Lion has launched its own e-commerce platform, MoCu, which will be the only external retail channel for single batch craft beers from Little Creatures and Malt Shovel Brewers.
MoCU, which stands for Modern Curations Gallery, will sell extremely limited edition beers such as White Rabbit RED and Little Creatures VHA – Double IPA, which were otherwise available in bottles only at the breweries.
Malt Shovel Brewers’ debut release, Hoppy Hefe, has been packaged for the new channel, which will also offer beers from Lion NZ brewers Emersons and Panhead, as well as Kirin family breweries, Spring Valley and Yo-Ho from Japan.
It also makes state-based beers such as Tasmania’s Wizard Smith’s Ale and Victoria’s Little Creatures Furphy available online to interstate consumers.
But the main focus for MoCu, which uses the metaphor of ‘gallery’ as its inspiration, is curated collections of premium beer and wine, presented in a format that encourages discovery and exploration.
“We have collaborated with outstanding brewers and makers including Wada San from Spring Valley Brewery, Chuck Hahn from Kosciuszko Brewery, Richard Emerson of Emerson’s Brewery and Chris Sheehan of Malt Shovel Brewery,” said MoCU eCommerce director Sandy Park.
“Together we’ve developed a series of collections containing mixed themed beers or wines showcasing limited and seasonal releases from our breweries and vineyards, along with products consumers know and love.”
Drinks producers bypassing retailers to sell direct to consumers is a controversial practice, as evidenced by the 2014 launch of the Moët Hennessy Collection website.
But Lion has learnt from other suppliers’ missteps and has undertaken lengthy consultation about MoCu with its customers, Park told Australian Brews News.
“My understanding of the basis of the Moet Hennessy offering was that it was primarily value-led, in that they offered the same product range at a cheaper price,” he said.
“We feel that we’ve probably learnt a little bit from other brands, and tried to position MoCu as something that wouldn’t have the same sort of impact with our partners.”
Pipeline of new beers
Park acknowledged that the success of MoCu relies on Lion’s ability to keep the range “new and fresh and different”.
As such he said MoCu has worked closely with the craft beer team to map out a pipeline of new products that will be exclusive to the website.
“As brewers, MoCU is a great platform to showcase our harder to find offerings and one-offs that we’ve been working on, making them readily available for everyone to purchase,” said Malt Shovel head brewer Chris Sheehan.
“The Dark Discovery pack is a particular favourite of mine, it includes key examples of dark beers from both sides of the Tasman to help people explore the myriad styles and flavour profiles available.”
Park said the MoCu website’s slick presentation will be matched by exceptional customer service and deluxe packaging for curated collections.
“We believe brewing and wine making are as much an art as they are the result of science, which is why MoCU will host artworks drawing inspiration from some of the products available, in particular referencing how they came to life,” he said.
MoCu will also stage pop-up exhibitions, the first of which will be staged in mid-January 2017.
“Much like a gallery has an exhibition to market that artist, we’re looking to create exhibitions throughout the year, which will be themed, whether that be music or art,” said Park.
“Ultimately if this helps the beer category in terms of people’s appreciation, we can get more people trying new things, it’s just another way to realise growth. That’s probably one of the key goals for Lion.”
MoCU launches today, Friday November 11 at mocu.com.au, with 11 collections currently available for purchase.
MoCU Collections (four, six and 12 bottles) will be priced at between $25 and $45. Consumers can also purchase individual bottles, four packs, six packs and 12 packs of beers from the Lion range.
Delivery is available to New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, and Australian Capital Territory.