When the news broke last week that Uber was acquiring alcohol delivery platform Drizly for $1.1 billion in cash and stock, the immediate question that sprung to mind was whether Uber would maintain Drizly’s position as an intermediary between customers and alcohol retailers, or whether it would take an axe to the existing three-tier system for alcohol sales by attempting to fulfill orders on their own. Given their current businesses, that seems like a reasonable assumption, no matter what the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America thinks.
So what does it mean if Uber takes on the existing system for alcohol distribution in the United States? That’s what Adam Teeter and Zach Geballe discuss on this week’s “VinePair Podcast” — how Uber could offer rapid delivery and expansive selections, and how it has the financial muscle and “break things” attitude to take on antiquated laws and entrenched power brokers.
Or check out the conversation here
Adam: From Brooklyn, New York, I’m Adam Teeter.
Zach: And in Seattle, Washington, I’m Zach Geballe.
A: And this is the “VinePair Podcast.” And Zach, what did you drink, man? Because I was following you on Instagram, so I saw you drinking some stuff, but I think we discussed this, right, that you said after Dry January, you basically do at least have a glass of wine every night. Right? Or something.
Z: I drink pretty regularly for sure. I would say most days, not quite every day. In the rest of the year, my wife and I usually take at least Mondays off, sometimes a second day. But I actually am doing something that I don’t usually do while we record the podcast — we’re recording a little later on Thursday than normal. And my son has apparently decided this week that naps are no longer a thing he does. So I actually have a beer right here, and I’m going to open that son of a b**** while we record, because daddy needs a beer. And this is the Space Rex Hazy IPA from Fremont Brewing in my neck of the woods. So yeah, this is one thing that I’m drinking. And I will tell you that the big update, which did not make it on the Instagram so you don’t know about it — but is interesting to you, I think, and to me — I had a little taste of the now aged eggnog that’s been kicking around the back of my fridge since mid-December.
A: And how was it?
Z: You know, it was exactly what I was led to believe, but it was still kind of cool to try. Definitely way more mellow. I mean, I basically made Aaron Goldfarb’s recipe. In fact, basically, I did make it. Thanks Aaron, great recipe. And you use three different spirits: You use bourbon, Cognac, and rum. And when I first had it, I mean, I love eggnog so it was super tasty. But the booze is pretty present and it’s just intense. And this one was very, very mellow in a delightful way. But I do think that the thought that struck me, and it was something that I read when I was reading about this whole idea, is that probably if I were to put more effort into enjoying it in the future, I will make a little fresh eggnog to go with it, because I almost feel like what I want is something that’s in between this very mellow, smooth — it’s almost too smooth if that’s a thing that could be true. And yet I don’t also want totally fresh, “nervy,” in-your-face eggnog. So maybe one of these nights I’ll make up a little fresh batch and mix in some of the old stuff and have the best of both worlds.
A: Next year, I should make it. I’ve never had eggnog before, so next year I should do it.
A: Yeah. I’ve never had it before.
Z: I mean, it was not a thing I grew up with, to be fair.
Z: You know, Pacific Northwest Jews, not a big eggnog-drinking community. I should say I had like the grocery-store, nonalcoholic eggnog, but even that in limited supply, but definitely not as a cocktail until I started making it in restaurants. One winter, we were like, “let’s make eggnog,” and put it on the cocktail menu for the wintertime, which was cool, but definitely dangerous, because it led to me drinking a lot of eggnog.
A: That’s so funny.
Z: What have you been drinking?
A: So what did I have recently that I really loved? I had a little bit of Scotch earlier this week. Again, this thing I said where I had one at the end of the meal, like I talked about last week, which was pretty good. I had a nice bottle last night of Cusumano Etna Bianco.
Z: Oh, very nice.
