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Business

Alcohol delivery app expands to Bloomingdale store

BLOOMINGDALE – Partygoers in Bloomingdale may never have a reason to leave their couch again to pick up a six-pack.

Owners of a new mobile phone app called DrinkFly, which delivers alcohol to your home in 60 minutes or less, recently signed up Spring Wine and Spirits liquor store in Bloomingdale to be part of its delivery team.

Alex Cullen, one of the owners of DrinkFly, said there are five stores in Chicago already signed up for the app, which is just now expanding to the suburbs. The company's partnership with the Bloomingdale store at 162 E. Lake St. is a new one, only in place for about a week, Alex said.

“They heard about us and reached out to us through our website, which is why we signed them up so quickly, ” he said.

Alex and his brother Will Cullen, DrinkFly's second owner, launched the app nearly two months ago. DrinkFly aims to partner with liquor stores that carry specialty craft beer and fine wine.

Once customers download the free DrinkFly app, they can put in their address and browse the list of stores that make deliveries. After they select the store, they can see its full inventory and add items to their cart.

The stores can deliver the alcohol to anyone living within a five-mile radius of the store location.

“It’s very inconvenient for someone to go to the store and lug back the alcohol,” Alex said.

The co-owner said customers have shown an overwhelmingly positive reaction to DrinkFly and that 30 to 40 percent of first-time customers return for the service.

“People love this service. Once they hear about it, they say, ‘Oh my God, that’s awesome. Why didn’t I think of that?’” he said.

Will said he and Alex had no idea DrinkFly would be as successful as it is now. It was worth the risk, he said.

“This helps prevent drunk driving, especially in the suburbs. We’d rather have a driver deliver the alcohol to them instead of them going out and getting it,” Will said. “Even if you can keep one off the road, that’s a win for everyone.”

Partnering with DrinkFly also provides an opportunity for liquor stores to expand their delivery business, Alex said. He and Will are focusing on adding more stores so they can service a larger area, he said.

“We want to have stores in every city in America signed up,” Alex said.

The delivery fee to use the app is $4 to $5. The minimum cost for alcohol items ranges from $20 to $25, and the average order size is usually $50 to $60, he said.

Will said customers have to show their identification card when drivers deliver the booze to their home. The same person who made the order has to be the person to make the payment.

“We tell drivers that if something doesn’t look right, don’t sell it to them and void the transaction,” he said.

The liquor stores use their own employees to make the deliveries. These employees have gone through certification to check for fake IDs, Will said.

“For the app, you have to enter your credit card information, address and agree that you’re over 21 years old," he said. "Those are implications of possible problems we could have."

The brothers haven’t experienced any issues with the app or customers so far. Having employees certified helps with the safety of customers using the app, Will said.

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