For the uninitiated, Coles & Woolies (or their subsidiaries) own most of the bottle shops around the country. Think Dan Murphy’s, Liquor Land, First Choice, Vintage Cellars, BWS to name a few. They’re all owned by the same conglomerates that sell us a huge chunk of our everyday items.
I’ve heard many a horror story from other business owners on the pressure put on by these big boys due to their size and leverage.
With this in mind, we decided early on that we’d focus on selling directly to punters and maybe to a few local bottle shops.
But when I received an email from a product buyer with an @coles.com.au email address I confess I blushed slightly. To think they’d noticed little-old-us and we were worthy of their fridge space!
Hmm… what to do?
We started Bucketty’s because we want to build something that connects people and gives us and our team an avenue to challenge ourselves and be creative. We want to grow, but only if we’re having fun while doing it.
Hearing Tony, our head brewer’s experience with his previous employer and the pressure he was under to pump out large amounts of packaged beer under tight timelines while working on low margins and lengthy payment terms, didn’t sound like fun. So before we started we decided as a team to focus on our tap room and make the beer drinking experience our focus. Great beer, welcoming environment, good times, classic hits, and all that.
However, it’s one thing to say you’ll never date that charming, handsome billionaire when you’re talking shit with friends. It’s another to receive an actual invitation to the party.
I took the opportunity to our team, and unanimously we decided to stay the course. We'd keep supplying punters directly in the tap room and through a handful of local independent local bottle shops only.
No doubt Mr Dan Murphy knows how to sell a shit load of booze very cheaply, but that’s not really our thing.
It’s been wonderful to have our tins stocked in a few local independent bottle shops. Most are run by husband-and-wife businesses that care about where they live and want to supply a service to the punters, introducing new flavours and brands. If we can make Bucketty’s a point of difference to their shelves over the big boys, then that’s great!
It also means we don’t need to piss around doing huge canning runs (which are a nightmare btw), hiring sales & distribution teams and having a charming handsome billionaire with their foot on our neck.
Here’s to independence!