Is alcohol essential? Certainly not, but keeping your drink of choice stocked during trying times can be a source of comfort (when consumed responsibly). And some spirits and wine producers — along with the liquor stores and delivery services that make their products available on demand — are able to thrive at a time during which many businesses cannot. And when it comes to the liquor industry, many brands are paying it forward by funneling funds to shuttered bars and restaurants in an effort to support these establishments and furloughed employees until they can get back on their feet. So, while ordering a few bottles of wine or your favorite whiskey is somewhat of a luxury, the action itself could represent more than one might think. Plus, sending the gift of a great drink is a surefire way to put a smile on a friend’s or loved one’s face as they navigate their own way through this time. If you’re new to this delivery scene, we compiled some of the best wine, spirits and beer delivery services out there to help keep your bar stocked throughout quarantine, doing the world a bit of good in the process. (Delivery fees and full pricing will vary depending on what you get delivered and where you get it delivered to.)
Drizly’s business model is simple: They work with local liquor stores as a third party to bring wine, beer, spirits and “extras” (think mixers, snacks, and party supplies) to you through their independent website and app. Simply enter your address to begin shopping from participating stores in your area, and you can select from what is generally a wide variety of delivery windows (often same-day, depending on availability). The best part? There are no markups, so you’re paying what you would if you’d gone to the store yourself (be sure to tip your delivery person). Drizly is perhaps one of the easiest services to use for gifting, to boot — you can choose and pay for your gift, and the recipient can select the delivery window based on their own schedule, for example. Keep an eye out for deals across the site, whether you’re shopping for yourself or someone else. There are usually plenty to go around. Another perk: Drizly makes drink shopping easy for businesses with a “white-glove” service handling custom orders for events or large-scale shopping.
Launched in New York in 2014, Minibar is a female-founded alcohol delivery service that also partners with local businesses to bring bottles to your door at the touch of a button. With this service, you can order wine, liquor, beer, mixers and other essentials seamlessly, either for yourself or as a gift for someone else. Once things start to return to “normal” (whatever that might look like), you can also test out Minibar’s “Book a Bartender” feature, which connects shoppers with pro cocktailians for at-home drink making. And, if you’re shopping for the perfect gift, you can look to the gift section of the site or app for guidance — currently, they’ve got a special Absolut Elyx Boutique as well as a Pearl Street Caviar digital pop-up. When it comes to corporate social responsibility, Minibar partners with a different charity each month through the Drink & Do Good program, so you can feel good about every purchase made. Minibar’s past charity partners include Children of Restaurant Employees, DREAM, United Way Harvey Recovery Fund, United Way of the Wine Country, and New York Cares.
3. FreshDirect Wines & Spirits
You might know FreshDirect primarily as a grocery delivery service catering to the East Coast, but their wine and spirits offerings are not to be overlooked. It’s incredibly easy to add a few bottles to a grocery order, or to shop bottles on their own. FreshDirect Wines & Spirits covers all of the basic categories, including red, white, rosé, sparkling and fortified and sweet wines, along with cider, sake, beers and all the main spirit types, plus bitters, ready-to-drink cocktails and more. FreshDirect delivers to the following areas: all five New York City boroughs and surrounding counties, as well as northern, central, and southern New Jersey, Delaware, Washington, D.C., the greater Philadelphia area, and during the summer, the Jersey Shore and the Hamptons. For almost all areas, the delivery minimum is $30 (the Hamptons minimum is $99) and delivery fees range from $6 to $16, depending on location. Currently, FreshDirect is operating on a touchless delivery basis, so you can stay as safe as possible when your delivery arrives. If you’re planning on placing multiple orders, you can join DeliveryPass for unlimited free deliveries (you’ll also get special access to preferred delivery times). And, if you place over 12 residential orders or spend an average of $500 monthly in a three-month window, you’ll automatically be enrolled in FreshDirect’s exclusive loyalty program, Chef’s Table.
4. FreshDirect Express
FreshDirect Express is FreshDirect’s on-demand metropolitan cousin, serving only the New York City metro area (for now, at least). With FreshDirect Express, you can shop all of the wine and spirits categories carried by FreshDirect, as well as the same wide variety of beers with delivery in as little as one hour — look for “Pour + Save” deals across the board to save some cash in the process. If you’ve got the FreshDirect DeliveryPass, this unlocks special pricing for FreshDirect Express deliveries, bringing it down to just $2.
Available in major cities across the country (think New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Seattle, Atlanta, and many more) as well as select cities in Canada and Australia, DoorDash offers meals and booze from local restaurants via delivery or pickup. To find wine or beer available in your area, simply input your keyword into the search function, select “items,” and browse your heart away. Get free delivery on your first order, and keep an eye out for other promos throughout the site — if you’re ordering drinks from a restaurant, consider also ordering a meal alongside it, as hospitality establishments are in need of support given the impact COVID-19 has had on the industry. In 2018, the founders launched Project DASH (DoorDash Acts for Sustainability and Hunger), an initiative dedicated to addressing food waste and hunger issues in some of the areas it serves. This program entails a variety of charitable efforts, including 1:1 meal donations, giving funds and food to Feeding America and more.
SWILL is a markup-free wine, spirits, and beer delivery app that touts itself as “the liquor store in your pocket,” which sums it up pretty well. With this app (or via the website), you’ve got digital access to your local liquor stores’ stock, which means the selection will vary based on your location, but you can generally expect to see all the drinking basics. Deliveries are usually made within an hour or less, so this is an excellent option for last-minute orders and supporting local businesses (pickup is also an option). SWILL is available in major U.S. cities including New York, New Jersey, Las Vegas, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, Austin, and others, with additional locations added monthly (you can check for updates via social media or the website). SWILL also offers wine delivery via FedEx to 48 states (all except Texas and Massachusetts).
Founded in 2012 by a group of beer lovers, CraftShack is a digital destination for all things beer, a place for craft beer nerds to unite, but also shop spirits, seltzers, ciders and a few coffees scattered around the site, because everybody has different needs. Somewhat like the other services in its class, CraftShack bridges the gap between customers, brands and small family-owned liquor stores, but this is more ideal for when you’re planning ahead or just continually keeping your shelves stocked with fun, new brews — your order will be shipped to you flat-rate if you’re in one of the 48 qualifying states (there’s no on-demand feature). These guys pride themselves on their ultra-personal customer service, as well as their rewards program, which every account holder is automatically enrolled in. All orders are in mix-and-match formats of either 12 cans, 24 cans, six bottles or 12 bottles, and shipping prices vary depending on which option you go for.
8. Spirit Hub
For fans of craft spirits and the independent distillers behind them, Spirit Hub exists to bridge the gap between this corner of the industry and spirits enthusiasts shopping online. If you or your gift recipient live in Illinois, you can shop via the Spirit Hub website or app from an impressive collection of featured distillers from all over the world, smartly divided into categories that make it easy to identify the kind of businesses you prefer to support (think family-owned, organic, sustainable, farm-to-glass, women-owned and distilled, veteran-owned and more). Spirit Hub does plan to expand outside its home state in the near future, so keep an eye out to see if it becomes available in your area.
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