Online retailer Wine.com rolls spirit sales into California

Wine.com, one of the biggest online wine retailers in the US, has rolled out spirits sales into the key Californian market, as the latest data finds alcohol e-commerce has hit the $2.6billion mark.

The e-commerce site first added spirits to its line-up in August last year in order to tap into the cocktail trend and increased demand for premium and craft spirits, and rolled out across New York and Florida and later New Jersey. It had originally expected to add California in September.

The online wine site launched in 1998 and now has a range of 15,000 wines and around 2,000 spirits, including whiskey,, and liqueur,  concentrating on primarily premium, rare, collectible and limited edition products, including 160 single malt whiskies, 100 añejo tequilas and 80 aged rums as well as vodka, tequila, mezcal, gin, brandy, cordial liquers 

CEO Rich Bergsund said the company was pleased to bring its spirits e-commerce up to speed with wine, pointing out that there had been “very few ways to order wine and spirits online and receive them in a single delivery” until now.

“With our unlimited shipping program, StewardShip, shopping online for wine and spirits is now an easy and obvious choice,” he said.

As well as  accessing notes on the product style, production method, distillery and region of origin of the range, shoppers can chat to the site’s online experts to find a bottle that suits them best, before choosing a range of delivery options, including specific delivery dates, home delivery or local pick up.

The company sold more than 38,000 wines from 5,500 different wineries in 2018, helping boost revenues to around $130 million. This year, it saw sales  online leap by a further $20 million in 2019 to pass the $150 million mark, driven by strong growth in sales from mobile devices as well as its StewardShip membership programme, which grew its base by around 24%. 

A recent report from Rabobank put the size of the US online alcoholic drinks category at $2.6 billion last year, but said it had room for further growth. Pure-play e-commerce operators such as Wine.com currently account for just under half of the total market, it said, or around $1.1 billion of sales, followed by the direct-to-consumer wine markets at $950million. Grocery and supermarket retailers saw sales double during 2019 to around $295million, while alcohol marketplaces such as Drizly – which offer an off-the-shelf solution for smaller retailers and independents – saw sales rise 60% to $265million in 2019.

The e-commerce market in the US accounts for around 11% of the total retail market, according the US Department of Commerce, and is growing ahead of the market, at around 13%. However Rabobank’s report said while US online alcohol sales had grown 22% year-on-year, penetration of the online alcohol category remained “abysmally low”.

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