Uber is betting $1.1 billion on alcohol deliveries

The company announced that it is acquiring alcohol delivery startup Drizly for $1.1 billion in stock and cash. The deal, which is not yet complete, will result in Drizly being integrated into Uber’s food delivery app while also remaining a standalone app.

Drizly was founded in 2012, inspired by what the company’s site describes as a “simple text” between two friends: “Why can’t you get alcohol delivered?” It now partners with thousands of retailers in more than 1,400 US cities to sell alcohol through its platform to be delivered in under an hour.

“Wherever you want to go and whatever you need to get, our goal at Uber (UBER) is to make people’s lives a little bit easier. That’s why we’ve been branching into new categories like groceries, prescriptions and, now, alcohol,” said Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi in a statement.

The news comes as delivery services have seen skyrocketing demand during the pandemic. Uber has leaned on Eats, its food delivery business, while its core rides business has plummeted. In July, Uber acquired one of its smaller food delivery competitors, Postmates, for $2.65 billion in an all-stock deal.

The acquisition spree comes as Uber has abandoned its loftier ambitions. The company sold off its autonomous vehicle research division and its flying taxi operations in December.

Uber, which has a history of steep losses, has felt the effects of the pandemic. It cut roughly 25% of its staff over multiple rounds of layoffs in the first half of last year as the global health crisis put pressure on its core business.