Friday was D-Day for the alcohol-delivery business in D.C. A severe snowstorm was about to arrive in a few hours, and Sean Rowley had a half-dozen more deliveries to make before he could head home. 

“For this early in the day, it’s ridiculous,” Rowley said of the high demand for booze delivery. “Everyone’s scared that if the power goes out, what are we going to do for entertainment. The answer is drink, generally.”

Rowley is the manager at Hop, Cask & Barrel liquor store in Georgetown, and he was delivering booze Friday morning to people who ordered through a third-party-app, Drizly. Drizly charges a $5 flat rate for a delivery, and officials said before the storm they experienced the largest number of orders since the company launched in D.C. in September 2014.


On top of that, people weren’t risking being sober over the weekend and made some rather expensive orders. Drizly’s average order on a typical day is around $65. On Wednesday and Thursday, it was closer to $100, according to Camp McCurry, Drizly’s mid-Atlantic manager.

Champagne. Whisky. Cheap bear. Craft beer. Rum. Vodka. D.C. storm-preppers were ordering every combination of it all.

“You guys are the greatest thing since sliced bread,” customer Colin Mueller said, as Rowley delivered a bag of booze to Mueller’s Foggy Bottom apartment. Mueller was hunkering down with his fiancee. Alcohol was a big component of his plans — on a weekend when leaving home wasn’t much of an option.


That attitude of “we might as well be drinking” was prevalent as the storm approached.

“My husband and I will be trapped in here for the foreseeable future, so we’ll probably drink as cabin fever set in,” said Erica Schreffler, who ordered champagne, prosecco and a case of Miller Light.

Things were just as busy at the Hop, Cask & Barrel store, itself. A steady flow of people scoured the shelves at the high-end shop, as co-owner Aniket Shah provided them with recommendations when the store was out of a requested item. One woman bought a half-dozen bottles of wine for her and her husband, saying they had no other choice but to drink.

While some might be turning to alcohol to pass the time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says drinking in cold weather poses additional risks because alcohol makes the body lose heat more rapidly. The CDC suggests warm, sweet beverages such as hot chocolate.

That did little to sway the groups of college students who bought enough booze to take them through the weekend with friends.

Every time someone paid, Shah made sure to tell each customer at the store “we’ll be open through the storm if you run out.”