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Liquor Delivery App Drizly Totally Exists, Definitely Works

Great news for lushes in certain neighborhoods: you can get liquor delivered to your house. We tried Drizly and it's real, so y'all can stop pinching yourselves.

A few years ago, this seemed like a difficult concept to grasp for Seattle, then still under the limitations of a state-controlled liquor business. Although even after privatization went into effect in 2012 — and with it, home delivery — same-day delivery still seemed like a long ways off. Even as apps like Eat24 and Munchery expanded their culinary convenience to Washington from California, they seemed to leave alcohol behind in favor of not dealing with our comparably labyrinthine liquor laws.

Marques Warren, CFO of Downtown Spirits — one of a few stores delivering your Drizly orders — told us that he and CEO Meru Belbayeva spoke with Postmates at a conference once. "They were just starting to consider alcohol delivery," he said, but once they started looking into state laws it was "not a direction they were particularly interested in pursuing."

Enter Drizly. Unlike other delivery apps, Drizly deals exclusively with alcohol, partnering with local booze-merchants to get your poison of choice from the shelf to your door in 40 minutes or less. Having such a narrow focus makes it uniquely suited to working with states whose laws other apps can't handle; the Boston-based duo behind Drizly even cooked up their own ID verification system.

"[Drizly is] the best at working with local partners," said Marques, adding that they don't work with big-box stores like Costco and Bevmo. "Gives us a little more leverage when dealing with suppliers and distributors."

Downtown Spirits is one of a few retailers working with Drizly right now; if you live north of Spokane St or south of 50th Ave N, your delivery comes from them. Smaller stores, like Ballard Liquor and University Liquor, expand Drizly's delivery range up to SR 523. Unfortunately, as has often been the case with location-contingent startups, the service has been slow to expand to South and West Seattle.

So, assuming you're at the corner of "startup" and "rollout area," what can you get through the app? Because your order comes from your local liquor store and not directly from Drizly, your options are going to be similar to the ones you'd get visiting your local store. Keeping with the neighborhoody vibe of Drizly's business model, I scored some 2 Bar Bourbon, which is distilled in SODO. (Notably, just barely inside Drizly's delivery range!) The bottle got to my front door in about 20 minutes, delivered by an extremely courteous Downtown Spirits employee, who was pretty enthusiastic to show me his side of the app.

As for Drizly's ordering experience, it's functional. You select your items through a practical, if not totally clunky, menu system. If you know exactly what you'd like, you can search, although not thematically or by distiller — for example, a search for "Fremont Mischief" will bring up the local distiller's self-titled spirits, but not their John Jacob Rye.

Users of similar apps will know the drill at this point. You enter your credit card information and submit your order to the store. When the driver starts delivery, you can follow his progress by watching a pin on a map. Take note, though, that the "call" button will call the store and not the driver, although in my experience they were happy to relay a message.

My friendly delivery driver showed up in a lightning-fast 20 minutes, scanned my ID, and handed over the goods.

Even if it can be a little hard to search for directly from the app right now, you can nab a pretty great selection through the service. "We've worked to develop [our] selection and keep it specialty and craft," said Meru, adding that it's the case with many that took over previously state-run liquor stores. Since those are, apparently, just the types of stores Drizly tends to work with, your chances of finding some sweet options seem pretty high.

Don't panic, though: You can also get Bud Light and Absolut — even some Everclear. The point is, you have options, and for $5 (free til November 30!), you can have all those options just show up at your north-of-Spokane-Street doorstep. We tried it; it works. Have at it.
· Drizly [D]
· Home delivery of liquor is now legal in Washington: Will Amazon jump on board? [GW]