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How much booze do Californians drink, anyway? Second firm offers same-hour alcohol delivery

By Ben Ames | January 26, 2017 | 9:21 AM

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Last-mile delivery service Postmates Inc. is adding same-hour alcohol delivery to its suite of on-demand restaurant and shopping parcel courier service. The offer is available only in San Francisco and Los Angeles for now, but the company plans to expand the service to other markets soon.

The San Francisco-based urban logistics startup promises 24-hour, on-demand delivery from restaurants and stores in the cities it covers, across a network of cities in 25 states.

Postmates partners with retailers by offering an application programming interface (API) software tool that merchants can add to their websites and instantly start offering home delivery. The company then deploys its corps of couriers to ride, drive, or walk to each nearby urban address and deliver the package.

In fact, Postmates does not restrict itself solely to human parcel carriers. Last week, the company said it was joining the British robotics startup Starship Technologies to test fleets of self-driving parcel-delivery robots that roll from stores to consumers’ homes along sidewalks.

By adding alcohol to the range of products it handles, Postmates is joining an express delivery market already serving thirsty customers in California. The announcement follows a similar service unveiled last month by Saucey, an e-commerce delivery company that specializes in carrying alcohol. In its announcement, Saucey teamed up with retailer BevMo to offer same-hour booze delivery in the California cities of San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Sacramento.

Despite the competition, Postmates intends to distinguish its service by delivering a wider range of products than just six-packs and wine bottles, and made a point of saying that the new alcohol service is open to all local retailers, not just a single retail partner.

“This is the first of many new on-demand shopping experiences to come,” Postmates wrote in a company blog. “As we continue to build infrastructure that bridges online and offline local commerce, we are excited to deliver you a new Postmates experience — the best beverages in your city in 25 minutes or less.”

 

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