Paneco aims to disrupt alcohol delivery in Asia, starting with Singapore


Global online alcohol retailer Paneco.com establishes Singapore presence as a gateway to the emerging markets in Asia.

One of the fastest growing online liquor retailers in the world, Paneco.com leapt onto the alcohol distribution scene in 2015 when it was first founded in Israel but quickly expanded to Columbia, Mexico and Panama in South America. That expansion to South America didn’t happen by chance; Paneco is backed by Duty Free Americas, owned by the Florida-based Falic Group, which itself operates some 180 duty-free shops around the world.

More than a year ago, executives from Duty Free Americas approached Jonathan Cohen, CEO of Paneco to bring Paneco.com to Asia, and his research landed him in Singapore as the base for distribution in Asia. That resulted in the service launching here in end 2016, and Paneco sees Singapore as an entry point into Asia – the latter the biggest emerging market for Duty Free Americas – to help fulfil its vision of “being the Amazon.com of alcohol in the world”, says Cohen.

Paneco leverages on a cutting-edge inventory management system that analyses data on demand, price points, search, movement of products, and trends, allowing the company to tailor offers specific to the tastes and preferences of a particular market. For Singapore, it has identified free delivery as key to this market – Paneco offers free next-day delivery, although a customer can pay for same day delivery if they so desire.

Product offerings on Paneco.com in Singapore aren’t too dissimilar from those of existing market players; depending on time and season a consumer can get better prices here for its range of whiskies, gins, wines and other alcoholic products. In fact competition is likely to be stiff – there’s the likes of alcoholdelivery.com.sg which promises to deliver orders direct to a consumer’s doorstep in under an hour, while online grocery services Redmart and Honestbee also operate in the same space.

Paneco also faces a number of challenges rather unique to Singapore as compared to its other markets; the high taxes on alcohol for one, and a very fragmented market that – unlike the three-tier alcohol distribution system in the United States – sees many wholesalers and distributors also retailing on-premise, off-premise and online direct with consumers.

Paneco is likely to see more success in other parts of Asia when they do finally expand in the region.