A: Just a really chill bottle wine. I had it with — OK, so I’m going to come clean here. If anyone else who listens watches TikTok as much as I do. But we’re coming out with a huge TikTok package in the middle of this month. We’re devoting a ton of content that’s all going to publish at the same time about how TikTok has disrupted a lot of alcohol influencing and things like that, which we think is really interesting. Some profiles of people, just the tech in general, etc., so I’ve been spending a lot of time on TikTok. And there is this recipe that’s gone crazy viral. I don’t know if anyone’s seen it but a woman in Finland, like a year and a half ago created this recipe. She was a chef and now everyone on TikTok has been making it. Basically, you take a pint of cherry tomatoes and you put them in a baking dish with an entire block of feta, lemon zest, you add things to it. But like lemon zest, red pepper flakes, olive oil, and you bake the whole thing for 30 to 45 minutes at 400. And then you smash it all when it comes out, and then you add pasta water and it creates a sauce and then you toss pasta in it. Look, Naomi and I dubbed it adult mac and cheese last night. Like it’s so funny to watch people on TikTok be like, “Oh, this is the best Italian,” and I’m like this is definitely not Italian. They do not use feta, first of all. Second of all, this definitely is mac and cheese. But it is ridiculous. Because it’s salty, savory, there’s the creaminess from the feta, it’s just very, very tasty, and then I paired it with this Cusumano, and it was delightful. That was just a really nice midweek thing. The reason I ask you if you were drinking was because, of course, we took off Monday and Tuesday and had planned to not drink last night either. And then I was like, “Well, I made this pasta dish.” And Naomi was like, “Are we really not going to have wine with this? Are we just going to sit here and, like, drink water?” And I was like, “Yeah, I kind of don’t want to sit here and drink water and have this ridiculously rich dish. And something about the Carricante whatever, just was perfect to cut through it. But I highly recommend it as a meal, especially for people like yourself or other parents who are busy. My sister-in-law who has kids made it first and said it was really easy to do, especially after she put the kids to bed, because it’s like you basically don’t think. You throw everything into a dish and you don’t think for like 45 minutes.
A: And then it comes out and you mash it all together with the pasta you’ve been cooking. And it’s just perfect, and it tastes very, very good.
Z: My son is also obsessed with noodles, as many children are.
A: Oh, I think he would probably love this too, especially if he likes mac and cheese. It’s just adult mac and cheese and you add fresh basil to it and stuff at the end.
A: But I can see why it became this massive sensation because it’s like the ease of it, plus just the flavors it delivers. And for a lot of people who probably also don’t consider themselves like the best cooks. It’s kind of foolproof and it’s just very tasty. So, yeah, everyone go out and make it. So that’s what I drank recently.
Z: Very cool.
A: So, I mean, we got some big news to talk about this week. So the two biggest things before this podcast is, there were two massive “fundraising” events that happened in the wine industry this week, or the drinks industry in general. One we think is bigger than the other and we’ll talk about for the majority and that’s Uber buying Drizly for $1.1 billion of cash and stock. We can explain that, when a company buys another company, oftentimes it’s not all cash. Right? So you got to imagine a majority of this price is being paid in stock, and the Drizly founders are going to have to stay for a little while. But a massive deal, which I want to get into. And the other is obviously Vivino raising over $100 million in series D funding to fund their marketplace. So again, a play for e-commerce, alcohol, that being e-commerce wine specifically. But the Uber piece is really interesting here. There’s a lot of things to unpack in terms of why this happened and why now. We at VinePair, especially through our VP Pro vertical that really talks about the trade, have a lot of theories as to why this happened. If you’re not subscribed to the VP Pro emails, and especially to the look-back, which my co-founder Josh put together every Friday, which is a deep analysis of major movements in the industry every week, you definitely should — especially if this is stuff that you care about. I promise, if you’re just more interested in Zach and I debating, the industry or certain wine movements, etc., in general, we will do this podcast, too. But this week is definitely much more of a business conversation. So, Zach, I have to say, when you heard the news, what was your reaction immediately?
