- The on-demand alcohol delivery service Minibar saw record-breaking sales growth in recent months — with an all-time high 600% increase in new buyers and a 200% bump in sales in April — and business is still booming.
- According to Minibar CEO and founder Lindsey Andrews, the coronarvirus outbreak has prompted the company to expand rapidly into new suburban and rural regions as Americans fled urban areas.
- Looking ahead, Andrews told Business Insider she anticipates the rise of drinking-at-home and do-it-yourself cocktails will continue, even as states begin to lift shelter-in-place policies and restaurants and bars open at limited capacity.
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It might feel like the end of the world as we know it, but at least there’s still booze — and house-bound Americans are still drinking plenty of it.
According to Nielsen data, sales of alcohol in April and May was 16% higher than in the same period in 2019, an uptick that came as most of the US remained quarantined under shelter-in-place mandates to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. This growth has directly bolstered business at e-commerce companies like Minibar, the on-demand alcohol delivery app service which has seen skyrocketing sales as shuttered stores and limited mobility led consumers to find their fix in new ways.
According to Minibar CEO and co-founder Lindsey Andrews, the business hit all-time highs in April with a 600% increase in new buyers and a 200% bump in sales. Though Andrews said the sales boom is “leveling off a bit” in response to the lifting of shelter-in-place and the slow re-opening of bars and restaurants, she anticipates many Americans will continue to seek out alcohol online due to hesitancy about being in public places.
“Even if people start to venture out a little, I think they’re going to be really cautious and will not be doing it frequently,” she said. “We definitely think the drinking at home trend is going to continue for the foreseeable future, until there’s potentially a vaccine and people feel more comfortable going out to crowded places.”
Just a few weeks into re-opening plans in select states, Andrews said Minibar’s repeat order rates are at all-time highs, indicating drinking at home may be here to stay. Among these repeat orders, many are increasingly springing for liquor, a category that has been on the rise as beer and bubbly beverages like Prosecco and Champagne have taken a hit. (It hasn’t been “that celebratory of a time,” Andrews said regarding the decline of the latter.)
“Because of the cocktail craze — much like the cooking craze — a ton of people are making cocktails at home,” she said. “We’ve also seen bigger spikes in other categories too like Aperol, Campari, bitters — all of this stuff that you might need for different types of cocktails.”
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On-demand booze heads for the suburbs
Looking ahead, Andrews said Minibar plans to continue to expand in new regions and build out its supplier network, two silver linings the company has experienced during the coronavirus. As Americans fled major metropolitan areas, Minibar suddenly found itself catering to new suburban and rural markets, she said.
In fact, Manhattan — which is Minibar’s most lucrative territory — actually had the least amount of coronavirus-related sales growth because so many residents left the city, according to Andrews. Meanwhile, the company saw major growth in the outer boroughs including Staten Island as well as areas like Westchester, New York, and the suburbs of New Jersey. Outside of New York, Minibar saw gains in cities like Nashville and San Diego.
Andrews said she’s confident that Minibar will be able to maintain the momentum, especially now that supply and shipping rates — which took a hit across most industries at the peak of the coronavirus in April and May — is back to near-normal levels.
“What’s great is now [new customers are] coming back and getting the real Minibar experience because the out of stocks are back and the on-time orders are basically all on time,” she said, “as opposed to during the height of the pandemic when we were maybe running behind or were out of stock at higher than normal rates because of the disruption.”