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How BrewDrop set the trend for OnDemand Liquor and Wine delivery: Startup Story #21

BrewDrop

And next time you run out of alcohol, don’t keep your glass waiting for a refill.. Just BrewDrop it. Started by Matthew and Andrew Bell in Austin, in 2014 BrewDrop is one of first such apps to deliver Wine and Liquor on Demand. The app allows users to browse Alcohol Stock from various partner stores and place orders. The app serves as a connection between the customers and the licensed businesses selling alcohol. The bottles are delivered to the customer by store employees within 30 – 60 mins.

In conversation with Matt and Andrew where they share their experience with BrewDrop and online marketplace for Liquor and Wine.

Q1.Tell us a little about BrewDrop and your personal motivation for starting this business.

We first conceived the idea for BrewDrop when we wanted to use the service ourselves. We thought “wouldn’t it be nice if there was an app for beer delivery?”. The idea came to us over 3 years ago. Over time, it kept coming up and we decided we had to turn it into a business. As the name would suggest, we were originally planning a beer-only delivery service, with a focus on the craft beer community. In our initial market research the data indicated that users really wanted to be able to order all 3 products, and it didn’t make sense to just limit to beer. So we launched BrewDrop as a “liquor store in the palm of your hand”, making it possible to order beer, wine and liquor from your smartphone.

Q2.Can you give us a rundown of how BrewDrop works?

BrewDrop is a mobile app for on-demand alcohol delivery. Users can order beer, wine and liquor from the app to be delivered in 30-60 minutes. BrewDrop doesn’t make any of the deliveries. BrewDrop is merely a platform that connects customers and merchants (the liquor stores). When a user places an order BrewDrop routes the order to the nearest participating liquor store. The liquor store employee then packs the order and makes the delivery, after verifying the user’s ID at the delivery address.

Q3.Who are your key stakeholders and how are you offering them value?

  1. BrewDrop users. They are the consumers making purchases through the app. They have the benefit of a convenient and safe solution for purchasing alcohol. Just because the beer runs out, doesn’t mean the fun has to end.With BrewDrop, users have a safer solution than driving after they’ve been drinking.
  2. BrewDrop’s merchant partners – the liquor stores. They have a new and much more engaging way to reach customers and grow their business. We help small business owners grow their business in an innovative and meaningful way.

Q4.What is BrewDrop’s biggest achievement to date? How did you go about accomplishing this?

22887481.54bd65c7ee082We were the first alcohol delivery app in Austin and remain the #1 choice of consumers in Austin today. We accomplished this by being innovators and forward thinking. When we had the idea for BrewDrop, no such app existed at the time. We assumed this was because of the legal framework in the alcohol industry. But as we learned, it is 100% legal to delivery alcohol, but no one was doing it at scale. We saw this as a “green field” of opportunity and decided to be the first to execute on it in Austin. This first mover advantage gave us the opportunity to be ahead of the competition and quickly become a preferred choice for consumers in Austin.

Q5.What has been your biggest set back? How did you deal with it?

The alcohol space is tricky. As you might expect, it is highly regulated. The challenge wasn’t in making alcohol delivery accessible at scale, but pricing our service in such a way that BrewDrop could become a highly profitable business, as well as have a business model that is permissible by the TABC. We hired a law firm that specializes in liquor law to help us interpret TABC’s book and arrive at a compelling business model for BrewDrop, which we were able to do successfully.

Q6.Could you shed some light on the technology and tools used to build BrewDrop?

We built our own software. All of the code in our mobile app is proprietary to BrewDrop and coded by our tech co-founder, Sergio Trevino. https://www.linkedin.com/in/sergiotrevino

Q7.What was technically the most challenging part of developing BrewDrop?

Developing the app quickly. After we incorporated the company, we started to see regional competitors launch in other cities. We knew the space was going to grow very fast. We had to move even faster to be ahead of the competition.

Q8.What are some of the hurdles and roadblocks you still face?

The alcohol industry is still very antiquated and slow to adopt change, and this continues to present challenges when approaching new markets.

Q9. There are definitely a lot of companies similar to BrewDrop floating around right now. What are you doing that differentiates you?

We have some really interesting things in the product pipeline that will set us apart from the competition. Stay tuned! 🙂

Q10.Where do you see BrewDrop in five years?

In five years BrewDrop will be in all major US cities, and the preferred choice for on-demand alcohol delivery.

Q11.If you had a chance to go back, what would you want to do differently?

I would have moved even quicker than we did move. I would never have waited when the idea for BrewDrop first came to us.

Q12.Any advice for startups trying to make it big or join the On-Demand space?

Execute, execute, execute. There is a ton of competition in the on-demand space – so what! And the competition is only getting stronger. But if you can execute and gain traction, it doesn’t matter. If you have a good product that adds value to your users, and you work harder than the competition you can nail it. Be better than the competition. Work harder. And you can win.

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