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Drinks Delivery Providers Set Ambitious Plans For 2019

December 26, 2018

With 2019 on the horizon, beverage alcohol delivery apps such as Drizly, Saucey, and Minibar are confident that digital drinks sales will continue to expand their market share. Currently, only 0.6% of alcohol sales occur digitally, according to Thirstie CEO Devaraj Southworth, but he expects that figure to rise to 10% in the next five years.

Drizly, launched in 2012 and minority-owned by the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA), partners with local retailers to provide delivery within an hour in 100 cities across North America. Its newest market is Vancouver, Canada, which it entered last month. Saucey, founded in 2013, offers delivery in 30 minutes in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Oakland, and Sacramento, and two-day delivery to other states. Thirstie pivoted this year from a delivery model to building the underlying infrastructure that powers sales on producers’ websites—most notably Moët Hennessy’s Clos19 site—and has an advanced data collection program, Southworth says.

Drizly co-founder Justin Robinson says further expansion is in the offing for his company. “We’re very bullish on 2019,” he notes. “As we add more stores we’ll cover more areas throughout the U.S., and for areas we already cover, consumer choice will expand dramatically with more stores. Second, we’ll be working to develop a more personalized user experience throughout the year.”

Thirstie also has ambitious plans for the new year. The company recently struck deals to power websites for Drinkworks—a collaboration between A-B InBev and Keurig on a pod-based beverage alcohol maker—and Maker’s Mark, the first of several Beam Suntory brands for which it will roll out service over the course of 2019.

Meanwhile, at the ground level, the delivery apps are monitoring overall trends across the business. “Wine is our most popular category, at 42% in dollar terms, followed by spirits at 37%, and beer at 21%,” says Drizly’s Robinson. Red wine and whiskies are the top segments within their respective categories, he adds, and Tequila and rosé are fueling growth, with those segments rising 20% faster than the rest of the portfolio.

Minibar, another delivery app competitor, says its top three wines for this year have been The Pinot Project Pinot Noir, Alamos Malbec, and Apothic Red. Their top whites were Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc, Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, and Bogle Chardonnay. Meanwhile, Tito’s, Bulleit, and Jameson have been the top sellers on the spirits side. —Danny Sullivan

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