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Drizly vs. Uber Eats: We put alcohol deliveries to the test

Feb. 04, 2021
11 min read
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On Tuesday, Uber finalized a deal to acquire on-demand alcohol delivery service Drizly. On the surface, the announcement was exciting news for customers as Uber teased new benefits and perks for its rewards and subscription members. Although unconfirmed, this could potentially bring a valuable new perk for some American Express cardholders (more on that later).

However, if you haven't ordered alcohol online before, there's a good chance you're wondering: What even is Drizly, anyway? For starters, it's quite different from other delivery apps, such as Uber Eats, in that it doesn't deliver anything itself. Rather, it provides stores with technology that enables them to deliver alcohol on-demand.

We here at TPG were curious how Drizzly and Uber Eats stack up, so we compared them head-to-head. We had three staffers place the same or comparable orders on Drizzly and Uber Eats and compare the prices, delivery times and more.

Senior credit cards editor Benét Wilson tested the apps in San Antonio, Texas, social media lead Caitlin Riddell used them in Brooklyn, while I tried them in Manhattan — just a few miles apart in New York City.

Here's what we found.

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Selection

It probably doesn't come as much of a surprise that Drizly — the company that specializes in alcohol delivery — had a much greater selection than Uber Eats.

Drizly offers the widest selection of beer, wine and spirits online, including many items that are sometimes hard to find in stores. With Drizly, by default, you browse by item. Then, similar to shopping on Amazon, you get to choose which store you want to place your order from. If the item you want isn't available nearby, you can have it shipped to you.

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(Photo courtesy of Drizly)

With Uber Eats, on the other hand, you browse by store — not item. If you're looking for a specific item or want to compare prices, you need to browse each store's selection separately.

Overall, based on our experiences, there are far fewer liquor stores listed on Uber Eats than Drizly. Additionally, for the stores listed on both sites, Uber Eats' selection tends to be smaller. For instance, while some stores have thousands of products listed on Drizly, they might only have a couple dozen on Uber Eats. We found that it's much harder to find higher-end bottles and more unique drinks on Uber Eats. While big names like Titos and Bacardi were widely available, local beers and hard seltzers were harder to find. I was hoping to order an On The Rocks (OTR) cocktail but couldn't find it via Uber Eats.

Another issue was that not all liquor stores listed on Uber Eats were necessarily available. Despite being open, some stores showed "currently unavailable" or "no couriers nearby." Since stores fulfill and deliver Drizly orders themselves, it's less likely to see these types of messages during normal business hours.

(Photo courtesy of Uber Eats)

Benet ended up ordering two types of prosecco, Caitlin ordered a red wine and I ordered tequila.

Winner: Drizly

Price

Aside from selection, Drizly came out ahead on price.

While most stores marked up prices on Uber Eats, Drizly's prices matched those offered in-store. It's not just alcohol prices that get marked up on Uber Eats, either. As TPG's Richard Kerr pointed out, it's not uncommon for restaurants to mark up their menu items on food delivery apps like Uber Eats.

Then come delivery and service fees.

Drizly typically charges a flat $4.99 for delivery (this may be higher for ground shipping), though in New York City, most stores offer it for free. Meanwhile, with Uber Eats, delivery fees vary by store and distance, but they're typically under $5. However, as you'll see below, due to a promotion Uber Eats was offering when we placed our orders, none of the TPG staffers paid a delivery fee.

Related: How to earn the maximum points for alcohol purchases

For service fees, Drizly charges a flat $1.99, regardless of the order size. Uber Eats, on the other hand, charges variable service fees, depending on the market. They can equal up to 15% of your order subtotal, subject to a minimum of $2. In New York City, the current fee is a flat $2.10 plus 5% of your order's subtotal. In Texas, it's equal to 10% of your subtotal, with a $3 minimum.

You can consistently get $0 delivery fees and 5% off orders over $15 on Uber Eats with an Eats Pass membership (taxes and service fees may apply and do not count toward order minimum). The subscription usually costs $9.99 per month, but you select Amex cards, including The Platinum Card® from American Express and American Express® Gold Card now offer complimentary access to Eats Pass*. (Must enroll by December 31, 2021 and auto-bill starts 12 months from initial enrollment in this offer, at then-current monthly rate.) Both of these cards also offer monthly Uber Cash, which could be used towards Uber Eats orders in the U.S.

Related: Amex Gold cardholders’ new $10 monthly Uber credits starting to post

One main difference between the apps is that stores typically have a minimum spend requirement on Drizly. This requirement is usually around $20 but can be upwards of $40. Uber Eats doesn't have any minimums but may charge you a small order fee. This fee varies by city but is either $2 for subtotals less than $10 or $3 for subtotals less than $15.

