The national shutdown of bars, pubs and clubs has led to a huge increase in alcohol home delivery during COVID-19.
“Our (new) customers have grown by 23% in comparison to the same time last month,” a Jimmy Brings spokesperson told the Daily Telegraph.
“There’s also been a huge year on year increase in order volume with a 152% compared to the same time last year.”
Retail Drinks Australia chief executive Julie Ryan said one national retailer’s deliveries were up 300% from December to March, while the size of the average order had increased by 50%.
She noted that while consumers were buying more online, they were purchasing less frequently.
“The amount that someone purchases is wholly unrelated to how much they are consuming,” Ryan said.
“The whole nature of takeaway alcohol is to buy it, store it and drink it over a period of time.”
Ryan said apps such as Sherpa and Drive Yellow were being used by small liquor chains and independents for deliveries.
“A lot of stores are trying to start an online business to keep their share of the market,” she said.
Businesses adapt to the new landscape
GoodDrop.com.au has pivoted to offer same-day alcohol home delivery to residents in the Illawarra region.
The business was started by the Kollaras & Co in 2013 to supply national customers with premium spirits, liqueurs and wine.
General manager Dale Ledger told the Illawarra Mercury that “unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures”.
Ledger said the new model was set up initially to save jobs but he now hopes it will create more. He also said the company has strict virus management processes in place and offers contact-free delivery.
“Stock is delivered to the doorstep and left on the ground for the customer to pick up, ensuring two metre separation at all times
“Stock is not signed for. Once the customer agrees it has been delivered in full, the driver takes a photo of it on the doorstep as proof of delivery
“The driver uses hand sanitiser between each delivery and disposable gloves when required. The goods being delivered are sprayed with disinfectant solution.
“Each driver is temperature checked by the warehouse supervisor before commencing a delivery run. If a driver presents any flu like symptoms, they are immediately quarantines from the warehouse and sent for a medical check”.
Different Drop hires restaurant staff
Sydney based wine delivery company Different Drop is hiring wine reps and restaurant staff who have lost their jobs to assist with its increased sales volumes.
The compamy is working closely with boutique wineries around Australia to support them by offering them a digital platform to sell their wines. Australia’s winemakers have had a difficult year already with the bushfires destroying many vineyards and hurting tourism numbers at the start of the year. Now the industry is trying to navigate the sales void being left by COVID-19 and the destruction of the hospitality industry.
Different Drop Co-Founder Brett Ketelbey said: “2020 has been pretty hard on our boutique winemakers. Typically smaller wineries will sell 75% or more of their production through their cellar door or to local restaurants and wine bars. If they can’t reach wine lovers they are in serious trouble and that’s where Different Drop can help. We provide a platform for wine lovers to buy from Australia’s best artisan wineries and distillers.”
Ketelbey noted that consumer spending patterns are suggesting people are spoiling themselves with some higher end wines while they are confined to their home. He speculates that people who have cancelled their holidays and aren’t spending money on dining out are looking to find smaller luxuries that they can treat themselves to at home. While they can’t holiday in France, they can still order French wines.
Different Drop is also seeing a large spike in mixed pack sales and more unusual wines, as customers are looking to explore and try new things they would normally try in a bar or restaurant.
US home mixology boom
Drizly, an alcohol home delivery platform operating in more 100 markets across the United States and Canada, has seen a 300% rise in sales.
Mixology ingredients are going through the roof according to Liz Paquette, Drizly’s head of consumer insights. Orders for liqueurs, cordials, schnapps, and mixers are up by 600% to 1000%. Vermouth is up 1200%.
Buyers are also seeking better quality in their spirits.
“In liquor, we have actually seen a 2% jump in share to bottles in the $30-$39.99 range,” Paquette told Fast Company. “This has come pretty directly from bottles in the $10-$29.99 ranges.”
However, wine has seen a bit of a downgrade, with sales in the $1-$9.99 per bottle category slightly up.