October 2, 2014

Alcohol Delivery App Comes to Ithaca

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By RACHEL WEBER

Ithacans will now be able to order wine, spirits and beer for delivery in under an hour with Minibar, an app-based service founded by Lara Crystal ’03 and Lindsey Andrews.

Crystal, who studied applied economics and management during her time on the Hill, said she was “incredibly excited” to launch Minibar in Ithaca.

“With virtually everything available at your fingertips, it’s time to make alcohol just as easy to order to your home,” Crystal said.

Minibar, which has been featured in The New York Times and the New Yorker, made its debut in Manhattan in February and expanded to Brooklyn and Queens before launching in Ithaca, according to Christie Devine, Minibar’s public relations representative.

Crystal said she wanted to launch in Ithaca because she “loved” Ithaca when she attended Cornell and thinks Ithaca will be a “great test market of a driving market.”

“I know how cold it is and how much people don’t want to necessarily leave the house during the crazy winter,” Crystal said. “We were surprised that wine, spirits and beer couldn’t be ordered and delivered with the same ease as groceries home goods. Minibar will change that.”

According to Devine, users enter their zip code and are given a list of vendors and a selection of inventory. Orders require a $25 minimum and are then delivered in 60 minutes or less.

Although there is no delivery fee, the Minibar app suggests users tip their delivery person.

Customizable features will be added to the app post-launch, including personalized order suggestions and recommendations on food and alcohol pair, according to Devine.

Crystal said that in order to adhere to legal age requirements for alcohol purchase, Minibar users need to confirm they are of legal drinking age prior to order.

“The sale is in [the vendor’s] control, and they are able to determine whether or not to release the alcohol upon delivery,” said Crystal.

If upon delivery, the customer cannot produce verifiable ID, they will be charged a $20 restocking fee billed to the card on file to dissuade underage drinking, according to Crystal.

Students had mixed feelings about Minibar.

Oliver Viera ’15 said he feels Minibar is a “great app for people of age to have.”

“I think it’s like Ithaca To Go for alcohol. It’s just so convenient,” Viera said. “Now I don’t need to go out of my way to get alcohol — it comes to me.”

Some students said they were unsure if Minibar would be a useful service for them.

“If I wanted overpriced booze, I would just walk to Collegetown Liquor which is 20 feet from my house,” said Courtney Sokol ’15.

Philippe Simard ’15 said whether he used the service would depend on the operating hours of Minibar.

“Usually I wouldn’t use that service because I live in Collegetown and could get beer with a two minute walk,” Simard said. “That being said, getting liquor after 11 is impossible, so if the app does that then I would certainly use it.”

The service is available online and for iOS and Android systems and will be launching officially in Ithaca, Lansing, Dryden and Danby on Monday, Crystal said.

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