Drizly App Lets You Get Alcohol Delivered Straight to Your Door

Drivers bring crates of booze to doorsteps in the Boston area with a few taps on a smartphone.

Photo via Drizly

Photo via Drizly

Alcohol delivery in Massachusetts isn’t a new phenomenon, but streamlining the process through a smartphone app that acts as a digital shopping cart is something that liquor store owner David Gordon says hasn’t been done before.

Gordon, who owns the chain of Gordon Fine Wine and Liquors in the Boston area, has teamed up with the creators of Drizly, an app that lets users click through a list of beer, wine, and liquor brands, create a shopping list, and have the products delivered directly to their doorstep. “I have always been more tech-focused and I thought [teaming up with them] was a good fit for the things we wanted to do with the business,” says Gordon. “Every liquor store delivers, but this is just a much more streamlined approach. A lot of retailers in the state are not innovative. I think [Drizly] brings a lot more relevance to the market.”

Currently, the team behind Drizly, which was created by three Boston College alumni, has an exclusive relationship with Gordon and run their operations through his Watertown store. The app has had a soft launch, and is available to the public, but the area in which alcohol can be delivered is limited to certain parts of Greater Boston, including Cambridge.

According to Justin Robinson, who helped create the app, Drizly uses customized crates with extra goodies when products are delivered to customers. Once the delivery driver arrives to drop off an order, they use “Advanced ID Detection” technology to verify the person’s ID. If it’s fake (or they are not 21) and the delivery fails for any reason, the customer will be charged a $20 restocking fee. “We obviously don’t want to have people under 21 getting alcohol. There is a pop up [in the app] that says you will agree not to supply to minors. If they show up and there is a raging party going on, and the driver feels this would be adding fuel to the flames, it would be the driver’s discretion to say ‘I’m not going to make this delivery,’ or ID more than just the person who ordered the alcohol,” he says.

And, Robinson says, there are a few added perks: The app keeps people from jumping behind the wheel of a car if they run out of alcohol after a couple of drinks. It also relieves the stress of carrying a bulk load of party beverages back to an apartment. “Let’s say you’re having friends over, carrying that amount of booze can be annoying. It can be a lot for one person to carry. This way you could spend your time cleaning your house and getting ready instead,” he says. “Those two things are what we are definitely helping people out with.”

Once a sale is made within the hours of the liquor stores operations, it takes anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes to complete the transaction, and the driver can be tracked on a map featured on the app, to see exactly how far away they are. “They have enough drivers right now that we haven’t been over capacity yet,” says Robinson.

As for whether or not the app is legal in Massachusetts, a state with strict guidelines when it comes to alcohol consumption, state officials from the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission would not comment on this app specifically, but they said a monetary transaction like this “may” be within the legal parameters, and door-to-door service allowed, based on state laws regarding the licensing of the liquor store’s vehicle, and rules about off-premise purchasing of alcohol.

Drizly has the option, they said on background, to request an advisory opinion of the commission, who would issue a decision about the legalities.

But according to Gordon, his delivery vehicles are licensed, and Robinson’s business has worked extensively with lawyers to make sure they aren’t side-stepping the law. “The first conversation before we launched was with [a law firm], and they said it was totally legal, as soon as they figured out the ID verification component to the process,” says Robinson.

Below is a map that shows the areas where Drizly currently delivers. Robinson says the company has plans to expand and possibly work with other liquor stores in the near future.