Z: Well, I think the first question that came to my mind was basically is Uber interested in Drizly’s business model, or is it interested in Drizly’s market share? And I think the answer pretty convincingly is likely the latter. And for those of you who aren’t familiar with the business model, because I think this is something that’s easily mistaken — even by people who know a fair bit about the business — because what Drizly really was, was a platform, essentially, And Drizly was in contract with liquor stores and businesses of that ilk all over the country or in much of the country. They weren’t everywhere because, again, states’ liquor laws are all different. But basically what Drizly provided was a point of contact for you, the consumer and a “near-ish” liquor store and basically the platform by which the transaction was conducted between you and that liquor store, that liquor store, from a legal standpoint, from everything I understand was responsible for filling the order, verifying your age, collecting payment, etc. I think Drizly actually collects payment, I should take that back. And then passes it along. But basically, Drizly, had no delivery drivers. Drizly had no inventory. They were just a point of connection between the consumer and the retailer. And in our current Covid landscape, obviously, Drizly suddenly became a huge player because for many people, the ease of having not just beer and wine, but spirits in particular, which are often harder to get via mail or other kinds of delivery. You get those things delivered to your door and done expeditiously was really, really, really valuable and very attractive. And at the same time, fine, that’s great. I think, and I suspect you agree with me, that Uber has basically zero interest in that business model and only really interested in the market share and the technology and all the data and stuff that Drizly owns.
Z: But I don’t know. What was your reaction?
A: So here’s what I thought. So basically when I saw this happen, Josh and I immediately jumped on the phone and were like, because we’re geeks about all this business stuff. And we’re like, let’s talk this through. So first, I want full disclosure. Gary Vaynerchuk, who has had multiple exits, is an investor in us and an investor in Drizly. But I think it’s interesting that he’s been pushing Drizly as being the future for a long time now. And I think he also pushed this for the same reason that you’re talking about. Right? It’s about building the market share, not necessarily about the way that they currently push sales. Because the way they currently push sales, as you explained, is they’re passing the sale and then it’s up to the liquor store to have the person that actually runs out with the delivery. What immediately we saw are a few things. One, Uber stock has been tanking for a while now. Right? The idea that ride-sharing is going to be this really huge market, Wall Street is not convinced of that. And they’re not convinced of that primarily for one main thing. And that is that the two biggest companies in the industry, Uber and Lyft, raised a massive amount of money in order to become unicorn startups and basically have been subsidizing the cost of our rides, which is fine. I’m happy for Silicon Valley to subsidize my rides. But there’s a belief amongst Wall Street that the second that money runs out and that market pricing has to happen in rides, potentially their market share is going to go down. There’s going to be other players who then will also be able to invest and subsidize people’s rides. And Uber may not be the dominant player. So that’s the fear. So Uber made a very calculated decision that it should move immediately into delivery of all things. Delivery of me and you. Yes, that’s what ride sharing is. But then also delivery of packages, delivery of food, etc. And it really honed in on food. And it’s gone really, really heavily into delivery of food and really now has only two main competitors in that area: GrubHub and DoorDash. And DoorDash’s IPO has done extremely well in the pandemic. So what all of these people realized pretty quickly when everything was relaxed in Covid was that they could start adding alcohol as part of your food order. We were doing that obviously to help restaurants because the government can’t bring it upon themselves to actually help restaurants. So we’ll just loosen some laws. And they started realizing that a large percentage of people were adding alcohol to their orders. And so pretty quickly, all of these companies started also adding liquor stores in the same way that Drizly had. And I think, it’d be very silly to think that there wasn’t a bidding war here, but that there was a realization among the GrubHubs and Ubers of the world, which are far better funded than Drizly, even though Drizly raised a lot of money. But when you put it in the context of the amount of money that these other companies have raised, it’s kind of ridiculous. That it would be a lot easier to instead of fighting a turf battle where they were trying to convince liquor stores to switch, to just buy Drizly. We think, because the $1.1 billion price actually isn’t justified based on what their profits probably are. As you were chatting about, Zach, I think they made like $1.99 per delivery. That’s the fee they charge the retailer plus some fee that’s kind of undisclosed. But based on if you look at the amount of deliveries they said they had done in the last year, that can’t be enough to justify like a 10 times valuation or a 5 times valuation. So they’re buying the market. They’re buying these people, but Uber has already said basically that they may use their drivers. Well, that’s right now illegal. You actually can’t do that. Then you’re not a marketing platform. Right? So Uber is definitely going to start trying to push the law. And I think it’s interesting that WSWA heralded this purchase.
