There is a perception that the head of a major wine delivery service would be worried about the possibility of Uber’s $1.1 billion acquisition of 60-minute alcohol ordering platform Drizly, but for Drinks.com Co-Founder and CEO Zac Brandenberg, that’s not the case.
On the contrary, this situation is seen as a huge motivator for a budding industry that grew 80 percent during the pandemic, and also as a validation of an opportunity that stays unmet as of now.
“Conveniently for us, we don’t compete with Uber,” Brandenberg said in a recent telephone interview from his office in Los Angeles. “The Uber-Drizly competition is going to be DoorDash, goPuff, and Instacart,” he said, noting the last-minute impulse market is aimed at an entirely different consumer. “That’s the customer that is traditionally shopping in a retail store. Like if Uber wasn’t there, or Drizly wasn’t there, I would be walking down the street to my local liquor store or I’d be getting in my car and driving over to a local store to buy that product. It’s a different type of customer and a different way of buying products.”
People want to shop differently. Sometimes they don’t always need something in an hour. So whether consumers want to buy in-store, online, have it delivered in an hour, or handpick specialty items that are shipped to their home in one or two days, the key driver is providing consumers with more choices and meeting them where they want to buy.
“You would hope that by offering more mediums for consumers to purchase, and more forms of engagement, that their aggregate purchasing volume is going to grow,” Brandenberg said.
He also acknowledged the fact that alcohol sales face a complex regulatory combination that differs from state to state and as well as separate rules for off-premises retail sales and the laws that restrict what can and what cant be delivered. “You have existing hurdles that have proven to be difficult to navigate for years on what can be sold, when, and to who,” he said, pointing to the differing “chain of custody” laws that exist in the states
Brandenberg put a situation that if he were to go to Costco.com right now, he could click on pretty much anything and have it at his door in two days, but affirmed that he can’t get a case of wine. “That’s ridiculous as that’s going to be something that’s completely expected by consumers, it just hasn’t been powered and enabled yet”, he said. “I can’t believe that a Costco or Trader Joe’s is going to sit back forever and have this huge beverage alcohol business in their physical locations and not look to meet the needs of customers who don’t want to walk into a store anymore,” he added.