Sydney retailer Bucket Boys Craft Beer Co is building its own distribution portfolio, the next step in its bid to create a truly multi-faceted beer business.
Bucket Boys Distribution now represents brands including Morrison Brewery and Bruny Island Beer from Tasmania, Victoria’s Blizzard Brewery and Valhalla Brewing, as well as Pact Brewing of Canberra.
“It was always part of the plan, from the beginning,” Bucket Boys co-founder Johnathan Hepner told Australian Brews News.
“Distribution makes sense, because there’s so much competition in bottleshops and there’s so little margin. It allows us to get beers here that no-one else has, it also allows us to add another revenue stream.
“And from a beer standpoint it’s really fun to bring in new beers and be involved directly with the brewers,” he said.
Hepner said other Sydney bottleshops were initially standoffish when presented with a suite of products being wholesaled by a retail competitor.
“The simple fact is that we’re treating the distribution like a separate side of our business. The Bruny Island beers in our store sell for the same price that [retailers] Beer Cartel would sell them for, or Oak Barrel would sell them for,” he said.
“We’re not undercutting anybody, so in that respect the competition stays the same. I feel like we’re adding value to the market by bringing new brands in.
“I feel like it should be a community, the same way the breweries are a community. They support each other and go to each others’ events. The bottleshops should be the same way.
“There’s not enough room for us to be infighting. We should all be fighting the big guys. One of the ways to do that is to keep bringing in stuff the big guys can’t get,” Hepner said.
Soon to be added to Bucket Boys’ portfolio are Tasmania’s Little Rivers Brewing Company, Last Rites Brewing Company, Ocho Beer, Fox Friday Craft Brewery and Hobart Brewing Company, with some international brands also on the cards.
“The idea was always to import beer, it’s just going to take a bit more time than we thought, because it’s going to cost a bit more money. We want to make sure we do it right,” Hepner said.
Bucket Boys beers
Meanwhile, Bucket Boys is continuing contract production of its own range of beers on a small pilot system at Willie The Boatman in Sydney.
Bucket Boys Rice Lager and New England IPA will both be packaged by East Coast Canning next month.
“We’ve also got a collaboration with Illawarra Brewing Company being packaged today, it’s a kettle soured XPA,” Hepner said.
“Any collaboration that we do, has to be able to be packaged, because we’re a bottleshop first and foremost.”
Bucket Boys bar
The retailer has also applied for council approval to open a beer-focused small bar above its Marrickville shopfront, which Hepner hopes will be up and running within the next six months.
“Our goal really is to become like [Danish brewer] Mikkeller. We want to have bars, bottleshops, we want to do a lot of collaboration beers,” Hepner said.
Bucket Boys Craft Beer Co is located at 300 Illawarra Rd, Marrickville.