Amazon has launched its first U.S. one-hour delivery program for beer, wine, and spirits through its Prime Now program in its hometown of Seattle. The company has a similar service already in London (UK).
The move expands Amazon’s alcohol-delivery service. In some cities, Amazon customers can order wine only.
But the retail giant isn’t the first to get into the space; online retailers Drizly.com, a one-hour alcohol-delivery service operating in many U.S. cities including Seattle, and Thirstie.com, which offers fast (including one-hour) delivery, are among those operating in several American metropolitan areas, with rates from free or as low as $5, depending on the place.
Amazon hasn’t invented alcohol-delivery, but it could muscle in to the burgeoning market, at least wherever there are Prime members (or potential Prime members).
Existing services like Drizly and Thirstie, though, have gotten out of the gate with free and low-fee delivery that meet or beat Amazon, which is charging $7.99 for one-hour delivery and offering Prime members two-hour delivery for free. The competing services are app-run and customers can see where their spirits are in real time, Uber style.
Thirstie customers ordering up spirits also receive recipes and foodie-like content about cocktails; the on-demand startup says, “There’s a story in every bottle.”
So Amazon isn’t the disrupter here in many cities (including its hometown of Seattle) and could even have to drop its nearly $8 delivery fee to compete in some areas, depending how things go. Still, this is a growing space, according to market research firm IBISWorld, with sales expected to reach $1.4 billion within five years.