It took a global pandemic for the company to take off, but LiqHub is finally operating in some parts of the country: Kolkata, Jharkhand and Odisha, with services in Delhi and other cities and states soon to follow.
The app-based delivery service picks up your tipple of choice from your nearest liquor store and delivers it to your doorstep, meaning you don’t have to risk a possible infection whenever you want a cold one that is not a Coca-Cola.
Indeed, this is the first thing that LiqHub co-founder Aryan Solanki wants everyone to know: "We’re not trying to steal away business from liquor stores, whether they are government or privately owned. So, this will not decrease the taxes or any other revenues. In fact, we hope this will help in some small way in getting the economy back on to the path of recovery. We are simply a facilitator, a delivery service that picks up alcohol from the closest point to your home and drop it off at the comfort and security of your own home."
Curiously enough LiqHub was never meant to start out as an alcohol delivery service, but rather a dispensary of knowledge about wine and spirits. "Several years ago, I was at a party, and we were all drinking and someone just asked in general how whisky was made. No one in the entire party knew, and so in its earliest form LiqHub was supposed to be a suppository of information on all the different kinds of alcoholic beverages around the world," he recalls.
In its present iteration, which Solanki and his cohorts started tinkering with in 2017, that feature is still retained, but now LiqHub can drop off the drink you are now so knowledgeable on, provided it’s available in your city.
Solanki and his partners have been doing the rounds of various state and municipal authorities around the country to get the green light for operations in their respective areas. "It’s undeniable that this pandemic helped our case. Despite the popularity and success of food delivery apps, many authorities were completely against the idea of a similar alcohol-based app. Others, who were more open to the idea, would always say 'thodi der baad dekhte hain (let’s see after some time)'," admits Solanki.
Well, things are finally beginning to move, though admittedly it was the efficiency of an airborne virus rather than that of a chair-bound bureaucrat that finally made it so. That’s not to vilify the babus, of course.
"With every state, district, or zone having different rules and regulations, it can become hard for officials to determine exactly what is allowed and how, never mind the rest of us," explains Solanki, adding, "Taxes collected by liquor sales make up from 20 to 40 per cent of the total revenue collected for various state governments. The ceasing of sales for nearly 55 days financially crippled the government. We have been in talks with authorities at many different levels, since they have different guidelines. Interestingly, no national law prohibits the delivery of alcohol."
With a continued need for social distancing as well as the government’s need for revenue, LiqHub is confident of beginning services in more states in the days to come. That’s something we can all drink to.