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Mobile app Drizly brings cocktail hour to your doorstep

Posted by Scott Kirsner  June 19, 2013 12:00 PM

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Add a few more things to the list of things you can procure with a mobile app: a case of Sam Adams Summer, a bottle of red, or a fifth of Jack Daniels.

A startup called Drizly launched an app last month that promises to put booze on your doorstep in 20 minutes to an hour, seven days a week, with a $20 order minimum. (The delivery fee is $5.) And yes, they can even deliver to towns like Wellesley that don't have liquor stores.

So far, Drizly is getting about 50 orders a week, according to co-founder and CEO Nicholas Rellas. And he says that the app's average order size is more than three times larger than the average in-store purchase.

Drizly plans to sell delivery territories to liquor stores, some of which already do delivery. The app acts simply as an order-forwarding service. Drivers use an app produced by Drizly's sister company, Mident, to check IDs or purchases. Drizly's initial delivery partner is Gordon's Wine and Spirits in Watertown; Medway-based Advanced ID Detection is an equal partner in the Mident venture. (Rellas says the company will be adding two new liquor stores in the Boston suburbs as delivery partners over the next few weeks.)

Rellas envisions that advertising will eventually play a role in generating revenue for his business, encouraging customers to try new brands. "The $5 delivery fee could be discounted by watching ads, or trying a new product," he says.

As for when you can use Drizly... it won't help you get booze after the neighborhood packie has closed. "We make sure, by law, the items are in the hands of the customers before the liquor store closes," Rellas explains. "As much as we'd love to be able to have stores make late-night deliveries, the sale has to be finalized, with items in hand, before the store that's delivering it closes."

The company is just now starting to look for financing. "We wanted to make our startup recession-proof, so that's why we're in the alcohol business," Rellas says.

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Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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