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Drizly uncorks a second e-commerce revenue stream

on 09/12/14 at 6:50 pm


New-DrizlyOn Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Drizly, the Boston-based online alcohol delivery company, had inked a major deal with MillerCoors to cross-promote the delivery service. As part of the partnership, Drizly delivered cases of Miller Lite for free over the past weekend in four of its nine service cities.

While the news of a Boston e-commerce startup joining forces with a major alcohol conglomerate to leverage the power of its brand is big news in its own right, the launch of Drizly’s API today, which will allow other brands to access Drizly’s network of liquor stores delivering beer, wine, and liquor through its mobile app, could have greater implications for what has become one of Boston’s fastest growing startups.

One of the biggest knocks against Boston for a long time has been that it is not as fertile an environment for an consumer-facing company as San Francisco or New York. While huge successes like TripAdvisor and Wayfair have helped dispel that myth, there is still an enormous chasm between the number of enterprise and business focused startups and e-commerce ones that are thriving locally.

Many local consumer startups, such as RunKeeper, have struggled to find pathways to revenue, while others, like LevelUp for example, have not been able to stand out as the best option among multiple competitors in a specific space. Drizly, however, has bucked those trends, and done so in a very short period of time.

Why Drizly? The company was able to differentiate itself in a completely untapped business sector that relied on older infrastructure, and one that has a quite frightening regulatory apparatus to overcome. The company’s proprietary mobile ID verification tool, which it allows its liquor store delivery partners to have access to, has not only made it possible to bring alcohol delivery to new markets very quickly, avoiding regulatory and bureaucratic muck and mire, but do so without very little competition.