Basic Info

Name:
Cory Rellas
Contributor Status:
Native AdVice
Initial Contribution Date:
04/05/2019
Primary Location:
Boston, MA, USA

Career Info

Primary Industry:
Food & Beverages / Culinary, Technology
Personal Career Headline:
CEO & Co-Founder, Drizly

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Career Snapshot:

Drizly is the world’s largest alcohol marketplace and the best way to shop beer, wine and spirits. Our customers trust us to be part of their lives – their celebrations, parties, dinners and quiet nights at home. We are there when it matters – committed to life’s moments and the people who create them. We partner with the best retail stores in over 100 cities across North America to serve up the best buying experience. Drizly offers a huge selection and competitive pricing with a side of personalized content.

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How did you get into the industry?:

Back in college, we wondered why we couldn’t get beer delivered just like we got our pizza delivered. From there, we began thinking about the larger idea of alcohol delivery and whether it was actually legal. We sifted through the Massachusetts Alcohol Code and realized it wasn’t illegal at all, as so many others had assumed. It was a matter of understanding how to untangle a web of regulations at different levels – federal, state and local – and navigating them in a way that was fully legally compliant.

It wasn’t illegal, but it was complex, and had never been done the right way. As we researched, we started talking to industry experts, attorneys, regulators, liquor stores, distributors and suppliers to better understand how to bring beer, wine and liquor commerce online the right way. It all gave rise to Drizly’s third-party platform-based business model that enables alcohol commerce by connecting established brick-and-mortar retailers with consumers. Drizly was born, with a mission to make good times better, as we like to say.

Emerging industry trends?:

The industry is becoming aware of the vast opportunity that e-commerce holds. Adoption for the category today sits at approximately 2%, but it is becoming top of mind for all tiers in the industry–suppliers, distributors, and retailers.

Forward-looking suppliers are testing more and more, and focusing, if not dedicating teams and resources, to exploring the space and its vast potential. Players in consumer categories that thrived with e-commerce earlier on succeeded by integrating e-commerce into their strategy and execution rather than keeping it walled off. The more the adult beverage industry adopts this mindset, and realizes benefits from integrating e-commerce into mainline planning, the faster the category will grow.

Distributors are also thinking about how this opportunity has the potential to impact the industry. This is evidenced by our strong relationship with WSWA, who has endorsed Drizly as the responsible model for moving the category forward. For retailers, they’re seeing this as an opportunity more and more, not just from Drizly, but across the board.

Industry opportunities and challenges?:

The alcohol industry is incredibly complex and highly regulated. Instead of seeing this as a barrier, we saw an opportunity to establish and grow a business where others did not. As we learned more about the industry, we realized that not only was the idea of Drizly great for consumers, but that it could also be a catalyst for local retail, and a way to provide suppliers with insights that they’d never been able to access. This trifecta has allowed us to grow Drizly into the leading alcohol e-commerce platform benefiting consumers, local retailers, and the biggest stakeholders in adult beverage alike.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?:

Our aim as a company is to make good times just a little bit better. To be there to celebrate life’s important moments – no matter how big or small.

What's next for the Business in the near future?:

For one, our team is growing. We plan to grow by 50% over the next year and are really excited about the potential that brings for the Drizly experience.

Right now, our biggest priority is network growth–bringing more retailers across North America online–and the demand is there. Every month, hundreds of potential retailers are coming to joindrizly.com to learn more. It’s free for retailers to get started, and by bringing more partners on board, we’re able to widen the selection and availability for our customers across the country.

Beyond that, our focus continues to be on providing the best experience for both the consumer and retailer. We’re working to provide retailers even more insights and access to data so that they can make better decisions that will help grow their business. On the consumer side, we’re always looking for ways to make shopping for beer, wine, and liquor better. Drizly allows access to numerous products and we’re working to better understand and optimize the alcohol shopping experience, making it simple for shoppers to get exactly what they want.

Your key initiatives for the success of the Business? Greatest Accomplishment?:

That retailer network is a key part of the success of Drizly. The more our network grows, the more consumers are able to access the Drizly platform, and the wider the product selection they have to shop from.

Legal compliance and advocacy continues to be a key priority that has driven the success of our business. We understood early on that there was an opportunity and a need to work alongside the current system. We’re not out to disrupt it, we’re here to grow it and operate responsibly alongside it. Not unrelated, but category awareness remains one of our biggest challenges. Our estimates are that only about half of consumers in the U.S. think it’s even possible to buy alcohol online. Our focus has been on aligning with that three-tier system, growing our network, getting word out, and building the largest and most helpful e-commerce platform out there for our customers.

Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?):

Building something that doesn’t exist is always hard and that complexity only compounds over time. However, it always comes back to people. Working at a small, ambitious company is an incredible investment for someone to make — an investment of time, of energy, and most importantly, an investment of trust in the people who have made that same pact. Inevitably, there are moments when the paths of the people there no longer intersect with the path of the company. While those moments will always be hard, we’ve learned that when the company places its people first and truly values their career progression, we can look back on however long the paths intertwined and know that both sides are better off for making the investment in each other.

Ideal experience for a customer/client?:

We come into our customers’ lives in the times that matter – when an impromptu party requires a restock, when no one is willing to leave the conversation at the dinner table, when they gift themselves a well-deserved night on the couch in the company of their dear friend Netflix.

We’re here to provide them with the convenience of delivery, but more importantly, to enable them to enjoy those good times, and to aim to make them just a little bit better.

With Drizly, they’re able to pull up their app or head to Drizly.com, browse the widest selection of adult beverages, connect to their local liquor store, and get an order heading their way in under 60 minutes–all with a few clicks. In our ideal experience, our customer is able to find exactly what they want, when they want, from the store partner that they love–and get it delivered at exactly the right time.We aim to make it an even more enjoyable and helpful experience in the future.

How do you motivate others?:

By keeping things upbeat and rolling up our sleeves alongside our entire team. By empowering and trusting in people to make smart decisions and solve the tough challenges.

Career advice to those in your industry?:

Never stand still! So many things change all the time: the consumer base and their preferences, overall consumption trends, the regulatory environment, the technology. The list goes on. Remain current and always look around the corner for what’s next.

What Else To Know

Tell Us More:

How does Drizly work exactly?

Drizly is a marketplace that connects local retailers directly with consumers. We empower consumers to shop beer, wine, and liquor across retailers, with access to a massive inventory and the ability to choose a local store based on what’s important to them–whether it be price, speed, store ratings, product availability, etc. Through Drizly, consumers of legal drinking age have the convenience of alcohol delivery to their homes or offices in under 60 minutes.

For retailers, we help increase their alcohol sales by selling their products online through our e-commerce platform. Retailers can not only expand the current reach of their brick & mortar, but also gain new customers. On average, over 50% of purchases through Drizly will be new customers to that liquor store. Beyond sales, we help our retail partners make smarter decisions on inventory and pricing through a proprietary data insights tool.

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