Alcohol home deliveries booming in Spokane area

Thomas Clouse, The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash.
·3 min read

Apr. 7—Tyler Cossey started out delivering beer from The Store on Thor on his own just before the pandemic hit. Now he has five all-weather Subarus just to keep up with the growing business.

Cossey, co-owner of the convenience store at 305 S. Thor St., initially signed up with delivery service Drizly, which on Thursday announced Cossey's store is among six local retailers which have teamed up with the e-commerce delivery company to deliver alcohol to customers' homes.

However, Cossey said he used that knowledge to create his own website for Spokane Beer Delivery and quickly had to hire staff to keep up with the demand.

"We signed up with Drizly, initially," Cossey said. "We did 355 deliveries the first month and 1,687 the next month. Things just kept going and snowballing. We are now doing about 1,900 deliveries a month and things have not slowed down."

Drizly has signed up to work with Bulldog Liquor & Wine, 1101 N. Division St.; Full Stop Liquor, 4417 W. Wellesley Ave.; Hico Market, 817 S. Perry St.; Millwood Grocery & Spirits, 3409 N. Argonne Road; Sunset Grocery, 1908 W. Sunset Blvd. and Cossey's store.

"Alcohol e-commerce has experienced meteoric, lasting growth over the past year, as the convenience of home delivery has become the expectation rather than the exception," Blaine Grinna, Drizly's director of retailer partnerships, said in a news release.

Drizly also has contracts with businesses in the Seattle area.

"Now is the ideal time to bring Drizly to Spokane, partnered with six premier retailers that give adult beverage shoppers the power to access a huge inventory across the full spectrum of adult beverages, from wine to beer and hard seltzer, to whiskey, tequila and other spirits," Grinna said.

{span}Sarbjit Rakhra, owner of Bulldog Liquor & Wine and Millwood Grocery & Spirits, said partnering with Drizly allows the business to showcase its broad inventory.1/2/span}

"We've seen consumer habits shift over the past year and are evolving to provide the best possible experience for our shoppers, both in-store and online," Rakhra said in the news release. "Paired with our ability to deliver within 60 minutes, that's a strong proposition."

Cossey agreed, saying he believes the deliveries will continue to remain robust even after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

"We've noticed people are going back to bars and we haven't seen a slide in our deliveries," he said. "Most folks are older customers who have trouble getting around. It's more of a service that needed to happen even without COVID."

The service with Drizly charges a small fee and a markup of the price of the item. Instead of the fee, Cossey's service charges for mileage for deliveries, which he has made as far as Liberty Lake and Cheney.

Prior to the pandemic, Cossey said, his store had lost customers because of area construction projects.

"We were struggling a little bit," he said. "We had to look for other options. The delivery service opened up new customers. It's been tremendous for us."