Dylan Axelrod has not given up on his dream of pitching in the major leagues again, but he is facing reality as he approaches his 30th birthday. “It’s going to end someday,” said the right-hander from Santa Barbara. “The future is out of sight and out of mind for many professional athletes.”
Axelrod and Freddy Vazquez, his best friend and baseball teammate at Santa Barbara High and SBCC, have set their sights on the future by launching The 805 Vine (the805vine.com), an on-demand service that delivers beer, wine, and spirits to your door.
“I’ve always been interested in entrepreneurship,” Axelrod said. “Freddy and I have been kicking this around for a while. It’s a common thing for people to be having a party, the drinks run out, and they make a run to the store. It’s not only inconvenient, but there’s a safety issue. With our service, they go online, and they don’t have to leave home and risk drinking and driving. We think of it as the ‘Uber’ of alcohol.”
The 805 Vine strives to make a delivery within 30 minutes of an order. Safeguards include the method of payment — credit cards only — and the scanning of the customer’s ID at the door. “We have people following us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook,” Axelrod said. The business has received favorable reviews on Yelp. Among the comments: “The old beer run is a thing of the past.”
The products for sale include regional brews (Figueroa Mountain, Firestone, Pure Order, and Telegraph); wines (Santa Barbara Winery and Lafond); and limited-edition liquors.
Axelrod hopes the business takes off like his baseball career; on second thought, perhaps more quickly. He was a 30th-round pick in the 2007 Major League Draft out of UC Irvine after pitching in the College World Series. Four years later, he was called up by the Chicago White Sox. He pitched for them during the 2011, ’12 and ’13 seasons. Last year, Chicago traded him to the Cincinnati Reds organization, and he went 2-1 for the Reds in a late-season call-up. They sent him down to the triple-A Louisville Bats this season. He squared his record at 5-5 last Sunday, pitching the Bats to a 6-1 victory over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
“There’s always someone watching you,” said Axelrod, who relies on finesse rather than overpowering stuff. “You’ve got to give your all day-in and day-out.”
While Axelrod has been taking care of business on the mound, Vazquez, a UCSB graduate in economics and sociology, has been running their new hometown business venture. “It’s exciting,” he said, “but it’s a challenge.”