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Amazon Launches One-Hour Booze Delivery in Manhattan Through Prime Now

Just in time for the office eggnog.

Shutterstock / Joseph Sohm
Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Starting today, Amazon customers in Manhattan can order delivery of beer, wine and spirits in one hour through the company’s Prime Now mobile app, the company just announced. One-hour delivery costs $7.99, while two-hour delivery does not come with an extra fee. The Prime Now service is only available to Amazon Prime members, who pay $99 a year for unlimited two-day shipping on millions of products as well as a growing list of other perks such as video and music streaming.

The launch marks the second city in the U.S. where alcohol delivery is available through Prime Now; the first was Amazon’s hometown of Seattle. In an interview with Re/code, Prime Now chief Stephenie Landry said Amazon would like to deliver adult beverages in more of the 20 or so American cities where Prime Now is available, but that it has taken time because “we’ve been careful about the regulatory landscape.”

Amazon acquired a liquor license to deliver booze through Prime Now in Seattle, but it does not have one in New York City. Instead, in Manhattan, “delivery service providers, who have all applicable permits, are delivering on behalf of the licensed merchants,” a spokeswoman said in an email. She declined to provide more detail.

Amazon enters a market in Manhattan that already includes liquor stores that offer delivery in their surrounding area and websites and apps like, Drizly, Minibar and Thirstie that aggregate demand from a range of local booze retailers. A spokeswoman said the selection would include “hundreds and hundreds” of different kinds of alcoholic items.

The Prime Now service is expensive for Amazon to operate, but the company believes the on-demand nature of it eliminates one of the few remaining advantages that brick-and-mortar stores have over the online retail giant.

The company also announced that it has added the Italian supermarket Eataly as a Prime Now partner in Manhattan. Additionally, Amazon said that Prime Now couriers in all cities will be making deliveries through the entirety of Christmas Eve.

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