The wine & spirits market has long been a challenging one from a regulatory perspective. While numerous direct-to-consumer delivery services flourishing, beverage companies have been challenged by a patchwork on regulations in the United States that stand in the way of making alcohol delivery a way of life. However, thanks to changing regulation and the popularity of “on-demand” delivery during the COVID-19 crisis, new and established alcohol delivery services are poised to grow.
The Changing Role of Alcohol Delivery
The Coronavirus crisis has changed the way people thing about acquiring groceries and other consumables, accelerating a shift toward contactless home delivery. While companies like Instacart, Amazon and Fresh Direct have been exploring this business from the food perspective, there has been a dearth of activity on the alcohol front. Seizing an opportunity, wine delivery companies are seeing a lot of potential in this untapped market.
Local Regulation in Wines & Spirits
One of the biggest obstacles for entrepreneurs in the alcohol arena is that the United States is a patchwork of state-level regulations, and even local laws set by municipalities. The so-called “three tier system” means the production, distribution and retail sale of alcohol is often strictly separated. Producers of wine, for example, cannot distribute their products or sell directly to the consumer, which has traditionally be a major obstacle to online sales.
Major Players in Alcoholic Beverage Delivery
- New market players like Drizly work with local shops to deliver spirits, beer and wine straight to the door of a consumer, serving as both a boon in COVID times and also an asset to small businesses looking for a new distribution channel.
- Wine.com partners with retail locations like Walgreens and FedEx for wine pickup sites.
- Winc is a “wine of the month” club that promises tasty selections in exchange for recurring revenue.
Key Talents Needed for Alcohol Delivery
Alcohol delivery services are meant to make your next cocktail just a click away on your mobile phone, and as such they rely on a different category of skills than the traditional retail market for wines and spirits. Digital and e-commerce professionals are therefore in high demand for this burgeoning field, especially those executives who have a high degree of expertise in “customer acquisition” strategies.
Traditional alcohol distribution was highly reliant on relationships between key account managers, brand managers and their sales territories. In this post COVID age, new alcohol delivery startups will need to recruit professionals who have plenty of industry experiences as well as the wherewithal to adapt their work styles to a more digital friendly medium.
As in cannabis and tobacco, regulation is major part of this market, requiring executives who are adaptable and resourceful in the face of sometimes daunting legal restrictions. But for the most creative wine & spirits professionals, opportunity abounds in the wine & spirit delivery space.
Increasing Reliance on Alcohol Delivery Services
All signs are pointed towards growth in the online delivery space, and a need for seasoned executives who can harness the challenges of logistics, distribution, marketing and customer acquisition. With a long track record of working with both independent companies and some of the largest liquor conglomerates, we here at ACCUR are ready to advise companies expanding in the alcohol delivery space on their hires. Contact us for more information.