Seattle’s new alcohol delivery service, Drizly, sounds almost too good to be true.
At the click of a button, any of hundreds of bottles—at grocery store prices!—can be yours, delivered in a flash from local liquor store Downtown Spirits. Other delivery services like Postmates cannot deliver alcohol under the state’s current liquor laws, so the Boston-based startup’s new Seattle chapter is the city’s first real brush with booze on demand.
So, like any good reporter, I had to try it for myself to figure out whether Drizly is actually all it’s cracked up to be.
Deciding what to order was no mean feat: with hundreds of beers, wines and liquors to choose from, along with a slew of “extras” ranging from Angostura bitters to club soda to fresh limes, you could browse Drizly’s site for hours and still leave undecided. Do you want a six-pack of a local microbrew, or one of 14 (!) flavors of Absolut? A nice bottle of Dewazakura sake, or the three-figure Dom Perignon?
After a long internal debate about whether it would make me seem utterly snobby in the pages of the Spectator (which I’m sure it will), I eventually settled on what I really wanted: a great big bottle of Lillet. Yeah, I’m pretentious, you can say it—but thanks to Drizly, at least I could be pretentious in the privacy of my own home. Besides, I reasoned, James Bond drinks Lillet, and he has a license to kill. I put a bottle in my virtual shopping cart and tallied up the damage.
Drizly allegedly doesn’t mark up its bottles, but they still felt a tad costly to me. Lo and behold, after comparing prices between Drizly and QFC, I found that a fifth of Beefeater, a six-pack of Angry Orchard, and a bottle of 14 Hands wine do in fact cost the same at both retailers. But I almost always buy alcohol on sale at QFC, so Drizly still ended up being harder on my wallet, especially after factoring in the tip. There’s also usually a $5 delivery fee, but Drizly is waiving the fee for Seattle users through the end of November.
About 30 minutes after placing my order, a delivery guy from Downtown Spirits arrived with the goods. Under-21s, beware: they do check IDs, using a forensic ID verification system consistent with Washington State law (translation: a fake ID would be unlikely to fool them).
But some deliverers may need a refresher course in ID-checking. The guy who brought me my wine incorrectly told me that my ID was expired because it was vertical, even though it has two good years left. The more troubling part? He still gave me my order, despite my purportedly invalid ID. Yikes.
My concerns about Drizly’s price and dubious legality dissipated, though, when I took my first sip of wine that I didn’t have to leave the house to obtain. As I drank, I gazed out the window at the starry night sky—and the late-night glow of QFC a mere two blocks away from my apartment.
Okay, so Drizly is an indulgence, a particularly silly one in a city where few of us are far from a grocery or convenience store. But snuggled up on the couch in my pajamas, I found it hard to care.
Caroline may be reached at [email protected]