In the last several years, a number of companies have figured out that no one actually enjoys making liquor runs and that drinkers would much rather their bourbon bottles and beer cases simply appear on their doorsteps (other things companies have discovered people don’t like to go out for include pants, toilet paper and potatoes). Especially in cities like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, there is now a robust market of alcohol delivery services, a number of which promise to have a bottle in your hand in 60 minutes or less. To find out if they live up to their promises, and to see which company could deliver the fastest, we put all the companies making those promises to the test.
A few notes:
- All the alcohol we ordered was delivered to the Supercall offices in lower Manhattan, so we only tested services operating in Manhattan.
- We only tested services claiming they’d deliver in an hour or less, so a company like Postmates, which is up front about the fact that delivery time is variable and will depend on what you order, or Amazon Prime Now, which offers two-hour delivery windows, were left off.
Here’s what we found:
Order: One bottle Greenhook Ginsmith American Dry Gin
Time from Order to Delivery: 45:32
Experience: Drizly is easy to navigate and the selection is robust for a site that promises delivery in an hour. It even goes out of its way to include a number of locally made bottles. I received texts throughout the process and the confirmation email included a reasonably accurate GPS tracker to keep me apprised of my gin’s location. It wasn’t the fastest, but still arrived in well under an hour.
Order: One bottle Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbon
Time from Order to Delivery: 33:10
Experience: The good: Klink, a startup purchased by Delivery.com last spring, was the fastest service by far. The bad: I didn’t get the bottle of Evan Williams I ordered. About two minutes after I placed the order, I got a call from the shop fulfilling it explaining that they didn’t have any Evan Williams. Someone from the shop said that Klink must not have an updated version of the stock list. But he did offer to swap it out for a bottle that cost a couple dollars more for no additional charge.
Order: Two bottles of Dolin Vermouth
Time from Order to Delivery: N/A
Experience: The first two times I tried to order from the SWILL site I got error messages saying the two shops I tried to order from were closed—even though they had both been open for a couple hours. I finally got my order through on the third try, but 42 minutes later I received a message saying my order had been “declined by the retailer.” I remain vermouth-less.
Order: One bottle Rittenhouse Rye
Time from Order to Delivery: 38:15
Experience: Unless you know what you want, the Minibar site is a little more difficult to navigate than some of the other ones I tried. While you can browse, for example, the entire selection of 79 gins available in the New York area on Drizly, you are limited to a single shop’s selection on Minibar unless you manually change it. But they did get me a bottle of rye quicker than even the most optimistic estimate on the site.