DOWNERS GROVE – A new mobile phone app developed by two brothers from Downers Grove hopes to put an end to the proverbial beer run.
The app, DrinkFly, works for alcohol similarly to how GrubHub delivers food. Users can browse liquor store menus, click what they want, and in less than 50 minutes, receive their booze at their door.
The brothers, Alex and Will Cullen, launched the business about five weeks ago in Chicago, signing up four liquor stores strategically placed to cover most of the city's neighborhoods.
Alex, now of Chicago, and Will, of Downers Grove, are sons of Ballydoyle Irish Pub owner Phil Cullen. It was at the bar's Aurora location where the idea was launched.
Will manages the Aurora bar, which has an adjacent pizzeria. Oftentimes delivery pizza customers would ask if they could add booze from the bar to the delivery.
"At the time he said 'no, we can't,'" Alex said, "but there should be an app for that."
After doing some research and not seeing any similar apps already in existence, the two brothers decided to develop their own.
Users of the app pay for the delivery and a small charge to DrinkFly for facilitating the sale The combined delivery and DrinkFly charge is $6. The liquor store is not charged for the service, he said.
He said he sees variety of scenario's where the app can come in handy, and it can help reduce drunken driving. That's not to mention Chicago winters.
"If I'm watching the Bears or I'm watching the Blackhawks, and I'm having people over and we run out of alcohol, who's going to do the beer run?" he said. "Nobody wants to do it."
He said he sees a corporate market as well.
"Corporations sometimes will send alcohol, champagne, to celebrate closing a deal or to say thanks for being a customer of ours," he said. He added BYOB restaurants as another potential submarket for the app.
The brothers hope to expand to suburban liquor stores soon, and then raise money for national expansion, Alex said.
They currently have a street team to market the app directly to potential customers in Chicago.
"Everybody is super receptive," he said. "And people were like 'I thought of that a year ago.'
"It seems like it's everyone's idea that we actually executed on."