|Initial release||December 1, 2015|
|Operating system||iOS, Android, Web|
Hooch is a location-based subscription drinks mobile app that provides users one alcoholic beverage per day redeemable at a number of bars and lounges based off the user’s location.The app is most commonly used as a marketing tool but has branched out to provide data and events services to the restaurant and nightlife industry, making it more of a general social media application. Hooch app allows user authentication through Facebook profiles.
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Hooch co-founder Aleksey Kernes conceived of the idea of Hooch while working as a doorman at Hotel Chantelle.Kernes wanted to reward loyal customers with drink tickets but found current systems burdensome and not scalable. Following an initial prototype of the Hooch app, Kernes recruited Lin Dai as CEO, who departed his post as Chief Marketing Officer at Keek, which had gone public on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Jared Christopherson joined as Chief Revenue Officer and cofounder after leaving social-media marketing firm Yellowhammer. The three bootstrapped the app’s build out from Dai’s apartment at Caledonia in New York. In an interview with Forbes, Dai explained that he decided to cofound Hooch just before his wedding and broke the news to his wife on their honeymoon.
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In 2015, TimeOut New York uncovered Hooch’s app in beta phase and listed it as one of the five best drinking apps in New York City.2016 the company raised a seed round of $1.25 million in funding led by Blue Scorpion Investments in early 2016. In October 2016 the company announced a larger seed round in the amount of $1.5 million that included celebrity investors Russell Simmons, Chris Burch, Shaun White, Leonard Blavatnick, Baron Davis, Emeka Okafor, Tyson Ritter and Maxwell.
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As of 2017, Hotel Chantelle is one of over 500 venues where Hooch customers redeem a drink. Kernes remains its doorman. Actress Rosario Dawson joined Hooch’s list of celebrity investors in fall 2017.
Hooch markets itself as a cost-saving lifestyle app for consumers and a predictive-analytics and revenue tool to its clients, which range from alcohol brands to restaurants.As of 2017 Hooch is available at over 500 bars and lounges in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Dallas, Austin, San Diego, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Hong Kong. The company claims over 140,000 app users.
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In 2016 the New York Post reported that along with the redeemed drink through the Hooch app, the average user purchases $100 to $140 in other drinks and food at the participating restaurant.Adweek reported that Hooch’s data trove from its user base enables the company to identify local drink purchasing trends in real time. Specifically, the report said that Hooch “was able to predict that the Moscow Mule would dominate California before the trend was recognized in popular culture.”
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In 2018 Hooch launched a subscription-only membership service under the "Hooch Black" label that includes discounts on hotel bookings purportedly at prices lower than Expedia and Travelocity.The Hooch Black network includes 100,000 hotels.
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