How Minibar is Building the On-Demand Liquor Service to Rule Them All

How Minibar is Building the On-Demand Liquor Service to Rule Them All

How Minibar is Building the On-Demand Liquor Service to Rule Them All 1600 900 33Voices

I’ve always been a firm believer that the best ideas are born out of meals we share with our family and friends. 

My dinner-time theory proves true in the Takeout Tuesday tradition that inspired Lara Crystal and Lindsey Andrews to start Minibar: The leading on-demand platform for liquor delivery. 

Despite holding senior roles at Rent the Runway and Quidsi, the now co-founders spent Tuesday nights brainstorming business ideas with the ultimate goal that one would turn into reality.

Less than a year, and many delicious meals, in a friend from Wharton suggested alcohol delivery and Minibar was born. 

“If we didn’t do it now would we ever do it? We had to take that leap of faith, jump and trust that we could make an amazing brand and do it together,” Lindsey shared. 

Today, Minibar users can order wine, spirits and beer through the company’s mobile app and website. 

Mobile is designed for your on-the-go purchase. While the website provides a more in depth experience including party-planning tools, scheduled deliveries and recommended products. 

Although I’m hugely impressed with the young startup’s growth – Minibar’s expanded to 18 cities in less than two years – the lasting impact from my time with Lara and Lindsey is the genuine respect they hold for each other as co-founders. 

“The reason we make good partners is because we both despise and stress about different things. We have different skill sets, and different things that worry and excite us. That’s informed our team building strategy; Finding people who have different skill sets and can add value,” Lara explained.  

Based in New York, Minibar is still a lean team of eight. 

In addition to making Beyonce their company mascot (They’ve even named their internal communications tool after her),  these are the execution strategies Minibar’s using to set the pace in their market. 

  • Daily stand-ups to discuss what everyone is working on. This is particularly helpful for small teams where individuals can contribute new ideas. According to Lara: “It’s easy to get away with a lot when you’re small. That’s why being small is an advantage. The more you can keep moving before you have to put in all of the checks and balances the better off you are.”
  • Prioritizing the macro tasks that will move the business forward today or this week. “It’s okay if something new gets pushed to tomorrow if the customers are coming first, the technology is working and people are happy and having fun,” Lindsey explained. 
  • “If you’re trying to make something perfect you’re never going to get it out there.” As native New Yorkers, Lara and Lindsey have “made speed a habit by setting the example that if you have to do something do it right now.” 
  • Recognizing that priorities shift over time. “Some things become more important and you can’t drive yourself crazy about it. Half the time the last 5% of projects may not get done. The key is to be okay with that,” Lara shared. 

The team’s productivity habits have enabled the startup to be the dominant player in the alcohol delivery space. 

Since launching in Spring 2014, they’ve secured partnerships with liquor giants like Absolut and Budweiser, who they collaborated with on a Super Bowl ad. 

Their acquisition of Booze Carriage, another liquor delivery service, also played a crucial role propelling them forward. 

As the team embarks on their ultimate quest to make Minibar a verb – You have to admit, ‘I Minibared it’ has a ring to it! – their foundational goal is to always do good business. 

“If everything were public, we would we feel good about the decisions that we’re making and how we’re conducting ourselves. It’s an important core value to be good and kind,” Lara asserted. 

When it comes to making Minibar a verb the duo’s big picture goal is to be the “go-to destination when someone thinks ‘I need cocktail recommendations. I’m throwing a party or need to send a gift.’” 

“We want to be the trusted resource for anything in this space,” Lara said. “We don’t see a reason why Minibar can’t be a companion to everyone in the country.” 

To learn more about Lara and Lindsey’s work powering Minibar to Run the World –  Beyonce reference intended – tune into their episode of 33founders and follow them on Twitter here

Here’s a glimpse of what we discuss: 

  • How Minibar evolved from Takeout Tuesday 
  • The immeasurable value of having an authentic relationship with your co-founder 
  • How the startup’s forged partnership with liquor giants like Absolut and Budweiser 
  • Why being “good and kind” is one of the company’s core values 
  • The team’s highest goals for Minibar 

Lara and Lindsey have graciously given the 33voices community a special offer to receive $10 off your first Minibar order. Download the app on iOS and Android or visit the website and enter “33voices” before you make your purchase.