Drizly going hipster – launches Android app and Brooklyn service

(PRNewsFoto/Drizly, Inc.)
(PRNewsFoto/Drizly, Inc.)

Drizly has always been a company with a little more so-called “hipster” caché than most tech startups.

The company’s first office was in Boston’s Allston-Brighton neighborhood, one of the city’s few remaining outposts for indie music and “so-old-your-dad-hung-out-there” dive bars. Most recently they’ve set up shop in Fort Point, a section of Boston still trying to hold tight to its artist/startup identity.

Today, the alcohol delivery service made two big announcements that bode well for Drizly’s future growth.

First, the startup announced that its app, which allows users to order alcohol from local liquor stores that is then delivered within the hour, will now be available to Android users. All joking about hipster-dom aside, depending on who you talk to, numbers are showing increases in Android users compared to Apple’s iOS. (In the press release for the announcement, Drizly said that in 2013, Android made up 80 percent of the smartphone market share.)

So the move to Google’s mobile platform is huge for a company trying to gain more national notice and, most importantly, new users.

The move to Brooklyn is a no-brainer.

Drizly expanded its operations to New York City in January, and as Michael DiLorenzo, the company’s senior vice president of marketing, explained, they are facing more “competitive headwinds in the New York market than in Boston.”

With the Brooklyn expansion, Drizly enters a tech-savvy, highly residential market with two distinct competitive advantages over its competitor, a company called Minibar.

For one, as DiLorenzo said, Drizly has partnerships with about 30 stores in the area compared with the fewer than 10 that work with Minibar. This allows Drizly to cut down on its delivery time, a differentiator in any delivery-based market.

Second, is Drizly’s secret weapon, its Mident ID verification service. Mident is a patent pending ID verification system that can be used on mobile phones. When Drizly first launched, Mident, a joint operation with Medway’s Advanced ID Detection, allowed the company to make alcohol delivery a reality despite the tight industry regulations.

As DiLorenzo said, Mident “mitigates the risk of alcohol delivery for stores.” He even added that Mident “certainly is better and different than anything they have in their stores.”

Nick Rellas, Drizly’s chief executive added, “The timing of this was key.”

“By one estimate I saw, if Brooklyn were a city on its own, it would be fifth largest in the country,” Rellas said. “We could have popped up one store and said we are ‘in Brooklyn,’ but our user experience is all about getting [the delivery] there in under 40 minutes.”

“So we wanted to make sure we had six or seven stores in Brooklyn before we launched.”

As part of the Brooklyn launch, Drizly is hosting a wide range of events, including one at the Hudson Hotel with Esquire and Jalen Rose. They are also offering a $10 discount to new users who use the WELCOMENY discount code.

In terms of how they are continuing to build buzz and expand the product, Rellas said, “[Drizly] is a fun brand, we deliver alcohol, which is a very serious thing with lots of important regulations, but bringing an awesome experience is what we are all about.”

Dennis Keohane was a Senior Staff Writer for BetaBoston.
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