For those of you not familiar with life in the land of the LCBO, I should explain some things. When it comes to buying alcohol in this province things are pretty much on lockdown.
Of all the kinks in Ontario’s liquor program, my biggest pet peeve is that you are entirely at the whim of the powers that be and what they decide to import. See an article about a cool wine? Nope. Had a great beer while travelling and want to enjoy it at home too? Forget it. Want to specially order or have a friend mail you something? Slight possibility, but it still isn’t looking good.
Look, I know the LCBO is one of the largest buyers of alcohol in the world, but that size comes at a price.
Which is why I was slightly surprised to see a new app enter the Toronto beverage scene.
Thirstie is an app that allows you to order alcohol through your smartphone and have it delivered to whatever address you put in. It follows an ever-growing list of ‘like Uber, but for ___’ style apps that aim to bring the entire world to your overburdened emoji-typing thumbs.
According to their website, Thirstie claims to “partner with top wine and spirit retailers”, and to “work with local stores to offer you the best selection of wine, beer and spirits”. It’s not clear whether that means they have some sort of partnership with the whole of the LCBO or whether they just send people out to local shops to buy what people punch into the app. An article in the Huffington Post says the app will be partnering with existing local alcohol delivery services (I remember Dial-a-bottle from my university days) who might not be as plugged into the whole web/smart phone order thing just yet. Either way, it seems like adding another layer to an already over-layered system – a layer that will cost you $10.25 per delivery.
A quick glance at the catalogue shows a similar product line to what you would find in stores, and at the exact same price. This is a bit of a relief to be honest – it means that Thirstie is neither breaking provincial laws on discounting alcohol, nor are they (currently) marking it up because of the convenience factor.
Looking at their beer catalogue it’s clear they aren’t interested in helping you pick up a couple tall cans when you run out at a party. Nothing in this list seems to be less than $9.95. However, many of the wines listed are affordable, sitting nicely in the $12-$15 range.
It’s a cool-looking app, and I can see it taking off with people short on time or who those who get a kick out of using technology to escape doing more mundane and menial tasks.
Will I use it? Maybe. It might be handy in the winter when all I want is my couch. But I could just as easily make the 7 minute walk to my local LCBO, and my body would probably thank me for the exercise – if only to counter the booze I’m about to enjoy.
Would you use Thirstie?
It’s definitely an interesting concept and the delivery price point isn’t even that bad… but I still consider myself far too cheap to use it. And the thing for me was that the hours always sucked. The time when I don’t want to drag my carcass off my sofa to the LCBO is usually when they’re already closed… which means these people couldn’t pick it up either!
I think I’m too cheap for it too, though I recognize that this app will appeal to lots of people. Plus, I kind of love wandering the aisles and seeing what’s new!
First, getting booze in Pennsylvania is eerily similar to Ontario. Our demon has a slightly different name: the PLCB. As for the App, it is hard to imagine a scenario where it will make any money. Unless the LCBO is cutting them a discount. But I know that would never fly with the PLCB so I doubt it would chez toi either.
That’s a great point, and something I didn’t think about. I do wonder how they plan to make it a money-making venture. In app ads, maybe? Sponsored listings from certain companies and distributors? Definitely something to ask them if I can get in touch.