- Gopuff announced on Tuesday it has acquired Liquor Barn, an independent alcohol chain with 23 stores in Kentucky, for an undisclosed amount from private equity firm Blue Equity.
- Liquor Barn locations have an addressable market that includes more than 80% of Louisville and Lexington residents, according to the news release.
- This is Gopuff’s second acquisition of an alcohol retailer in less than a year, highlighting the importance of beer, wine and alcohol to its quick-commerce model.
Seven months after acquiring West Coast alcohol chain BevMo, Gopuff has picked up another retailer in the space, indicating a budding trend for the rapidly expanding delivery company.
Alcohol sales boomed during the pandemic, and e-commerce regulations are loosening up across the country, making it easier for companies to shuttle cases of beer and bottles of wine to consumers’ doorsteps. For Gopuff, which counts alcohol as a key category in its impulse-driven model, an expanded selection along with added expertise in handling and distribution could provide a competitive advantage as online sales expand.
Even more intriguing is the strategy of operating dual-purpose stores. In Monday's announcement, Gopuff noted it will use Liquor Barn locations as fulfillment centers for its convenience delivery business, which includes everything from groceries to baby products and over-the-counter medications.
That’s the strategy the company is also following on the West Coast through its BevMo stores. Less than a year after acquiring that chain, Gopuff is turning dozens of these locations into “omni stores” that include a wide range of products for delivery through the platform, according to recent job postings. News of Gopuff’s hybrid retail-fulfillment model was first reported by food technology site HNGRY.
Gopuff now operates more than 450 sites across the U.S., including more than 275 small fulfillment sites. In a recent podcast interview, company co-founder Rafael Ilishayev said Gopuff is opening 30 micro sites per month. He noted the fulfillment sites that have been open 18 months or longer are profitable and that building site density in markets reduces delivery times and increases profitability.
Gopuff is also expanding its selection of fresh and local products, and getting ready to test ghost kitchens, according to recent job postings, highlighting the company’s need to expand its assortment as it grows.
Founded in 2013, Gopuff has pushed the accelerator to the floor in recent months as it announces new acquisitions, market expansion and services. In the past week alone, it announced a new advertising platform and the purchase of a dispatch tech startup in addition to its Liquor Barn pickup. Last month, the company announced a partnership with Uber on a convenience delivery venture and jumped into Europe’s instant-delivery race by purchasing U.K.-based Fancy.