The tech industry is disrupting everything.
Uber has changed personal transportation forever.
AirBnb has taken a $1 billion bite out of the hotel industry.
Robots. Automation. Amazon. Facebook. Alibaba.
The list is endless.
One $252 billion industry has remained largely insulated from the global tech transformation though.
That’s going to change very soon and make investors moving in now much wealthier and one expert says he found a way for regular investors to get in on it all too.
32 Years In The Making: Tech’s Next Big Target
The alcohol industry is one of biggest in the country.
The Beer Institute estimates the total economic impact of beer to be around $252 billion per year.
Add in liquor and wine and you’re up to $350 billion.
It’s also one of the most heavily regulated industries in the country.
Each state has myriad laws, extensive regulations, and licensing requirements covering every facet of the industry from production to wholesaling to the end market sales.
Those played a large role in creating fat and consistent margins, stifling innovation, and ripe for tech-driven disruption.
In the last two years more than $2 billion of venture capital into early stage alcohol-related start-ups.
The impact of all that capital are about to hit the industry in a big way.
Here are three of the biggest subsectors of the beer and alcohol industry which are changing quickly and one specific idea how you can get in on it.
First is delivery.
The restaurant industry is about $210 billion.
The fastest growing segment of the restaurant industry is delivery.
Last year delivered food account for just $10 billion -- or less than 5%.
That’s changing quickly though.
Dozens of well-funded delivery services like Grubhub, UberEATS, Postmates, and EAT24 are making restaurant delivery easier and almost as cheap as going out to the restaurant itself.
They are set for years of growth ahead too.
You have to wonder, why not beer and wine delivery too?
Well, there are more than a handful of startups who asked the same question.
In the last two years more than $50 million in venture capital has been pumped into alcohol-on-demand delivery companies.
In select cities, early upstarts like Saucy, Thirstie, and Drizly are already getting customers the spirits of their choosing and delivering when and where they want it...for a price.
Second is bartending.
If a job is based on following a mental checklist or following a recipe, it can be automated.
Bartending is all recipes and it’s getting automated.
Monsieur is a small start-up that has raised a little $3 million in capital.
That modest sum of capital has already been turned into an operational bartender-replacement prototype (you can see the Monsieur automated bartender in action on youtube).
It’s better than a bartender in a lot of ways too.
It won’t over pour, pocket cash from the register, or call in sick.
It also has an Artificial Intelligence component to learn what you like, make suggestions, and even call you a cab if you had a bit too many.
I’m not saying it’s going to replace bartenders.
But in a lot of places like casinos and nightclubs, the automated machine could easily pay for itself in a few months.
The third part of alcohol industry getting disrupted is probably the biggest.
Craft beers are making a huge dent in the traditional beer market.
If you live in a city, you see craft beer breweries and eateries popping up everywhere.
Small and local brewers grew at a 13% rate last year and are set to do so again this year.
Craft beer is the future of beer and the big beer players aren’t sitting around either.
In fact, the biggest selling “craft beers” aren’t craft beers made in a small local brewery at all.
Check out the tiny lettering on a can of “Third Shift” beer and you’ll see it’s a product of beer giant MillerCoors.
Anheuser-Busch Inbev owns 35% of the Craft Beer Alliance which operates Widmer Brothers Brewing, Redhook Ale Brewery and Kona Brewing Company.
There are plenty of start-up craft beer breweries posting wild growth numbers too (see example below).
In the end, the alcohol industry is to be one of the next great venture capital opportunities.