohol delivery rules specific to your state, you can search “alcohol delivery in my area” or “alcohol delivery now” to learn more.

How restaurants and bars are responding to alcohol delivery services

Restaurants and bars across the country were already participating en masse with food delivery applications such as Uber Eats and DoorDash. Many of these applications now have an option to include alcohol with your order, in states that permit it. And with rising demand for alcohol delivery, bars and restaurants have started including beer, wine, and signature cocktails on their to-go menus, and now enjoy greater flexibility and profitability over their delivery sales. 

Provi is here for the hospitality industry

Provi is an all-in-one alcohol ecommerce solution designed to take care of the tedium in one place so you can go back to providing your customers with winning service. Provi provides easy inventory management, automatic ordering, and more to make your life in the bar and restaurant industry just a little easier

Check out our other insight, Alcohol and Beverage Control, to learn more about state regulations and alcohol. 

The Provi Team


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