British Columbia

From liquor store to your door: Booze delivery app launches in Vancouver

A Boston-based company is launching its mobile app Drizly in Vancouver which promises to deliver beer, wine and spirits to consumers in under 60 minutes.

Barcode scanner allows delivery drivers to check if a piece of ID is authentic

The Drizly mobile app gives consumers access to the entire inventory of select Liquor Depot stores in Vancouver. (Submitted by Drizly)

Consumers in Vancouver can now have booze delivered to their door with the arrival of an app-based service that includes age-verification software.

The Boston-based Drizly website and mobile app promises to deliver consumers beer, wine and spirits from select Liquor Depot locations in under 60 minutes.

The company first partnered with Canadian retailers in 2016 when it launched for the Alcanna-owned Liquor Depot and Liquor Barn stores in Edmonton.

"The primary reason for waiting for Vancouver was to get the Alberta operation in both Edmonton and Calgary humming," said Drizly co-founder Justin Robinson. "We're really excited to be in another province in Canada."

Drizly will work with seven Liquor Depot locations in Vancouver to host their entire inventory of beers, wines and spirits on their platform at the same prices, along with recommendations, cocktail recipes and other information on popular products.

App scans ID barcode

Drizly's verification software, which helps keep liquor out of the hands of minors, made it appealing to Alcanna when it was looking for a platform to sell its products on demand.

"The ID verification platform that Drizly provides is a big bonus. It's a great piece of technology," says Sunil Suvarna, spokesperson for Liquor Depot and Liquor Barn.

Drizly has been operating with Liquor Barn and Liquor Depot stores in Edmonton and Calgary since 2016. (Submitted by Drizly)

According to its website, Drizly provides retailers with a device that scans the barcode on pieces of identification to collect the name, date of birth and the expiry date of the ID. The device then determines whether it is an authentic or a fake I.D.

"We started in Boston in 2013 and we spent a lot of time on how can we equip retailers — Boston's a pretty heavy college town — with technology in an iPhone to protect them and their licensees," explained Robinson.

Once age and identity are confirmed, the scanned information is deleted from Drizly's records.

Retailers can choose to use the scanner on every delivery or only in cases where employees suspect a consumer is underage.

"All the delivery drivers are trained Liquor Depot and Liquor Barn employees, so they go through the same training as the staff in store," said Suvarna. "They're trained to recognize not selling to minors and being able to assess whether someone should not be served."

Minimum $20 purchase

Licensed establishments in B.C. are permitted to sell their products online and deliver them to customers.

B.C.'s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch said in a statement that it is not aware of the app but that "only liquor licensed establishments can advertise liquor brands and prices."

It added that deliveries can only occur between 9 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. on the same day the order was placed.

Consumers will have to purchase a minimum of $20 worth of products from Liquor Depot and Liquor Barn to qualify for delivery. A flat rate of $4.99 is added to each delivery.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eva Uguen-Csenge is a multimedia reporter for CBC News in Vancouver. Get in touch with her at eva.uguen-csenge@cbc.ca or on Twitter @evacsenge for story tips.

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