Website brings together information on spirits from all over the globe
By: Samadrita Guin, Staff Writer
One of the biggest opportunities the city of Toronto provides is the field for startups. Distilus, a Toronto based start-up established in 2009 by Ryerson U. graduates, is a website that promotes of a wide variety of distilled spirits. The site contains the largest selection of distilled spirits in the world, providing over 1300 listings from over 100 countries.
One of the website’s best advantages is the fact that’s synced with the LCBO’S inventory database, which allows customers to view which of the nearest LCBO locations have their choice of distilled spirits in stock. Another amazing feature of the website is the option of having every product page accompanied by information about the price and retail location of the spirit, regardless of the customer’s physical location in the world.
We want to incorporate this idea into a whole food and beverage group
Currencies are adjusted automatically to reflect your location as you browse through the product listings. Whether you are in the United Kingdom, Germany, or Canada, the website provides a listing of the retail locations nearest you.
This team running the start-up is a group of highly motivated Ryerson University Alumni, who are known to have a reputation in the world of entrepreneurship. I had the chance to interview with one of the website’s founders, Marc Molinaro, to discuss the potential and future of Distilus.
Q: What was the inspiration behind this venture?
A: The first reason that we started this was because we couldn’t really find anything online that was anything close to our concept. We really wanted to bring together all these distilled spirits, just to share it with the rest of the world. Usually, when people find a website, or are trying to find a specific product online, they are displayed pretty randomly all over the internet. So we kind of wanted to just bring it all together, into one easy-to-use archive. Moreover, people in Ontario are limited in terms of alcohol throughout the LCBO, but we wanted to share with the world, all the different types of alcohol available to the world, especially to liquor enthusiasts.
Q: What would you say is different about your website that distinguishes it from similar services and allows it to build a bigger clientele?
A: For people in Ontario, we have it linked to the LCBO, so people can find their products in real time, specific to their location, listing all the stores and prices nearby. We also implemented the new pricing application a few weeks ago. So, you can search over 4 million price listing around the world, based on your location. And this website is always evolving, so that’s what distinguishes it, in terms of the pricing application, and its functionality. Moreover, the new Distilus 2.0 will be much more fluid, in terms of suggesting you products depending on the product being viewed.
Your dream can be real, and you’re going to have to work hard at it
Q: Do you have any plans to expanding this website into anything new?
A: We would love to incorporate the website with a food and beverage group, so, if someone approaches us wanting to import a product, or wanting marketing services for a product, we wouldn’t say no to that. We want to incorporate this idea into a whole food and beverage group, so that’s what our plans are. The Distilus archive would just be one section, but we’re looking to make an entire company out of it. We’ll see what it turns into. We really want to make Distilus the number one site in terms of the websites catering to distilled spirits.
Q: What is your favourite part of being a part of an entrepreneurial venture? What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs out there?
A: You’ve got to have the passion to never up. I mean, we all met at Ryerson, so that was a really big part of it. I graduated three years ago, so that my main inspiration was out of university, where I took a lot of entrepreneurship classes. Hearing the stories of what other entrepreneurs have done, about how they built their companies up, was something that was really inspiring. So, after university, me and some other friends decided to stick with this idea, and not give up. So, just don’t give up. Your dream can be real, and you’re going to have to work hard at it, because me and my friends are all at different parts of the world, but we meet at the point where we all want to make it work.
So, for you alcohol enthusiasts out there, Distilus is a great way to start your search, and at the same time, help a start-up out. More information can be found by visiting http://distilus.com/, finding “Distilus” on Facebook, or following @Distilus on Twitter! Start-ups are the major business successes of tomorrow, and Distilus seems like it’s on its way there!
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