The ramifications of Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods are still being felt throughout the food and beverage industry, every day beckoning a new development that could turn the world on its head.
The latest update in this union is that Amazon intends to use Whole Foods as hubs for alcohol delivery. CNBC reported several weeks ago that Amazon quietly expanded its alcohol delivery capability for Prime members, and they are making it as easy as possible, as the article notes: “Alexa, for instance, can now be used to order alcohol in some areas. And MillerCoors created an Amazon Dash button this year — a physical button that triggers an Amazon beer run when pressed.”
As Jeff Bezos’ fingers are headed for yet another piece of the marketplace pie, the alcohol industry must wrangle with one of the world’s most powerful companies and their monopolization of consumers. While it is always good to remain critical of the companies that hold such a large stake in the economy, their presence is not always entirely negative, and in the case of alcohol delivery, not necessarily a threat.
Amazon’s influence could have a major impact on alcohol delivery’s biggest obstacle: complicated state and federal policies. In Forbes magazine, C. Jarrett Dieterle briefly detailed how alcohol regulations — many of which are relics from the Prohibition era — make an online, alcohol economy extremely difficult.
These difficulties also include the three-tier system found in most states; this refers to the bastions of alcohol sale — distributors, retailers, and producers — and the relationships between them. Many believe if anyone has the litigation and lobbying power to streamline some of these laws and policies, it’s the big fish, Amazon.
This makes it an exciting time for restaurants and industry specialists to dip into this robust market. This would make it increasingly feasible for restaurants, many of which may already have a profitable delivery business, to become even more lucrative. Restaurants already capitalizing on the demand of delivery should look at Amazon and the emergence of alcohol delivery as an opportunity.