Z: So that’s the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers in America — just so people are familiar with who we’re talking about here.
A: And let’s be clear, they are the main lobbyists of the middle tier. They are the people that help support the fact that the middle tier still exists. And so they would not want Drizly to start changing the laws. I think it’s interesting that they think that Uber won’t. Now, I see no way Uber doesn’t. I think that it’s going to be really interesting because there’s been a lot of conversations as to what this means for the rest of alcohol online. I think, and you and I chatted about this a little bit before. I think it’s going to be a lot better for the big players than the small, as it always has been. I think we’ve seen the amount of money that some of the really large corporations have dumped into Drizly during the pandemic to make sure that their bottles show up when you open the app, and have paid a lot of money to drive people to the app in the first place. I don’t know how good it’s going to be for the small players unless the model changes. Right? Because right now, the reason that Drizly only really benefits the big players — so this is, I guess, why the small players should want Uber to start breaking the law or changing the law, is that because of the way Drizly has to operate to be inside the lines of legality is they have to show you the closest liquor store to you, and then they have to hope that the liquor store has what you’re looking for. And for the most part, most liquor stores have the big brands. That’s just the nature of it. Right? Because the big brands can afford to have the people on the streets. So the likelihood that you’re going to open up their app and be able to see all the really amazing craft producers and boutique wineries is very, very slim. Now, if they start saying, “Well, we don’t care now, it can come from anywhere, our driver will go and get it for you.” So it doesn’t matter that you live in zip code 11201. You want something from Convive Wine Shop in the East Village. It’s in zip code 10009. If you’re willing to pay a little bit extra, our driver will deliver it to you. And still within the hour. Then things start to change, right, and then this becomes really interesting, but I don’t know. That’s going to have to happen for that to occur.
Z: Yeah, well, I think the biggest question that I have in the medium term and maybe even long term is, does Uber see itself as purely a delivery mechanism for alcohol from retailer to consumer? Or is its ambit, as I imagine it is, bigger and it really is going to seek to replace in one way or another those last two tiers in the three-tier system. Because right now, a thing that is true in this country is — for the most part, there are exceptions, of course and depending on where you are, these exceptions may be greater or lesser. But basically most beverage alcohol that is sold in this country passes, as we’ve talked about, through three tiers: producer or importer, distributor, and retailer. And what does a three-tier system get you? Well, for one, it gets you a lot of different people making money on one essential transaction, right? Like between producer and consumer, there are two layers. And that second layer in particular, the “wholesaler,” exists really just because coming out of Prohibition, there was a lot of panic about, “Oh, God alcohol, we’re going to let it, make it legal again. But we can’t just let any old person sell it or buy it. It has to be regulated. It has to be carefully controlled.” And I mean, we’ve expressed a lot of thoughts on this topic in various episodes in the past. I tend to think that that view of alcohol is almost comically out of date. And more than anything else, it’s also a big industry right now that is pretty static and it’s controlled by a few big players. But it’s really hard to say what those big players really bring to the table that’s of benefit to either producer or consumer that couldn’t be replaced. And this is where I think the biggest question I have is, you mentioned the big brands, the big producers and importers that threw a lot of money behind Drizly, that have been big on this. In the end, they have largely cast their fate previously with the big wholesalers because they have a sort of symbiotic relationship. You know, the producer or importer gets their cut regardless. They’re getting paid whatever they want to bring the product into the country or to manufacture the product. And what happens after that? Obviously, they want it to eventually reach a consumer. And they’re certainly concerned about price to some extent. But they have sort of been willing to go along with the system because it’s been what it’s been. And there hasn’t been a lot of public incentive and sort of consumer-level incentive to change it. But if the difference now, and one of the biggest things that I think Uber could offer that even Drizly couldn’t because they weren’t really a marketplace as much as just sort of a pass-through, is not just access and speed. And I think you’ve got more to say about speed, but also selection. And that, I think, is the area where maybe eventually either directly through Uber or through competitors or other platforms or even other businesses that would follow in Uber’s wake if they’re able to disrupt this system. That is where smaller producers, I think, could strongly benefit. Because you and I have both done interviews with people who are producers at the smaller scale during this crisis. And one of the biggest problems for so many of them is their avenue to consumers has been through restaurants and bars. And right now many of them have very few options, outlets for their product if they’re not already well represented on store shelves. And most of all, our producers just aren’t. That’s just not how those big brands and how those big stores work. It’s not how any of that works. And the big distributors tend to reserve shelf space for big brands. It’s just a scale thing. And so taking apart some of the three-tier system could eventually benefit smaller producers. I also think it will certainly benefit consumers in a lot of different ways. But you’re really convinced that Uber is going to just kind of break s*** and dare someone to stop them?
