Every true Austinite knows the feeling, when you’re out by the pool with some friends on a Saturday afternoon, maybe there’s some grilling going on, definitely some bathing suits and suntan lotion, and everyone’s got a beer in their hand when suddenly, you run out of cold brew.
You’re a little tipsy, and even though you know it’s a bad idea, you decide to hit up the corner store anyway.
Maybe nobody gets hurt and you make it home without getting pulled over. But it’s still illegal, and you’re still risking you life and the lives of those around you. And let’s not even talk about what the legal repercussions of a DWI are in Texas, although we could tell some horror stories to justify that ringer they put drunk drivers through.
But if you’re smart, savvy, connected and lucky enough to live in Austin, then you could have avoided that potentially fraught drunken drive for more beer by whipping out your smartphone and downloading the new app BrewDrop, which offers users the inventory of an entire local liquor store on demand. Yes, that’s right: You don’t even have to drive.
And because you used BrewDrop, those shooters you didn’t have enough Tito’s Vodka for? Done and done. The delivery guy even brought that six-pack of tallboys that you wanted, and you never even had to step away from the grill. Suddenly you’re a party hero, and you’ve got BrewDrop to thank.
But don’t call BrewDrop a delivery service. Yes, you order booze and it gets delivered to you at poolside, but BrewDrop isn’t making pickups and deliveries.
Think of them like the popular app GrubHub, connecting hungry people with restaurants that deliver — except that BrewDrop doesn’t fill you up with yummy Thai food. They fill you up with booze. (But you were going to do that anyway, so it’s a win-win situation.)
“It’s easiest to characterize us as a technology company,” explained Matthew Bell, BrewDrop’s cofounder, president and chief operating officer. “We don’t deliver anything, we don’t sell anything. We are the technology between the liquor stores and the customers. Liquor stores are local businesses, and our focus is on local businesses. We were born and raised in Austin, so our leading mantra is to support local business by providing the technology for them to reach more customers.”
BrewDrop isn’t just a local Austin tech startup, it’s also a family business. Matthew Bell co-founded the company with his brother Andrew, who serves as BrewDrop’s CEO — but that’s as deep as the blood relations go. Their fellow co-founders Sergio and Gerardo Treviño are not related, just similarly named. Sergio brings the technical know-how as CTO and lead engineer, while Gerardo works as a technical advisor. Together, the four set out on a mission to make Austin’s drinkers happy, help Austin’s liquor stores move more product and improve roadway safety in America’s fifth-drunkest city. A tall order, to be sure.
“In our market research, more than half of the people we talked to admitting to having driven when they should not have in order to get more alcohol,” Bell explained. “One of the key public safety concerns here is drunk drivers, and if we can have an impact on eliminating that, then it’s a win for everyone… We’ve actually had numerous talks with [the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission], even recently because someone didn’t understand our business model. We don’t make deliveries and we don’t take anything from the sales. We just help local businesses connect better with their customers through technology.”
While BrewDrop hasn’t been operating for very long, and their partner liquor stores don’t yet deliver to every Austin zip code, most of the city is already covered. And if you’re outside of their area, don’t worry: Once the guys behind BrewDrop have their business model down to a science, they plan to take their app national.
Consider yourselves informed, Austin. Next time you’re poolside and the cooler runs dry, don’t risk a drive. Just BrewDrop it.
Featured photo: Flickr user Jenn Durfey, creative commons licensed.