Who killed the Bucketty’s Beer Club?
Recently we quietly shut down up our beer club after only a few month in existence…If you’d been following us in the lead up, it was hard to miss.
“FREE BEER FOR A YEAR!” We shouted from the rooftops as the club launched, complete with professional videos of beautiful people drinking our tins in idyllic settings.
All up, the investment was in the vicinity of $20k, and for a family business like us that’s no shit.
So what went wrong?
Let’s wind back to the start…
See, beer clubs are prolific, search online and you’ll find a plethora of options from individual breweries to craft beer specialists like The Beer Cartel. So, there’s gotta be demand in the market for thirsty craft beer lovers who want fresh unique Bucketty’s tins delivered to their door, right?
“Of course there is, let’s do it!”
So late last year we sat down as a team and came up with a proposition so exciting and value packed even your sober grandmother would be tempted to sign up.
Here’s was proposition:
1. 8 fresh tins delivered to your door, with a mix of beer club only tins, and core favourites.
2. A free pint EVERY Wednesday.
3. A free pint EVERY time we release a new beer (about 40 per year).
4. A free glass and hat when signing up.
5. An exclusive, member only beer club night once per month with the Bucketty’s brew team where we’d geek out on everything brewing and beer related.
Also! Prior to launch we tempted people with the potential to win an entire year of free beer if they bought beers, or signed up before the launch date.
But wait, there’s more!
On our launch night, we invited everyone who’d entered the free beer competition (about 300) to come down and enjoy some free food and beers while hanging out with the brew team.
And all for only $68 per month.
If you’re a Bucketty’s fan, which I assume you are since you’re reading our blog, you’d be crazy not to sign up!
And the response from most of our customers was…
“Oh sounds great! Yeah… Ah, let me think about it… “
But what’s there to think about my friend?
We’ve got lines down the street of parched, beer loving legends?
You guys love us!?
After the launch party we managed to hit our bare minimum subscription number to warrant continuing with the club. And now we’re 3 months in, it feels like a test match from the 1970’s with a run rate of 2.1 runs per over.
It’s no secret our team is on a mission to create the best craft beers in Australia, it’s even printed on the wall of our brewhouse. And people seem to like the beers, rating them the best in all of Brookvale on industry rating site Untapped, but maybe the market is saturated? Or maybe we’re loved more for the venue and music than for our craft of beer making?
After all the thought, money, time and effort put into launching the beer club how could this not be a raging success?
And what about the legends that signed up, for which we made a promise to give them the best beer club in Australia! We owe it to them to keep pushing forward. Surely!?
But as members of the club began to dwindle the writing was on the wall. We had to kill it.
After we shared the news with the remaining members the feedback was gracious, and everyone seemed to enjoy being a part of it. But the takeaways were:
1. It’s was too expensive. If people aren’t coming for their free Wednesday pint, they’re spending $68 on 8 beers, which is “the most expensive beer club in Australia” as described by one member.
2. Free pints on a Wednesday weren’t appealing, cause most people couldn’t come down to access them. In hindsight we should have made it a weekly free pint on any day of the week. (We were trying to pad out the week since the weekends were so busy, thinking of ourselves rather than the members)
3. The beers were the same as we have on tap. Many of the club members frequented the brewery anyway, so they’d drink our beer direct from the source before it arrived in tins. Fair point I guess, and something that’s almost insurmountable unless there’s thousands of members able to absorb an entire batch of beer.
4. It was expensive to run. Even at $68 we were losing money on every membership while it was small. We’d have to set up the canning machine and run a small batch of 50 cans, then hand write and label each one, create tasting notes and try our best to make it look professional. The beer wasn’t expensive, but the labour involved was substantial to get those 8 beers into the box.
So that’s it.
The Bucketty’s Beer club is no more.
We’re still keen to create some kinda community or club for those of you out there who are keen to support us and get move heavily invested in what we’re doing. So we’re thinking of an annual membership that’s more closely tied to the beer drinking experience in the venue. Perhaps with a special mug for members plus a few perks.
I’m keen to hear what you think?
Let me wrap up the post with a quote about failure from a once legendary Australian golfer.
“Sometimes things work out on the golf course and sometimes they don’t. Life will go on. You try to understand what happens, but maybe today I don’t want to know. I just screwed up so maybe I should just put it behind me…. and accept hundreds of millions dollars soaked in blood and oil from Saudi Arabia to set up a rebel golf league.”
(The last bit was mine, for kicks)