Launch Pad: Alcohol Deliveries App

Julie Bhusal Sharma

An "Uber for alcohol" is taking advantage of Columbus' untapped market for alcohol delivery apps-so much so that it even does business as the straightforward "Alcohol Deliveries."

The app, compatible with iOS and Android, is free to download, though customers pay a processing fee for their alcohol orders selected through the app's menu. Tipping can be done through the app or at the door, and founders Joshua Walker andAnthony Reynoldspromise to have deliveries arrive within 40 minutes of any order.

Walker andReynoldswere working at JPMorgan Chase & Co. last spring when they decided they wanted to invest personal money in their own startup. Reynolds, a Short North resident, saw a need for alcohol deliveries in his neighborhood, so the two rolled out a beta version of Alcohol Deliveries for the Short North in July 2015.

Now, Alcohol Deliveries, which has ended beta testing as well as enrollment in Rev1's Concept Academy, is delivering to most of Columbus and its suburbs and is looking to expand marketing via sponsorship opportunities through concerts and the like.

Marketing will be crucial if Drinkos, a Cincinnati-based alcohol delivery app, returns to Columbus after months on hiatus. Drizly, an alcohol delivery app servicing 18 metropolitan areas nationwide, is not in Columbus, but Alcohol Deliveries plans to stay in the game if they arrive-despite the fact that Drizly claims most deliveries take 20-40 minutes from order to doorstep. The reason? Drizly has a $20-$30 order minimum, whereas Alcohol Deliveries doesn't have a minimum order requirement. Amazon Prime Now would prove to be another threat if it decides to deliver alcohol in Columbus. Prime Now currently delivers alcohol in over 20 cities within an hour of each request.

Additional investment could be a possibility with Bunker Labs, a not-for-profit aiding veterans in entrepreneurship and a resource for Walker and Reynolds, who both served in the US Air Force. In the meantime, Walker and Reynolds hope to leverage preference insights from orders to market to grocers and liquor stores.

Will Alcohol Deliveries achieve startup success?

Potential Investor:"(I like) the idea of eliminating beer runs ... after already consuming. ... From an investment perspective it will be all about numbers. ... The digital age allows such rapid feedback ... it will make it easy to evaluate what the data says."

Bill Frank,partner, NCT Ventures

Potential User:"After thinking about the service provided by Alcohol Deliveries, the main advantages that I see are the quick delivery time and the fact there is no minimum order (because) my husband and I are only occasional drinkers."

Betty Anderson,retired educator

Industry Pro:"We're big supporters of delivery services and concepts like this. ... (The Ohio Taproom has) a few deliveries per week, but we don't really market it that heavily. If additional services are available, it can benefit all of us, I believe."

John Evans, owner, the Ohio Taproom

Invented by: Alcohol Deliveries, ?

Cost: Free download, upcharge for orders

Investors: Founders Joshua Walker andAnthony Reynoldsand their friends and family

Amount funded: $25,000