A: Yeah, and here’s why. Because they’ve never done anything different.
A: And I think this idea that like, “Oh, Travis Kalanick is out of the business. And now they have an adult in the room,” and no, they’ve never done anything different. So until they prove anyone otherwise, this is how this company operates. This company operates by going in and breaking the rules, and then asking for forgiveness or really pushing to change the laws. We’ve seen them do that just now in California. This is what they do. And so I just don’t believe that Drizly is going to be absorbed by them and continue to operate under the same business model that it’s been operating under. Now, I think you bring up something that’s really interesting and we have to talk about. Which is the speed and the fundraising when it comes to Vivino. So Vivino also raised an eye-popping amount of money this week. Basically, $155 million, which is a lot of money. And to put that in perspective, this is their series D. To put that in perspective, in total, Drizly has raised $120 million in its history. Right? So in a series D, Vivino has raised $155 million. So there is something to be said that people are also bullish on marketplaces. The thing is, first of all, I don’t think anyone else is going to raise as much as Vivino. Right? So I think they are now cementing themselves as the leader. They have the cash. And this is something else to be aware of: There were a lot of players in the Drizly space, five or six years ago, I was friends with some of them. I love the founders of Minibar. They are amazing people. I think Minibar is a great product. I think when Minibar came into the ecosphere, especially in New York, it really dominated. It was the one everyone was going with, but Drizly out-raised them. I mean, that’s literally what happened. Drizly out-raised them and was able to come in with a lot of cash and push them out of a lot of markets and be very, very competitive in those markets. And this is what’s going to happen in this marketplace sector as well, is right now, if you don’t have the cash that Vivino has, I think that you shouldn’t even try. They just have so much capital now and they are going to push, push, push. And they have the users. Right? So they already have this discovery. I don’t know how many, in their press release they tout these hundreds of millions of users they have. But they are going to be this platform where you will be able to transact. Now, the difference is, and why I don’t think they’re the future and I think that Drizly is, unfortunately unless Vivino figures this out, which would take even more capital than they’ve already raised, they’re still really in the traditional model. Which is, they’re going to give you the wine, you’re going to order it. It is probably going to come through a winery or through a retailer or at a warehouse they have. And then you’re going to sit and you’re going to wait two to three days. And that is why alcohol online has continued to be a less than 10 percent purchase set. Because the majority of consumers want it now. And where Uber is going to crush everyone else is within the hour. Because, if I am opening my phone and I’m going on my Amazon app, which Amazon could become a player now, too, or I’m going on Postmates, which Uber now also owns, and there’s a gourmet grocery store near me. And I put in my order for two dry-aged ribeyes and the potatoes I’m going to turn into frites. I’m going to do steak frites night at home. And then I can also go to my Uber app and make sure that the Bordeaux I want to pair with it. Don’t judge me for the Bordeaux. You guys know I like it.
Z: As two Bordeaux references this podcast. Are they slipping you some money under the table there?
