In 2009, two twenty-something gentlemen formed a website (www.beercartel.com.au) and a monthly beer club that now has in excess of 200 members. Their goal: promote the wide range of flavours and styles offered by craft beers. To date, the club has sampled 192 different beers. Two years later, to expand the range of microbrews they sold, they opened a bottle shop that now stocks over 550 craft beers from Australia and overseas. Sales of craft beer are split fairly evenly between the Sydney –based bottle shop and website. Over 10,000 parcels have been sent to customers throughout Australia, providing them with some of the more obscure brands that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
In this chat with Freelancer.com, Richard Kelsey, half of the team behind Beer Cartel, talks about what makes craft beer the preferred beverage at dinner parties and backyard barbeques and how using the Freelancer® platform has enabled them to use their funds wisely and concentrate on the core of their business.
How would you define craft beer?
Craft beer, also known as boutique beer, is brewed in limited quantities without the support of a much larger mainstream brewery. It uses the highest quality ingredients to create full-flavoured beer that is purchased more for the quality, aroma and taste rather than for the marketing behind it.
Production for this type of beer is very hands-on and labour intensive. The beer is also considered of a higher quality because of the ingredients and the care that is taken with each brew –which makes it more 'boutique' in style.
Why would beer drinkers prefer craft beers over mainstream brews? What does craft offer that mainstream beers do not?
In simple terms, the taste. Mainstream beers are mass produced, more with the aim of selling significant quantities than creating the highest quality beer. Marketing is a significant driver to why one person purchases one mainstream beer over another. The mainstream beers typically have a very short brew cycle (just a few days) and are made to be consumed in large quantities rather than enjoyed in smaller amounts for their quality and flavour.
Craft beer, in contrast, has a very wide flavour profile—it can be matched with any type of food, and actually matches with food better than wine. There is a beer to suit every occasion and ones that will really open your eyes to the range of flavours available.
How would you describe your experience on Freelancer.com?
Cost-effective, smart, a leg-up. Freelancer.com is a highly cost-effective solution for any process that can be undertaken by an external party. It saves you time and gives you a leg up against competition.
Freelancer® allowed us to complete tasks such as SEO, advertisement design, and Excel macros for stock management, among others at a much cheaper and faster rate than if we were to have bought these services within the direct Australian market. As a result it gave us funds and time to dedicate to other areas of our business.
Since using Freelancer.com, how much have you grown as a business?
We have been using the platform for two years. Each year, we have had about 50% growth which we’ve been very happy about. We attribute 20% of this growth, which was achieved via SEO, advertising, product description creation, image sourcing and editing, and stock management, to Freelancer ®.
To date, how much have you spent on services using the platform? If these services were done locally, how much would it have cost?
Our estimate is that we have spent AUD 5,000 on Freelancer.com over the past two years. Were this work conducted locally, we estimate it would have cost AUD 50,000.
Were there challenges while using the site? How did Freelancer.com work with you to address them?
The main challenge was becoming familiar with how the website and the creation of projects worked. This, however, was relatively simple thanks to existing projects on the site that were used as a template and the ability to talk to Freelancer® staff online, which meant queries could be responded to as they happened.
There was also the issue of confidence—that the selected freelancers were capable and could deliver. Thankfully, we were able to use the freelancers’ profile and the feedback that past customers had left to give us confidence in their ability.
What’s next for Beer Cartel? Any plans on brewing your own brand soon?
At the moment it is continuing to increase the range of beers we sell in-store and online. We see this increasing by another 100-500 beers over the next 3-6 months, and then continuing to grow further beyond this. As far as brewing, we leave this to those who are experts in the area although we are looking at working with a local brewery to have a collaboratively brewed beer hopefully sometime in the next six months.