The on-demand economy is large, and getting larger. The on-demand economy is attracting more than 22.4 million consumers annually and $57.6 billion in spending.
Alcoholic beverages are just the latest category of items that can be brought to your door, joining restaurant orders (GrubHub) and groceries (InstaCart), and Refill has its sights set on becoming a major player in that market.
Columbus-based Refill started in 2015 as Alcohol Deliveries, when founders, Anthony Reynolds and Josh Walker, saw a gap in their local market. At that time, East Coast-based alcohol delivery service Drizly had yet to expand into Ohio, and Amazon’s Prime Now was still in its testing phase in select locations.
The Evolution of Refill
Initially Reynold and Walker found partners in liquor stores across Columbus. Many small, local liquor stores have been looking a way to expand into delivery services as a way to find new customers.
“It’s bringing in sales,” said Sidhu Gursey, owner of Arena Wine and Spirits. “The people who order on the app are not people who would come in here normally.”
Gursey estimated that 10 percent to 15 percent of his total sales come through the Refill app.
Once they successfully proved their business concept with liquor stores, Refill expanded to include stadiums. In 2016 users of the Refill app got the opportunity to order a drink or snack for delivery to their stadium seat. Refill began a partnership with National Football League and National Hockey League stadiums, with a later expansion into Men’s Soccer League stadiums in Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania.
Regional expansion is their current phase of growth. This year Refill expanded it’s service to Cleveland with Cincinnati next and locations well beyond Ohio in the coming years including Nashville, Houston and Miami.
Refill Teams up with Lyft
In August 2017 Refill announced their partnership with ride-share company Lyft in an effort to get people in Ohio who have been drinking alcohol where they want to go safely.
Lyft riders will be able to receive $10 off their first ride when using promo code: REFILL . Refill app users will also receive additional Lyft credits ranging $10-$100. This partnership is currently focusing on the Ohio-area where there were 346 traffic deaths and 7,198 traffic related injuries caused by alcohol in 2016, according to the Ohio Department of Public Safety.
“We are committed to providing a safe environment for the community,” said Refill CMO Anthony Reynolds.
“My friend was killed by a drunk driver and part of the reason we created Refill, a safe and responsible way for people to have more alcohol without having to go drive and get it.” “We look forward at the opportunity to work with State and Local agencies to help reduce drunk driving in Ohio.”