A: No! But I’m actually thinking about it because I’m making burgers tomorrow and I think I want to open a Bordeaux. But so I can get that too, from a great wine shop that I probably know that’s also on Uber. And then I can have it all within an hour. If I did that separately, let’s say that I went on to Postmates, I ordered it and then I was like, “OK, crap. Then I got to go onto Vivino or wine.com or whatever and order it. And then they tell me two- or three day-delivery. Well I’m already past where I made that meal. And so I think that’s going to be the real catch for most consumers is, we have become a society that expects immediacy. We’re instant gratification. And so prime has done that to us with next-day delivery, all that. I think it’s going to be where Vivino might exist now for more of the connoisseurs. People who are collecting things like that, they’re already on Vivino, building their collections, sharing their ratings, having people who follow them. They might then go to the marketplace to buy things that other collectors want, that they may not have any desire to drink in the near future, whereas like, for where that real money is going to be — where the churn is going to be, if it exists at all — is on Uber.
Z: But here’s the other thing to, right, for something like Vivino, depending on where you are, that your ability to even go purchase a wine that you’re interested in collecting or you’re interested in having five days, 10 days, a month from now is going to be greatly curtailed depending on where you are in the country and what is available in inventory locally. Because, again, this is the biggest problem that I think a lot of these marketplaces come across is just every state has different laws, every state has different inventory. And it’s very difficult to provide a consistent or comprehensive set of product that’s available, especially when you’re dealing with small scale, boutique, craft, whatever terms or scale you’re looking at. And it’s the biggest problem that I think everyone right now is struggling with, which is it’s great if I build a platform that makes really interesting wines available to people or recommends them to people. But then what happens if you’re in Wyoming, and it turns out that actually you can’t get any of that wine or you’re, and you’re in Pennsylvania or whatever. Like we’re all familiar with the fact that the liquor laws throughout this country are very different in different places. And I’ve had this experience. I don’t use online platforms very often to buy wine, but I’ve looked for stuff that I’m curious about. And it’s not in Washington State. And now Washington State, I can get some stuff shipped from other states, depending. There’s a few, but the point is that’s not everywhere and it’s clunky and you’re dealing with a shop in another state, and then are they licensed to ship to Washington? Again, it’s a mess. And it’s a mess because our series of laws are a mess. And what hasn’t happened prior to now, I think, is there hasn’t been any one individual player who’s been motivated enough and deep-pocketed enough to push against the system, which is extremely rickety. The termites have been eating at it forever. It’s going to collapse at some point. But really, so far, no one has been — because you and me ranting on a podcast or even producers at medium scale or small scale — just no one cares. No one is that invested financially at a big enough scale to really change these laws, to make it so that you and I can buy alcohol the way that we can buy anything else. We can buy almost any other product, and it doesn’t matter. If I want to buy cheese that’s made in Wisconsin, or Vermont, or New York, I don’t have to find an authorized cheese wholesaler to take custody of this dangerous product, transfer it to a retail store in Washington State, and then sell it to me at extreme markup. I can go online and look at a creamery in any of those places and they could put it in a box and mail it to me, and I can have it in a few days, packed in with some ice packs or whatever. And I can be enjoying it. And in fact, my wife and I, my wife is from Wisconsin, we get cheese shipped to us from her hometown creamery in Wisconsin on the regular. And that is totally not a problem. And, you know, I get it: Alcohol is intoxicating, whatever. That’s a real thing. But I can still buy alcohol.
Z: It shouldn’t matter what store I’m buying alcohol from, whether it happens to be across an imaginary line on a map — I’m still in the U.S. I’m not asking to be able to get wine directly shipped to me from France. That would be cool, but probably cost-prohibitive at this point. The reality is that with alcohol, we are still trapped by this incredibly antiquated system. And I was excited about this news only because it gives me some real reason to hope that in the next few years there will be a countervailing force against groups like the WSWA and the massive wholesalers. Their business depends on this dumb, antiquated, ridiculous anti-consumer system. But that’s their entire business. And if those laws and those rules go away, their business is going to go away, or at least it’s going to change dramatically and frankly, probably shrink. And as I have said on this podcast before, lots of people who work for wholesalers are friends of mine. Some of them are even related to me. But I would not be sad to see all of those businesses disappear because they really just keep you and me from enjoying the things we want more fully, and more cheaply, and more expeditiously because of laws that were written before anyone who’s alive now was born.
