Minibar Delivery app
We’ve seen the quarantine memes about us all becoming alcoholics amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but joking aside, those looking to stay buzzed during the crisis couldn’t be luckier given the rise of on-demand alcohol delivery. While many restaurants and businesses are taking major losses during this time of uncertainty, alcohol delivery is thriving with companies such as Minibar Delivery seeing a 515% increase in new buyers since the pandemic began.
According to Andrews, the on-demand liquor industry changed dramatically once quarantining became our new reality. Since March 11th, the day the news of the travel ban and NBA season cancellation hit the air, the company has seen an enormous increase in both overall sales and in average order size, making it clear that Americans are not simply buying more booze during the crisis, but buying at larger quantities. As of April 7, Minibar Delivery’s overall sales went up 139%, with an increase in average order size up 22%.
Lara Crystal (left) and Lindsey Andrews of Minibar Delivery
“While on-demand alcohol delivery had certainly gained attention and popularity over the past couple of years, this number is an indicator that it’s about to become more prevalent as new users continue to be introduced to its conveniences,” says Lindsey Andrews, co-founder and CEO of Minibar Delivery.
Minibar Delivery is in a unique position to both capitalize on the market, but also play an impactful role in helping mom and pop liquor stores stay afloat during the pandemic. Given that the company’s partners are roughly 90% smaller businesses, they’ve been able to successfully increase their business and that of those who otherwise may be forced to fold.
We interviewed (via email of course!) Andrews on the start of the company; how the pandemic has effected business; their ability to help smaller businesses; national liquor trends and more. Here’s what she had to say.
How did Minibar Delivery start? What was the impetus and what pushed you to turn a mere idea into a profitable business?
The idea for Minibar Delivery was born one night during Takeout Tuesday. My co-founder, Lara Crystal, and I would meet at my apartment every Tuesday to brainstorm business ideas. One Tuesday… disaster, we ran out of white wine. We figured there must be an easy way to get wine delivered much like we had gotten our Thai food delivered. But to our surprise, there was no easy way to push a button and get your alcohol delivered.
While food delivery has been a staple of a consumer’s at-home routine, we quickly realized that this model had yet to be applied to the liquor industry, and it also happened to be an industry that hadn’t seen innovation in a long time due to its antiquated distribution model. We both were working in ecommerce at the time, Lara was at Rent the Runway and I was at Amazon subsidiary Quidsi, and both had an entrepreneurial mindset. We had seen first-hand what it took to build an ecommerce business, thus in 2013 we hit the ground running.
Since COVID-19 permeated U.S. conversation, has your business needed to adapt or change to meet demand?
The on-demand liquor industry pretty much changed overnight once COVID-19 became a reality here in the U.S. As the technology that connects liquor stores to local customers, we’ve needed to adapt to the unprecedented influx in business. This has required us to quickly add new stores to help with the soaring demand as well as to help independent liquor stores find consumers online as their foot traffic declines.
Additionally, customer service has always been top priority at Minibar Delivery, and that remains true during this unpredictable and unprecedented time. But with the increased volume, we’ve prioritized hiring new support staff as well as dedicating much of our tech resources to building new tools for our customer service team to help them manage the influx of requests.
Our team is working (remotely) around the clock to ensure that customers are aware of current inventory, delays in delivery times and tips on how to make deliveries as contactless as possible.
Obviously this has greatly impacted mom and pop liquor stores and smaller shops. How has Minibar Delivery helped them out?
Since we launched Minibar Delivery, at least 90% of our liquor store partners have been mom and pop shops and small businesses. We’ve been able to help those retailers during this time, since the increase in our business directly affects their business as well.
Since shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders have affected major cities across the country, we’ve seen a 7x increase in inbound requests to join the Minibar Delivery platform – and 95% of those have been small or family owned businesses. We are working diligently to ensure that all of these requests are responded to and set up in a timely manner.
Right now, our team is able to turn around requests within 48 hours so we’re able to get these mom and pop shops up and running on our platform as quickly as they’re able to.
What have been the most popular items sold? What trends are you seeing?
Nationally, wine continues to be the most popular category for on-demand delivery, although we have noticed an upward trend within the hard liquor category. As virtual happy hours and get-togethers have become the norm, cocktails and mixology are growing in popularity. Top selling products include Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc, La Marca Prosecco, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Lagunitas India Pale Ale, Bulleit, Johnnie Walker, Casamigos and of course, White Claw.
In terms of additional insights, we have seen some unique regional trends. For example, Washington D.C. seems to have a preference for the finer spirits, opting for more top-shelf offerings than other cities. For example, the top selling product within their wine category is Veuve Clicquot (over a traditional red or white) and the top scotch sold in the market is The Macallan (over the national top seller of Johnnie Walker). Those in Los Angeles have a more eclectic palate. The top two scotch brands ordered are Japanese in origin – Hibiki and Yamazaki.