I ordered a bottle of Espolòn Tequila Blanco from the same store via Drizly and Uber Eats. Here's how my receipts broke down (not including tip):

ItemDrizlyUber Eats
Espolòn Tequila Blanco, 750ml$30.99$35.19
Service fee$1.99$3.86
Delivery fee$0$0
Tax$2.79$3.75
TOTAL$35.78$47.73

While I'm glad I had a promo code and some newly deposited Uber Cash credit to bring down the cost of my Uber Eats order, overall, it was still about 18% more expensive than through Drizly. The price difference would have been even larger had Uber Eats charge a delivery fee.

Related: Food delivery promo codes to help you save money on your next meal

There were stores on Drizly that offered slightly cheaper bottles, but they had higher minimum spending.

(Photo courtesy of Drizly)

Caitlin ordered a bottle of Meiomi Pinot Noir. To broaden our comparison, she ordered the same bottle from different stores on Drizly and Uber Eats.

ItemDrizlyUber Eats
Meiomi Pinot Noir$25.00$31.99
Service fee$1.99$4.50
Delivery fee$4.99$0
Tax$2.71$2.84
TOTAL$34.69$39.33

Once again, the prices and service fees were higher on Uber Eats than Drizly. All in all, Caitlin paid a roughly 13% premium on Uber Eats.

Finally, Benet ordered three bottles of Mionetto Prosecco on Drizly and two bottles of La Marca Prosecco from a different store on Uber Eats.

ItemDrizlyUber Eats
Prosecco$34.71$39.98
Service fee$1.99$4.00
Delivery fee$4.99$0
Tax$3.28$2.84
TOTAL$44.97$46.82

In this case, it's a bit more difficult two compare the price mark-up since Benet ordered two different types of prosecco. However, the brands were comparable. So the fact that three bottles via Drizly cost less than two bottles via Uber Eats says something. That being said, the price difference doesn't seem as significant as the previous examples and Uber charges lower service fees in Texas than in some other markets. Nevertheless, Drizly gets the edge here since it included an extra bottle and had a lower total.

Winner: Drizly

Speed

Now, delivery time is one area where there's no clear winner.

Unlike Uber Eats, which uses its large network of delivery partners to fulfill orders, Drizly leaves stores responsible for delivering orders. There are pros and cons to both of these methods. In some cases, orders may deliver faster when being delivered directly by the store. Meanwhile, it's also possible for orders to sometimes take longer since a store might not have as many delivery drivers or choose to wait for more orders to come in so that they can make multiple deliveries at once. As mentioned earlier, with Uber Eats, there's the possibility that no couriers are available during peak periods.

Caitlin and Benet had both of their orders arrive within minutes of each other — both within the promised delivery windows. Ironically, Caitlin received a notification that her Drizly order was being delivered by DoorDash. This was likely because the store didn't have its own couriers.

(Photo by Benét Wilson/Caitlin Riddell/The Points Guy)

I, on the other hand, had a slightly different experience. My Uber Eats order arrived on-time, 35 minutes after I placed my order. Meanwhile, my Drizly order took over an hour to arrive and was about 20 minutes later than the estimated delivery time.

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Ultimately, your experience can vary by store and market, so we'll be giving the two services a tie for this category.

Winner: Tie

Other features

Drizly and Uber Eats allow you to place orders via desktop and mobile. Additionally, they both allow you to schedule orders for a later time. However, beyond that, Uber Eats leads the way.

Although both services technically let you track your orders, Uber Eats' tracking system is much more intuitive. Similar to the rides app, you can track your Uber Eats orders on a map in real-time.

(Photo courtesy of Uber Eats)

Drizly is supposed to tell you when an order is packed, en route and delivered (no live map). However, the store never updated my order's status, so even once it was delivered, Drizly's system showed that my order was still at the store.

(Photo courtesy of Drizly)

Also, while Drizly sometimes appears on online shopping portals, it doesn't offer a rewards program like how Uber Eats does. Uber Rewards offers points on every Eats order and lets you redeem them for free meals and more.

Related: Everything you need to know about the Uber Rewards program

Winner: Uber Eats

Bottom line

When it comes to ordering alcohol delivery, the three most important factors are selection, price and speed. While Drizly and Uber Eats offered similar delivery times, Drizly came out ahead in the other areas.

While we'll have to wait to see what the acquisition means for customers, this news could ultimately be good all around. Uber Eats will expand its alcohol selection and browsing system, while Drizly will benefit from Uber's technology for better order tracking and possibly faster deliveries. Additionally, eligible Amex cardholders may potentially have a new way to redeem their monthly Uber credits.

All that being said, it's certainly possible that there will be no major customer-facing changes, as was the case when Uber acquired Postmates. Although Drizly will eventually be integrated within the Uber Eats app, Uber says that Drizly will also retain its own, separate app. Also, as is currently the case with some restaurants, Uber Eats will likely let liquor stores continue to use their own delivery staff if they want. Let's just hope stores don't start to markup their prices.

*Click here for Uber Eats Pass terms and conditions.

Featured image by Shutterstock
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

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  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees