Haskell’s Wine & Spirits is partnering with Drizly Inc., a Boston app maker, on a home delivery service of beer and wine that begins with orders over smartphones and tablets.
The service, which launches Thursday in Minneapolis, St. Paul and several western suburbs, is fulfilled by Haskell’s stores and drivers it will employ.
Drizly, started by three Boston College students in 2011, developed a way to verify the age of the person placing the order and has created similar partnerships with local retailers in 11 other metropolitan areas.
Several independent liquor stores in the Twin Cities, including 1010 Wine & Spirits in Minneapolis and Nowak’s Liquors in St. Paul, offer a similar delivery service via Drinkfly, a Chicago-based app firm.
Meanwhile, another fast-rising grocery delivery firm built around mobile technology, San Francisco-based Instacart, appears on the verge of entering the Twin Cities market. The firm, which hires independent personal shoppers to deliver groceries to customers’ doorsteps within an hour, recently posted a job for a city manager in Minneapolis.
A spokeswoman for Instacart would not confirm the possible expansion to Minneapolis, saying the company does not comment on new city launches before they happen. Instacart also has a job posting for an operations associate in Minneapolis.
The moves show that home ordering of groceries, for decades a service that neighborhood groceries offered via phoned-in orders, is undergoing another shift in technology.
PC-based grocery ordering arose during the dot-com boom of the late 1990s. There are a number of other grocery delivery operators in other cities — Peapod, FreshDirect, etc. And in the Twin Cities, Lunds & Byerlys offers Web-based delivery and Coborns, based in St. Cloud, has made deliveries in the metro area since taking over Simon Delivers in 2008.
Firms like Drizly and Instacart rely more heavily on mobile devices and stay lean by not building up big fleets. Drizly counts on its local partners and Instacart relies on its network of part-time shoppers the way Uber does with drivers.
Both services aim to deliver goods within an hour of receiving an order.
For Drizly, the chief constraint is making sure that the person placing the order is of legal age. And, if a customer is intoxicated when the delivery arrives, Drizly’s policy is to give the delivery driver the discretion to not fulfill the order. The customer would get a refund but would be hit with a $20 fee.