Startups

For Lazy Tipplers, There's an Uber of Alcohol


(Corrects the misspelling of Saucey, an alcohol-delivery startup, throughout the article. Corrects the amount of venture capital raised by Drizly in the sixth paragraph.)

Something used to bother Chris Vaughn as he sat at home with his girlfriend. With their iPhone, they could conjure up a cab with Uber. They could get a meal with Seamless. But when they needed a drink, their smartphones were useless. So Vaughn and two partners founded Saucey, a Los Angeles startup with an app that allows users to have alcohol brought to their door. The Los Angeles Times recently called it “the Uber of liquor delivery.”

Saucey, which was officially launched in May, has a squad of drivers who will go to your local liquor store and pick up a bottle of your favorite, plus extras if you need them. (Of course, you’ll need to provide ID.)

“We have mixers, cordials,” says Vaughn. “We have ice. We have cups. We have cigars and tobacco. And if you want to have a guys-night-in and you want to smoke cigars and order a nice bottle of scotch, we can do that. If it’s a weekend barbecue, and you need all the cups and ice and mixers to make all your mixed drinks and cocktails, we do that. It’s a full platform.” Saucey will even throw in a bartender if you spend enough money.
Courtesy Saucey

Vaughn, Saucey’s 26-year-old chief executive, says the average customer waiting time is 20 minutes. That’s not bad for such a congested place as Los Angles. Vaughn attributes this to the company’s technology. “When a customer places an order, it gets routed to their closest liquor store,” he says.

Saucey currently operates only in Los Angeles, but it’s hoping to expand. “We’ve had stores from over 16 different states contact us asking us how we can bring our platform to them,” Vaughn boasts. “We’ve got customers who work out of the country contacting us.”

Saucey isn’t the only booze-on-demand app. Drizly, a startup in Boston, recently raised $4.8 million in venture capital to fund its expansion. Then there’s Minibar, which is operating in New York City. Thirstie is delivering in New York, L.A., and Chicago.

Vaughn says he isn’t worried about the competition. “When you place an order on the other apps, you’re going to have some random liquor store employee show up at your house,” he says. “When you order from Saucey, we’re dispatching the closest driver to you. It’s a background checked, trained, friendly guys wearing a Saucey shirt. He’s there to greet you. And we’ve designed this to be almost like a hotel room service-like experience.”

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Leonard is a staff writer for Bloomberg Businessweek in New York.

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