In a move with wide-ranging implications for the alcohol delivery industry, which has been more important than every during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, rideshare giant Uber has announced that it will acquire leading alcohol delivery service Drizly in a deal worth more than $1.1 billion in stock and cash. Drizly’s service will retain its own app, but deliveries will be integrated into the existing functionality of the Uber Eats app, according to the company.
On paper, it’s an acquisition that makes perfect sense—even with vaccines hitting the market, we’re looking at a continuing period of undefined social distancing, and alcohol delivery services (and delivery services in general) have unsurprisingly grown by leaps and bounds during the pandemic as a result. Drizly experienced more than 300% growth in 2020, and has become the largest on-demand alcohol delivery service in the U.S. since it was founded in 2012, currently operating in more than 1,400 cities. Uber Eats, meanwhile, has likewise been an increasingly important part of the rideshare company’s business during the pandemic, as traditional rideshare services have been curtailed by reduced travel. The company has clearly been trying to expand this side of the business throughout 2020 and 2021, as it was at one point in talks to acquire GrubHub, before then buying Postmates in July.
This news naturally won’t be particularly well received by the many consumers who find Uber’s corporate culture and business practices off-putting, as it signals just one more step of consolidation in our late stage capitalism society. The drivers of Uber, naturally, will remain independent contractors in the eyes of their company, unentitled to the sort of benefits enjoyed by other full-time employees. You can decide for yourself whether that’s the sort of company you’d like to support.
Regardless, it is a clear indicator of the demand that exists for home alcohol delivery, and the increasing viability of getting just about any product shipped directly to your home.