Drizly now operating in Kansas City

Paul Thompson
Northeast News

Alcohol delivery in Kansas City, Missouri is now live, thanks to a new ordinance passed by the KCMO City Council on Thursday, August 30.

The delivery service is currently exclusive to Mike’s Wine and Spirits, with locations in Waldo, Brookside, and Westport. The delivery process is facilitated by Drizly, an alcohol e-commerce platform that provides the relevant software.

Alcohol providers, like Mike’s Wine and Spirits, are tasked with processing the transaction under the new rules. Their staffs will be responsible for checking ID’s, refusing to sell to individuals who are clearly intoxicated, and anything else that an employee would be expected to do in a physical location.

“We want to make sure that we are doing everything that we currently do as a City when it comes to the regulation of alcohol,” said 4th District Councilwoman Jolie Justus, the legislation’s sponsor, on Wednesday, August 22.

While other cities have allowed third-party drivers – contractors in the Uber, Lyft and Postmates model – third-party alcohol delivery is not permissible under the new regulations contained within Ordinance No. 180605.

“This will not allow for drones to fly around and drop alcohol on your front porch,” Justus said on August 22.

Justin Robinson, the co-founder of Drizly, is steadfast in his belief that the third-party form of delivery is not responsible, because so much of the incentive of that type of contract work is tied to making the sale and earning tips.

“The ordinance is exactly what we think is the most responsible way to sell beer, wine and spirits,” Robinson said.

Robinson told the Northeast News that the platform is currently working to get its software into the hands of other liquor stores throughout the city.

“We are effectively a web portal through which customers can buy products through Mike’s,” Robinson said.

Robinson added that Drizly is currently live in more than 100 markets, and that the software typically accounts for anywhere from 10% to 40% of its customers alcohol sales. For the service, Drizly takes a small fee on a per-order basis.

“They pay us a marketing fee per order,” said Robinson. “It’s not a percentage sale, but it is a dollar amount per order.”

Before late last month, alcohol delivery was legal in the state of Missouri but prohibited in Kansas City, Missouri; a fact that some in the alcohol delivery business learned the hard way. A couple of years back, Drizly attempted to begin delivering alcohol in Kansas City – in accordance with state law – when the company learned that it was still illegal in Kansas City.

“We had approval from the state, and frankly, weren’t aware of the city ordinance,” Robinson said. “This one’s been on our radar for a long time.”

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