To put that number in perspective, online retail revenue reached $200 billion in 2011, or 7% of the total retail and food industry in the U.S. That number is projected to reach 9% by 2016. Why? Customer’s feel more comfortable buying online, broader selection, ease of browsing, loyalty programs, web only promotions, and the fact that search recommendations are actually useful. The advantages associated with buying products through the web has exceeded the advantages of buying the same products in store.
Given that $1 of every $100 American dollars is spent on alcohol, and Anheisuer Busch ranks 22nd in the U.S. in yearly advertising budget, $1.36 billion, it’s hard to believe the gap in tech and alcohol is still so vast.
There are several companies working hard to close this gap. Below is our list of the most innovative companies in their respective niches of the alcohol industry.
There have been many attempts, some successful some not, at the direct to consumer wine market. Wine.com did $67 million in sales in 2011, 8% of that through iPad’s. Lot18, flash sale wine site, has been trying to attract the premium, high-end wine connoisseur. While Lot18 started strong reaching $25 million in revenue in it’s first year, 25% through mobile, the company has recently had its issues.
Drync, however, is a local startup that has recently emerged as a player to watch. Their most catchy feature allows a user to snap a photo of a wine you like and with a few taps, it will arrive at your doorstep in a few days. Drync has partnered with the Boston Wine Expo to be held next week to offer free shipping for all orders placed during the event. Expect big things from these guys.
Brewery: Alaskan Brewing Co.
The Alaskan Brewing Company had a problem. They were attempting to sell their spent grain, as most breweries do, to farmers in the lower 48, but their shipping costs ($30) were eating at revenues ($60). Their solution? Purchase a $1.8 million furnace that turns the spent grain into energy, enough energy to save the company $450,000 a year.
Safety: Advanced ID Detection
Another local Boston company, Advanced ID Detection has emerged as the gold standard in ID verification solutions. Their system scans the front and back of an ID, checks all of its security features, and returns whether or not the ID is real or fake, if it has expired, age, and more. Advanced ID Detection is leading the way on stopping counterfeit IDs and underage purchase of alcohol. If you’re bold enough to try to use a fake ID, don’t do so in a store using AIDD’s system, you will get caught.
Meeting of the Minds: Monktoberfest
Monktoberfest is an annual conference held in Portland, Maine to bring together the world of software and craft beer. Started by Stephen O’Grady of software industry analysis firm RedMonk(www.redmonk.com) in 2011, the conference seeks to bring together the rapid world of computer software with the cultured world of craft beer. You can count on us as attendees in 2013.