When businesses all over the world are going bankrupt and suffering losses, it took a global pandemic for this company to take off. LiqHub is an app where consumers can browse and procure their favorite alcoholic drinks and get them delivered at their doorstep. The idea behind this business is to redefine India’s drinking culture wherein people will have adequate knowledge about booze and drink responsibly.
The party that led to the birth of Liqhub
Liqhub founder Aryan Solanki and his co-founders were surprised when they went to a party and found that none of the consumers could answer a question as simple as, “what is whiskey made up of?”. This is where their very idea of Liqhub came into being. Also, one of Solanki’s friend met with an accident and he was hit by a car driven by a drunk man. Most drunk driving accidents occur because an already drunk person often drives to the liquor store to get another bottle. Also, there is an untapped demand for home delivery of liquor as over the year the alcohol consumption amongst women has risen considerably.
Liqhub’s vision and mission.
Liqhub wants to build a platform where not only people will be guided to their drink but also make them a responsible drinker. To build a more responsible and evolved drinking culture in India, they added many more features to the platform like cocktail recipes from famous bartenders all the world and information about the ingredients of what goes into your drink. It also has starters and snacks. They want to spread awareness in drinking standards so that people do not fall in mishaps or lose their control. Liqhub founders never planned to open up an alcohol delivery service in the first place. They meant Liqhub to be a dispensary of knowledge about wines and spirits. In its present form, Liqhub will continue to retain its feature of information and know-how about your favorite drink, and drop off that drink, which now you know all the details about, at the security and comfort of your home. Liqhub’s founder Aryan Solanki also wants to aware of existing liquor business operators that their company won’t hinder the revenues of these existing businesses. Liqhub intends to work as a facilitator who would pick up your desired booze from the nearest location to your home and drop it off at your doorstep, provided it is available in your city.
It took a global pandemic for this company to finally launch.
Solanki and his co-founders have been trying hard to get a green light for the operations of their service, going several rounds between state and municipal authorities. Although no law prohibits the delivery of alcohol, India has always had a taboo about drinking alcohol in general. Food delivery apps are popular in India and have been very successful since its launch, but many authorities completely against the idea of a similar app delivering alcohol. Even those who would be open to the idea would cut off eventually pushing it back further. Finally, the COVID 19 pandemic got things moving. With effect from 25th March, India confined its 1.3 billion citizens in their homes as coronavirus cases surged across the nation. This brought Asia’s third-largest economy to a standstill and all businesses were shut down, except for essential services.
Shutting down of liquor shops means a hefty loss for our government, since the sale of alcohol account for a large chunk of tax revenue for most states (20-40% of total revenue). Ceasing of liquor sales for about 55 days financially crippled the government, along with other revenue-generating sources at a standstill. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh of Punjab objected to the move along with others. In some states relaxations after the initial lockdown, allowed standalone liquor shop to open. After day one of opening Maharashtra alone collected revenue of Rs. 11 crores.
Social distancing rules were kept at bay when long queues started to form outside liquor shops in states where liquor stores were allowed to reopen. Social and print media became flooded with pictures of long queues outside liquor stores. But in a pandemic situation, caused by a virus with human to human transmission, such crowding unrolled a potentially dangerous threat to the health and safety of the society. Thus, considering the situation, in May the Supreme Court asked states to reconsider their views on alcohol delivery thus paving the way for Liqhub to make a grand start. Liqhub has now spread its operation in Kolkata and few other cities in Odisha. It has plans to soon spread its branches in Delhi, Jharkhand, and Maharashtra. Liqhub’s team has prior knowledge of alcohol delivery, so it would be easier for them to capture the market compared to other competitors who are relatively new in this arena. The team has proper knowledge about the regulation about alcohol delivery in each state and each district and will operate according to the requirement in each area. The start-up will operate partly in partnership with delivery personnel and partly with freelancers. India is in the top five countries in liquor consumption but per capita consumption is still very low. Liqhub founder Solanki sees this as an opportunity luring in front of them.
Liqhub’s founder, Solanki, is optimistic about the company’s future
The start-up expects to gain a revenue of Rs. 7 crore in the financial year 2020 – 2021. By the net financial year, the start-up expects to earn a revenue of Rs. 50 crore. Currently, the start-up is self-funded but expects to raise funds within the current year. Zomato and Swiggy have also commenced their alcohol delivery service in West Bengal and Odisha. This will further validate the idea of an app-based liquor delivery service with exclusive features that will not be available on any other app. Founder Aryan Solanki has high hopes that the industry will grow faster than what analysts have predicted.