UZIs, Boxed Wine and Drizly’s Wholesaler Friends
Drizly, the quick booze delivery service, has had quite a week. Not only did it secure $13 million from investors to make sure it could deliver more Bud, Coors and Boxed Wine to connoisseurs in between 20 and 40 minutes, but it also got a money endorsement of the least tech-savvy group in the American beverage industry: The Wine & Spirit Wholesalers of America.
What I didn’t know about Drizly, however, but learned today in their press release on their $13 million funding round, was just how remarkable this new services is. For instance…
• Drizly provides wine buyers with “unparalleled choice”
• Wine Retailers are “untouched by technology”
* Drizly now deploys “a superior shopping experience”
I wanted to experience this superior shopping experience that offered unparalleled choice. So, I went to the Drizly website, typed in my address and held my breath. Because, this notion of technology being applied to wine shipping….well….technology has never touched this realm.
“Your address is out of our delivery zone.”
Damn! Well, I know they deliver in Washington, DC. So I put in the address for the Department of the Treasure and set about to experience a superior shopping experience that included “unparalleled choice”. What should I have delivered to the folks at the TTB? How about Cabernet Sauvignon? Let’s do the search for an unparalleled selection of Cabernet on Drizly in Washington, DC:
Thirty-one Cabernets to choose from….31.
Hmmmm…Well, it’s true that this does not parallel DC’s Calvert Woodley wine store that carries 155 Cabernets. Nor does it parallel Schneider’s of Capital Hill in DC, where you can find 300 Cabernets.
Hmmm….Ok, what about sending some Bordeaux to the TTB? Just search for “Bordeaux” on Drizly in Washington, DC and there it is…….2…yes….2 selections. Hmmm….Let’s try Schneiders…..and we get…185 selections of Bordeaux
I understand the venture capitalists’ $13 million investment in Drizly. VCs will invest $13 million on purple in roulette. But what about the Wine & Spirit Wholesalers of America? What’s with that investment in the booze delivery app that offers 2 selections of Bordeaux? WSWA president Craig Wolf put it this way:
“this alliance will enhance the three-tier system and amplify the benefits this system currently provides consumers: the widest array of product available anywhere in the world, delivered in a manner that is well-regulated and ensures consumer protection, appropriate oversight, and product integrity.”
For Washingtonians using Drizly that “wide array” of products means 2 selections of Bordeaux.
Here’s what’s going on. Everyone in the American wine industry from wineries to retailers to wholesalers to regulators to, yes, booze delivery drivers, know that wholesalers and the WSWA don’t provide consumers with better selection and convenience using technology or any other means. In fact, wholesalers and the WSWA have long been the enemy of selection and convenience. And they know you know this. They’ll be using their investment in Drizly to tell retailers, “hey, we love technology….see, here are two bottles of Bordeaux you can buy in Washington, DC through technology we endorse.”
Do you want to understand selection and convenience? Well, consider Washington, DC. It is one area of the country that allows both out-of-state wineries and retailers to ship directly to consumers….something WSWA opposes. That means that wine lovers in Washington, DC have access to nearly every wine made in the U.S. and every wine imported in to the U.S.
However, using Drizly you can get 2 different bottles of Bordeaux and 31 different bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Drizly is all about getting cheap booze quick. Which is exactly what the WSWA is all about promoting. It’s sort of like the waiting period for guns. Sure, it’s nice to be able to buy a cheap Uzi fast. But is there really a good business is serving those who need a cheap uzi quickly or who needs a bunch of box wine right this minute?