City Desk

Booze Delivery Service Launches in D.C. This Week

A new service is hoping there are enough lazy people in D.C. unwilling to leave their couches for booze to sustain its business of delivering liquor to residents in less than an hour.

Ultra, which already operates in the New York City area and Chicago, is launching in D.C. this week, and will deliver any amount of booze to someone for a $5 fee. Customers can log on to Ultra's website,, type in their ZIP code, and scroll the beer, wine, and liquor options.

Ultra is working with area liquor stores; what you see on its website reflect local inventories. The founder of Ultra, Aniket Shah, said he couldn't reveal partner liquor stores, but added that all of them have large selections. Customers pay for the liquor online, and then Ultra distributes the money to the local liquor stores. The delivery people are employees of the liquor stores.

The service seems like prime opportunity for underage drinkers who would prefer to pay for their booze online rather than over the counter. But Shah says the delivery people will check IDs before they hand over the alcohol. If the customer is underage, Shah says it's up to the liquor store to decide whether they want to refund the customer, fine the customer, or simply keep their money.

Ultra will deliver alcohol between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m, which means no late-night delivery. For now, Ultra says it will only deliver to certain areas, including much of Northwest, Capitol Hill, the Southwest waterfront, and H Street NE—and not, say, east of the Anacostia River. Shah says Ultra won't offer service where delivery people would "feel that the area is not safe for them."

Shah says the company is looking to hire a community manager in D.C. this summer.

Photo by Charles Steck.

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