A: Yeah I mean, look, man, I know there’s this whole thing in the U.S. about “break up big tech” and whatever. But I think the whole thing is like, if big tech right now — meaning Uber — wants to take on the oligopolies of the middle tier, which, let’s be clear, there are really three big companies. Right? I mean, I don’t want to name them by name, but I’m thinking about them in my head and I think it’s three, right? Bring it on. Because it’s time that we make access to these things a lot easier, and we make it so that it can be on demand. And when we do that: look, there’s already so many people who I know who are innovating in this space. But when you free the markets, you free up innovation. It’s just been proven over and over again. It’s why there’s the argument to break up big tech by a lot of really smart people. And that’s why we should break up the middle tier, because we will free up innovation. If I knew that I could create a drinks product in New York and it didn’t matter if I couldn’t find the market in my city, that I could still live here, because maybe that’s where I was able to create, but my market happened to be in Seattle and I didn’t have to move to Seattle to do that?
Z: God forbid.
A: Yeah, I mean, seriously. Well, because, I mean, also your rent is just as expensive as mine. And I think Amazon owns everything.
Z: At least there’s no blizzard here. So I got that one for us.
A: True. But you know what I mean? We would allow for such amazing innovation in this country. We’d allow for all these breweries to start shipping across, and I could start getting these amazing beers. I mean, it is just so crazy to me to listen to you talk about the beer you just had. I was like, “I’ve never heard of that brewery nor had it.” And everything you said was like, “That sounds delicious. I want that.” I want to try those things. There’s so much of that. There’s so many wines I want to try. There’s so many things that I want to partake in. And it would allow us to actually take advantage of being a “United” States.
A: And, to be able to try the products from all these different states would be just so dope. Instead, right now, it’s like, no, because of all these laws and lobbying and whatever, we are not allowed to do that. So I think that’s what makes the Uber news so interesting. Where is it going to take sales of alcohol? And, how is it going to push more this idea of really “of the minute” “on demand” and make people think a lot differently about how they market themselves, where they show up and occasion. And maybe also, is this putting more of the power in digital? Are we thinking more digitally now than we ever have had to before? The likelihood now that you can read an article on our site about a wine and then go on Drizly because we’ll have a link to it and buy it and have it within the hour is really cool. You couldn’t do that before. You’d have to walk into a wine shop with your magazine or your newspaper. with the top 10 from Eric Asimov from The New York Times, and see if they had any of the 10 of those wines for sale. And if they didn’t, you’d walk out, and walk to the next wine shop.
Z: Well, I was going to say to just put one last point on this that I think is really important, and you’re kind of getting at it with this story. It still blows my mind that we are in this world where so much of how people connect with and learn about beverage alcohol now is through their phone. Through their cutting-edge, brand-new smartphone, and yet they might as well be using a f****** rotary phone to actually go buy it. Like it’s such an incredibly antiquated system that isn’t even outdated. It’s way past outdated. And I just think whenever that system is scrapped and we build something that actually works for people’s real desires and realities around alcohol in 2021, that will be a good day.
A: I completely agree, man. Well, Zach, this has been awesome, as always. Really great conversation. I can’t wait to see what happens. We’ll do another podcast about this as things develop. If you have any thoughts, questions on what we chatted about, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear what you think. And Zach, I’ll see you right back here next week.
Z: Sounds great.
Thanks so much for listening to the VinePair podcast. If you love this show as much as we love making it, please give us a rating or review on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever it is you get your podcasts. It really helps everyone else discover the show. Now for the credits, VinePair is produced and recorded in New York City and Seattle, Wash., by myself and Zach Geballe, who does all the editing and loves to get the credit.
Also, I would love to give a special shout out to my VinePair co-founder, Josh Malin, for helping make all this possible and also to Keith Beavers, VinePair’s tastings director, who is additionally a producer on the show. I also want to, of course, thank every other member of the VinePair team who are instrumental in all of the ideas that go into making the show every week. Thanks so much for listening and we’ll see you again.
Ed. note: This episode has been edited for length and clarity.
Published: February 9, 2021