These days, delivery is growing faster than ever across a variety of categories. Food delivery sales, which first spiked during the pandemic, have continued to grow at double previous years' rates according to McKinsey. As customers get used to the convenience of having meals delivered, they're also interested in trying new categories — like alcohol delivery.
Online alcohol sales, in particular, are gaining traction. Alcohol e-commerce grew by 42% in 2020 — reaching a total of $42 billion in the U.S., according to an IWSR drinks market analysis. Additionally, Nielsen reports that alcohol is "the fastest-growing e-commerce department among consumer packaged goods," showing promise for this delivery category to expand quickly.
Finding an alcohol delivery partner
Today, alcohol delivery is available with DoorDash in certain locations to help qualified merchants — restaurants, wine shops, specialty liquor stores, and more — sell alcohol to local customers. The process is designed to be easy and efficient for both merchants and their customers, while also complying with all local laws and regulations. (Please review the list of available locations here to verify if your business is eligible.)
Curious what that looks like? Keep reading to learn how selling alcohol works with DoorDash as your delivery partner.
Delivering alcohol to DoorDash customers
How alcohol delivery works for restaurants
As a restaurant, adding alcohol to your menu can be a smart business decision. Profits on alcohol are generally much higher than food, as labor costs behind the bar are often lower than the kitchen, drinks can have a large markup on prices compared to the wholesale cost of alcohol, and alcohol has a longer shelf life than produce and meat which limits waste that can eat into food profits. You can also get creative with food-drink pairings that consumers may want to try.
To get started with selling alcohol through DoorDash, you first need to sign up as a DoorDash partner. From there, a merchant expert will reach out to you to confirm your liquor license and verify that alcohol delivery is available in your area. Once you've gotten the green light, you can add alcohol offerings to your online menu.
Customers are able to find and browse your store through the DoorDash app or website, or your own website with Storefront, and select items to purchase. At checkout, the customer will receive an alcohol warning and must agree to age verification terms. These terms state that the order recipient is of legal drinking age in their jurisdiction and will present a valid government ID when receiving the order.
As you prep items to be picked up by a Dasher, take care to separate hot and cold items so the entire meal arrives at the right temperature. Double check Dasher IDs to ensure they're 21+, and don't forget to implement systems to avoid missing items — it's easy to miss adding a drink to a delivery bag last-minute.
On most deliveries, customers will upload their IDs to the DoorDash app and DoorDash will verify they are of legal drinking age and have valid ID using our age-verification software. On these deliveries, Dashers will be required to verify the customer matches the portrait of the customer presented in their Dasher app. On some deliveries, Dashers will scan or manually enter the recipient's government ID to verify they're of legal drinking age. Either way, the Dasher app provides step-by-step instructions for Dashers to safely and compliantly deliver alcohol. By law, Dashers can't deliver an order containing alcohol if the customer is underage in that jurisdiction, if the customer ID is expired or the ID photo doesn't match the customer collecting the order, or the customer appears to be intoxicated. Finally, you'll receive a confirmation through your tablet or POS that the order has been confirmed delivered.
If you’re considering signing up for alcohol delivery with DoorDash, do it. DoorDash brings you new customers from outside your regulars, and it’s extra revenue for your business. It’s allowed us to invest in a new refrigeration unit to help keep our delivery orders cold
How alcohol delivery works for alcohol shops
Whether you're a wine shop, liquor store, or another kind of alcohol retailer like a convenience store, selling alcohol on DoorDash can help give you a step up. Connect with a local customer base looking for the convenience of getting alcohol delivered on-demand, and grow your sales by selling drinking accessories and pairings like cups, straws, tonics, mixers, and more. Omar Korin, owner of the Oakland-based Savemore Market & Liquors, explains his perspective, "The more you have for sale on DoorDash, the more revenue you can bring in."
To get started selling alcohol on DoorDash as a retailer, first sign up as a DoorDash partner. Next, a merchant expert will reach out to you to confirm your liquor selling license and verify alcohol delivery is offered in your area. Once confirmed, you can start to build out your alcohol offerings menu with photos, descriptions, and prices, which customers can browse and add to their carts.
When ready to check out, the customer will receive an alcohol warning and must agree to age verification terms stating that the order recipient is of legal drinking age in their jurisdiction and will present a valid government ID when receiving the order.
When prepping alcohol delivery orders, Omar recommends keeping drinks cold until the very last minute and finding a clearly-marked place for Dashers to pick up the orders. He's even invested in a walk-in fridge to facilitate this process. "If you order something, you want it to come cold," he explains. "Plus, the Dashers are really fast, so the order arrives as cold as it was when it left."
On most deliveries, customers will upload their IDs to the DoorDash app and DoorDash will verify they are of legal drinking age and have valid ID using our age-verification software. Otherwise, Dashers will scan or manually enter the recipient's government ID to verify they're of legal drinking age, following the required steps in the DoorDash app. Legally, Dashers can't deliver the order if the customer is underage in that jurisdiction, their ID is expired, the photo doesn't match the person, or they appear to be intoxicated — helping to ensure compliance and safety all around.
More tips for alcohol delivery success
As you consider selling alcohol with DoorDash, there are a few tips and best practices to set you up for success. Keep these in mind as you expand your alcohol delivery offerings.
Advertise your alcohol delivery offerings
First and foremost, don't forget about marketing to help get the word out. Even your existing customers might not be aware that you now offer alcohol delivery. Put up on-premise signage, update your item descriptions on DoorDash, post about your offerings on social media, and tap into applicable DoorDash marketing promotions in your location like "$X off your next order" to connect with new and loyal customers.
Consider the latest drinking trends
Next, get creative with your alcohol offerings. Develop fun food and drink pairings, offer holiday-themed specials, and stay up-to-date on the latest alcohol trends to ensure you always have the latest beverage in stock. For example, low-ABV drinks, hard seltzer mixes, and canned beverages are having a big moment these days. Are they on your menu?
Additionally, IWSR has noticed a trend toward curiosity in consumers buying alcohol online. That niche or experimental drink could turn out to be a big draw for customers!
Implement Dasher pickup best practices
Perhaps most important of all, make sure you develop best practices for handing off orders to Dashers. Whether you're a seasoned partner who's worked with DoorDash for years or a business who's new to the platform, adding alcohol sales to your offerings means adding an extra layer of care to ensure compliance with local laws and regulations. Make sure you check Dasher ID to ensure they are 21+ before handing off packages for delivery, and ask your Dashers if there's anything else that would make the pickup process easier for them. Additionally, check out these other tips on improving the Dasher pickup experience with advice from real Dashers and business owners.
Sign up for alcohol delivery with DoorDash
Ready to start selling alcohol with DoorDash as your delivery partner? Learn more about how DoorDash's suite of solutions can help you start growing your online alcohol sales. New DoorDash partners get a free trial, paying $0 in commissions and fees on orders for their first 30 days on the platform. Cheers to that!