Friday afternoon drinks – it’s the great Australian ritual that brings workers together so they can celebrate the week’s successes and recover from its trials. But there’s always been one catch: some poor fool has had to go on a bottle shop run. Not anymore… enter Friday Beers.
The brainchild of ex-corporates Keegan Sard and Lee Mathers, Friday Beers is a subscription alcohol delivery service that, each and every Friday, delivers a range of icy-cold craft beers (and ciders) straight to the desks of weary workers.
There are no lock-in contracts, no hidden fees, subscribers can stop and start whenever they want and the environmentally-conscious will be pleased to know each six-pack is housed in recyclable holder.
‘A surprise and delight offering’
The biggest selling point, according to co-founder and ‘chief spruiker’ Keegan, is Friday Beers’ dedication to surprising and delighting subscribers.
“Humans are creatures of habit,” he told Dynamic Business. “Every time we go to a bottle shop, we tend to pick the same beer. Lee was guilty of this but at least he demonstrated good taste with Stone and Wood Pacific Ale.
“Another problem is that some people (no names mentioned) think all beer is the same and frankly, that’s not true. That’s why we deliver a different six pack of craft beer to our subscribers each week, from Amber Ales and Pale Ales through to IPAs and Summer Ales.
“Included with each delivery are tasting notes on our Beer of the Week. Some people might call us educators. Does that make us GST exempt? Just kidding!”
“The best part of the business for me is what I like to call Research and Development (or in other words a reason to test regularly) and can I say that Australian craft brewers are not only holding their own, they are killing it. This is crazy when you consider some of these guys are super small side-businesses but the quality of the product is five stars.”
Swimming with the sharks
So, when did Keegan and Lee first realise they had something special they could bottle? Well, the idea for Friday Beers began to ferment in their minds last year when they were working together in a Brisbane office.
“Lee used to make me fetch beers with him on Friday afternoons,” Keegan explained. “For a while, we went back and forth between our office and the bottle shop and we kept asking ourselves, ‘why isn’t someone doing this for us?’ Then one day we said, ‘why don’t we do this?!’”
After a lot of initial planning, Keegan and Lee partnered with a duo of seasoned bar and restaurant operators: Nick Pinn and Matt Browning of Malt Traders, a locally owned and operated purveyor of fine consumables that specialises in craft beverages.
“The team works really well together,” Keegan said. “Lee manages tech and day-to-day operations, while I manage marketing and social. Nick handles regulatory compliance including liquor licensing and Matt has arguably the most important job: selecting our beers. He meets with craft brewers and bottle shops and partners with those that are a good fit for our brand. As a result, we have a great range of craft beers to showcase in each Friday Beers six pack, from both local to international brewers. We’ve been operating for two months now and the response to date has been fantastic.”
In fact, just this week Keegan, Lee, Nick and Matt appeared on Channel Ten’s Shark Tank, where they successfully pitched Friday Beers to one of the ‘sharks’ – entrepreneur and investor Steve Baxter.
‘East coast expansion was always the plan’
Currently, Friday Beers’ delivery network is based on postcodes starting with the Brisbane CBD.
“We deliver from New Farm through the CBD, all the way to Paddington and across to Kangaroo Point and the Gabba,” Keegan said. “We are constantly working on expanding our delivery radius as demand increases in neighbouring suburbs. We’re a pretty chilled bunch so if you are just outside the radius, just send us an email and we can see what we can do.”
Sydneysiders and Melbournites need not get too jealous – Friday Beers is coming their way very, very soon. In fact, it kicks off in Sydney in little over a week.
“East coast expansion was always going to happen and the Sydney (and later the Melbourne) market is exactly our target demographic,” Keegan said.
‘Let’s get the party started’
Can’t every day be Friday?
“A lot of people ask us this question,” Keegan said. “Friday Beers has always been an experience business based around that Australian culture of Friday afternoon drinks. Currently there are no plans to change the model to be a full service alcohol delivery service and with some amazing players in that space we are pretty happy with our niche.
“We want to get the party started. You’ve had a long week and now it’s time to wind down and what better way to wind down then a cold beer delivered to your desk in the afternoon.”
Friday Beers appeared in episode 5, season 2 of Shark Tank. You can watch it here: http://tenplay.com.au/channel-ten/shark-tank