Although the pandemic has changed how people buy alcohol, fraternity brothers Navarr Grevious and Mikáel Pyles had the idea of an e-commerce liquor platform as recent Clark Atlanta grads over a decade ago.
Recognizing a need among their peers back in undergrad, Grevious and Pyles conceptualized an app that would enable friends to obtain liquor while partying without getting behind the wheel.
“In 2011, Mikáel and I were both building our respective careers and knew the corporate lifestyle wasn’t for us,” Pyles said. “After realizing individually we had the same business, we joined forces to try and make it happen.” Thus, QuikLiq was born.
To say it was a long road to success is an understatement. Although the two started building the app almost immediately after discussing the idea, it took 11 years to widely launch due to navigating the bureaucratic roadblocks involved with liquor distribution, particularly as Black founders.
“There’s a lot of red tape, many hurdles we had to overcome,” Pyles said. “It wasn’t until 2018 when we met Aaron Carter, an industry vet, did we really start to make headway in the space.”
Carter, who’s worked with brands like Jack Daniels, Brown Forman and Anheuser-Busch, helped fill the knowledge gaps anyone outside the spirits industry wouldn’t know, as it’s largely gatekept.
The same year they met Carter was when liquor distribution via delivery apps became legal in Florida, where QuikLiq’s headquarters are located. This was a pivotal moment for the brand.
“A few years ago, we were finally able to partner with liquor stores that didn’t have a web presence and barely even a phone number,” said Pyles. “We wanted to give them a digital offering, so we built strong relationships with those smaller mom and pop liquor stores, allowing them to have an online delivery service platform; then we allow the consumer to select their favorite beer, wine and spirits right from their fingertips within 45 minutes or less.”
Quikliq is available to iOS and Android users in the Miami Beach area, with plan to expand to West Florida and Atlanta, GA this year.
The ambitious founders are aiming to make the app available globally, but they understand the value of trusting the process, something they say their alma mater instilled in them as young students.
“Clark Atlanta University’s motto is ‘I’ll Find a Way or Make One’ and we really embody that.