I buy, Minibar flies – On-demand alcohol delivery service expands to Valley
After a crazy day at work, running the kids around to sport practice, helping them with homework, walking the dogs, and getting around to cooking dinner, it sure is nice to go to the refrigerator and grab a bottle of…OMG I’m out of wine!
No worries, just grab your smartphone and click on Minibar, the on-demand alcohol delivery service and order up another bottle.
The company currently services 20 cities in the US and recently expanded to the Valley. Service is available in downtown Phoenix, North Phoenix, Gilbert and Chandler, with more to come.
Minibar works closely with local liquor shops for a streamlined, on-demand method to get a bottle of booze in your hands in under an hour.
When you open the app, enter your delivery address and begin using the menu bar to select your liquor, mixer and/or soda.
The vendor sets their product inventory, price for goods and store hours. The minimum order is $25 with a $5 delivery fee (waived for the first month) and driver tip.
While the company is building up their local vendor pool in the Valley, in other parts of the country, customers can order items for entertaining such as cheese and ping pongs, but it’s all based on customer requests and demands. Lara Crystal, co-founder Minibar, said, “We’ve been careful not to dive into the grocery section, but be more of a place to efficiently plan a party or book a bartender” and let customer requests determine what each market needs.
Crystal met her co-founder Lindsey Andrews at Wharton Business School and they would get together and talk about business ideas every week. Being immersed in the world of having things delivered to you with a press of a button, why not get a bottle of wine delivered too, she said, and they founded Minibar.
With strong government regulations in place about delivering booze, they decided to develop a tech platform and partner with local liquor stores to help small businesses sell more product.
“We don’t hold any inventory. We focus on what we are good at which is the marketing and technology side.”
Once the order is placed, it will pop up at the vendor’s store, then packaged and shipped to the customer.
To avoid underage ordering, the vendor representative is required to check IDs upon delivery. If the customer is unable or unwilling to produce an ID or appears too intoxicated, the driver can cancel the order and return the product back to the store. The customer’s order is refunded and charged a restocking fee.
“Like in-store, every store can accept and reject an order. [Ultimately, the vendor is] responsible for checking the order and year and date of that ID,” Crystal said. “We are helping the stores train their employees, but the final say is in their hands. We strongly discourage anyone who can’t produce a proper ID.”
The web version of Minibar offers more party planning tools such as Event Planner, book a bartender as well as sending a gift to a friend. Crystal said they look to integrate these features into the app experience in 2016.
If you want to have your liquor delivered on a regular basis, then Minibar offers an “Auto Refill” option. This feature launched late in 2015 and allows users to arrange for items within an order to be delivered at a selected interval of 1,2,3 or 4 weeks.
Minibar recently partnered up with Bud Light for the Super Bowl where the beer company is offering Minibar users a chance to win a trip to the big game.
The company has raised close to $2M in funding. Crystal said with the organic growth, they are growing at a fast pace month over month.
Next steps for the platform is to build out a more robust user app experience that includes content and lifestyle features, Crystal said.
Note to female tech founders from Crystal, “tap into as many female networks as possible, it has paid off well for us.”