9 LA-based startups using tech to revolutionize the liquor business

by John Siegel
November 30, 2016

When you think about technology disrupting industries, the liquor industry probably isn't your first thought. But as we've seen with traditional industries everywhere, tech can streamline processes to create a more efficient business. LA certainly loves its beer, wine and whiskey, but it's becoming apparent the alcohol industry is learning to love tech, as well.


Founded as Club W, a subscription wine discovery service, the company rebranded as Winc, now offering a direct to consumer wine service aimed at helping novices discover new wines, and keeping veterans happy with a wonderful selection of wines. Since its founding in 2011, the startup has developed a grape-to-glass supply chain that gets consumers their wine faster than ever before.


DRINKS was founded in 2013 by a team of digital marketing veterans and alcohol sales experts. Since then, the company has grown their number of brands to five, owning a chunk of the direct-to-consumer wine sales industry while matching winos with great wines from all over the globe.


With the craft beer revolution has come a new, more convenient solution: homebrewing. While homebrew kits have been available for some time, technology is making it easier for amateur brewers to make beer better. Fresh off a $700,000 Kickstarter campaign (they asked for $100,000 originally), iGulu, which was founded in China but is based in LA, is finally flying off the shelves. The automated brewing device offers brewers an authentic experience, and the company's app makes monitoring the beer's progress simple and effective. 


If there's ever a better reason to enjoy a nice bottle of wine, it's for charity. With every bottle sold, El Segundo-based ONEHOPE Wine donates to its charity, ONEHOPE Foundation, where proceeds go to causes like planting new trees, autism therapy, cancer research and wine re-education courses (not really).


It's 11:30 and the party is really just getting started. The problem: none of your deadbeat friends brought even a six pack of Old Milwaukee, and the house is running dry. Enter Saucey, the on-demand alcohol delivery service/cavalry squadron designed to help you out when your guests start musing about hitting up the local karaoke club. 


Based on the medieval act of squiring, or, a young nobleman serving as a personal attendant before eventually becoming a knight, Sqyre is a personal attendant for you, at least when it comes to grabbing you a sixer of Anchor Steam when the game is heading to overtime. They recently became part of the Pink Dot network, though it still operates under the Sqyre banner.


In its six-year existence, LA-based Untappd has become the go-to app for beer drinkers all over the US, offering beer enthusiasts to find local venues serving their favorite brew, find new beer associates and helping breweries analyze trends among consumers.


The world of wine can be confusing for those looking to learn more. Why was this wine described as earthy? Why did that sommelier compare that smell to a freshly opened can of tennis balls? Whether you're a somm in training or looking to graduate from the world of boxed Franzia, WineKey is a blind tasting app designed by wine professionals so users can see the results of all their hard work.


The beauty of beer is its diversity. While it wouldn't be fair to say no two beers taste alike, small batch breweries all over the world are creating fantastic brews, it's just a matter of finding them. Currently operating in a private beta, CraftX is a monthly delivery service that connects beer lovers with awesome American breweries. Once a month, subscribers choose from three beers, indicating how much of each they prefer. CraftX fills a twelver and sends it to your door. 

Images via Facebook and Shutterstock.

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