Drizly: Connecting Local Alcohol Retailers with Online Customers

What is Drizly?

Founding Story

Nick Rellas and Justin Robinson are both Boston College alumni. Drizly actually started at Boston College, it was about time to go out and this happened:

Around 9 pm in Lower campus…


Justin Robinson at the left and Nick Rellas at the right.

Nick: Hey man do you have any alcohol?

Justin: No, I ran out.

Nick: Should we go get some?

Justin: I don’t think we can, it’s getting late and we need to go out soon.

Nick: Can we get it delivered?

Justin: I don’t think we can do that.

Nick: Why?

     At the time of this interaction, both Nick and Justin were over the age of 21. This is why Nick and Justin started to look into alcohol delivery and found out that there was no one delivering alcohol. This was because of the three-tier system of alcohol distributors that was set in place after the prohibition.

     They decided to call up Nick’s cousin, Cory who also became one of the co-founders. After doing some research and consulting with lawyers they realized that they could make alcohol delivery a reality. They would do so by making a platform that connects local retailers with online customers.


     Drizly has put a high emphasis on growth in the last couple of years and results show they’ve been successful.

     Below you see a graph of the monthly visitors that drizly.com has received. As you can see from this graph shows September 2016 to February 2017.


     If you compare the graph above with the graph below which shows the monthly visit for drizly.com between March 2018 to August 2018. You will notice that the web traffic has increased significantly. This data was gathered from similarweb.com which shows you the web traffic of different websites. It comes very handily when analyzing a company or to look at your competitors.


     Sadly because I don’t have a premium membership at the website I wasn’t able to get the same months on different years. This would have given a more fair comparison. However, Drizly provides information about the seasonality of its product. This graph which right below shows that the months on showed in traffic in 2018 are the slow months of Drizly. While the months showed in 2016-2017 are the months were Drizly sales the most. This shows that Drizly has been able to grow its web traffic tremendously allowing them to have more traffic in the bad season than what they had on the good season about a year ago.


Data provided by Drizly

     In August 2nd of 2018 Drizly also acquired one of its competitors called Buttery which is also an on-demand alcohol delivery company. Butterly has operations in Boston, Los Angeles, Washington D.C, and Austin. In addition, they are also a Boston based company.

     Drizly network of retailers spans over 100 U.S and Canadian markets. In addition, Drizly expanded to over 40 new markets last year alone, and it continues to grow at an impressive rate.

Age Verification:

     During my presentation, I got a question about how Drizly does age verification, and if Drizly is liable if alcohol is sold to minors through its platform

     One of the first things that Drizly did once it was created was to create Mident which is an application that allows retailers to scan the client’s ID before delivering alcohol. Drizly actually requires every delivery driver to verify the age of the person through the app before the delivery.

     Regarding with the question of liability here is what Drizly’s terms of service say, “ It is solely the responsibility of each Licensed Retailer, and its employees and agents, or the shipping or delivery company used by the Licensed Retailer and that shipping or delivery company’s employees and agents, to verify such proof of identification.” So the liability rests with the retailer.

How does Drizly make money?

     Drizly offers local retailers an opportunity to bring their business online. Once retailers sign up for Drizly their inventory is added to the website. Meaning that every time that a customer searches for any type of alcohol in their area they will be shown the inventory of the retailer and the available pick-up or delivery time. By signing up for this service local retailers are able to get more customers.

     Drizly charges the retailer proportional to how many orders they get. This way the retailer is always getting a return on their investment. Unfortunately, Drizly keeps how much they charge to retailers private.


5 thoughts on “Drizly: Connecting Local Alcohol Retailers with Online Customers

  1. Great post! I had no idea Drizly acquired Buttery and it continues to grow at an astonishing rate! The web traffic is equally impressive and highlights the leadership and efforts of Nick, Justin, and Cory. Barring any litigation or future ramifications, Drizly has established a successful business model in the delivery space, and we could even see the model extend to recreational marijuana after regulatory and legislative approvals.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the post Lucas and great job on your presentation! I always love hearing about Boston College founders. I appreciate the data you brought into your post. It makes sense that Drizly orders peak during the holiday season, but I am surprised there are not more purchases during the warmer months with all the barbecues, parties, etc.. I will definitely be on the lookout for more information about Drizly!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Lucas,

    Great post, this is a really interesting story about BC students being successful entrepreneurs. It’s really cool how this company started as a solution to a simple problem two college kids were having. They definitely found a product-market fit for this service, and with the popularity of food delivery today, this was founded at just the right time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for the post, and great job on your presentation! Drizly seems like a very successful business, and I love the part you included of how they thought of the idea and were inspired to start their own company based on a convenience they were missing in their own lives.


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