The alcohol beverage marketplace grew sales an estimated 300% in 2020, after the coronavirus pandemic pushed more consumers to shop online.

Uber Technologies Inc. agreed to acquire Drizly Inc., an on-demand alcohol delivery app, for $1.1 billion—a wager that demand for home delivery will persist after the coronavirus pandemic subsides.

The deal is Uber’s biggest since July when it bought Postmates, a food delivery app. The Drizly purchase primarily consists of Uber stock, with less than 10% in cash, the companies said in a statement Tuesday. Uber shares were up about 7% in the first minutes after the market opened after they announced the deal.

Drizly operates in more than 1,400 U.S. cities, connecting customers with nearly 3,000 local stores to order beer, wine and liquor. The alcohol beverage marketplace began as an app-only company in 2012 and launched its ecommerce site in September 2014, modeling after the success of similar companies like grocery delivery app Instacart and, coincidentally, Uber.

“Companies like Instacart see 70% of their traffic come through the web, and we wanted to get in the minds of consumers in an Uber-like fashion,” CEO Nick Rellas said in an interview with Digital Commerce 360 in October 2014. Both Instacart and Uber operate apps and  websites.


Since 2016, Drizly has grown from a Digital Commerce 360-estimated $45 million in gross merchandise value to crossing an estimated $900 million in 2020.

Drizly has had a breakout year as consumers stuck at home ordered in alcohol instead of venturing to the store. In May, around the height of U.S. lockdowns, sales were about 400% above what was expected during that time, Drizly said last July in a company blog. Consumers both ordered more frequently and bought more per order, it said at the time.

Drizly’s sales growth peaked in April 2020, when sales were up more than 800% compared with April 2019, according to data from Rakuten Intelligence. By December, sales were up 400% compared with December 2019, Rakuten Intelligence data shows. The average order value peaked at $76.62 in April, up from $58.22 per order in April 2019 and $68.63 in December 2020. The data is based on email receipts of a panel of millions of U.S. online shoppers, according to the company.


The purchase will add an expansive new category of products for Uber to deliver. The pandemic transformed Uber from a company that primarily transported people to one that mostly delivers food from restaurants. Uber will add Drizly’s alcohol selection to the Uber Eats app, alongside meals and groceries. The deal is expected to close in the first half of the year, the companies said.

Drizly is No. 57 in Digital Commerce 360’s Top 100 Online Marketplaces ranking.