A new marketplace is coming for Australia’s indie breweries and their retailers.
Indie Beer Hub is a B2B e-commerce platform designed to grow and promote the independent craft beer market by making it easier for licensed venues and retailers to buy beer from independent Australian breweries.
After 18 months of work, the startup is now seeking expressions of interest from potential breweries in and around Melbourne, so that it can begin final testing in January next year.
Strategic Advisor Steve Jeffares, also of Stomping Ground, said that the aim of IBH is to better connect retailers who want to showcase and stock independent beer on tap and in their fridges to independent brewers through an online marketplace.
“We wanted it to be an online marketplace where there was no confusion for the venue as to what is and isn’t independent,” Jeffares said.
“The idea is to stimulate and grow the sector while also alleviating venue concerns so that they are more likely to buy from independent producers.”
Managing Director Anthony Bennett said that the platform is a place for on and off-premise retailers to purchase beer that’s guaranteed independent.
While the startup isn’t formally associated with the Independent Brewers Association, Bennett says that the two organisations share the same values.
Breweries listed on IBH do not have to be members of the IBA but must meet the IBA’s definition of an independent brewery.
“We want to represent all the independent breweries working together.”
IBH operates as a sales platform or online marketplace, whereby breweries take out a listing on the site and upload their brewery and product information through an online portal. The breweries are then displayed to retailers with buyer accounts that are all vetted for legitimacy.
Bennett said that the website won’t be monetised through advertising. Instead, IBH will charge a small fee incurred by breweries when they receive payment from a buyer.
While each brewery will be represented equally, Bennett said that the site will promote events or products that involve raising funds for charity.
Breweries and their products will be filtered, whereby buyers can narrow down their beer search by location, proximity, availability and style.
“We really want to push drink fresh, drink local,” Bennett said.
IBH seeks to better connect venues and bottleshops to their local independent breweries.
“As the data builds up, we can potentially build a better credit position for the venues out there.
“We see the IBH potentially getting to a place where we can offer protection, we can warn the beer industry about venues that don’t pay.”
Bennett said that the platform will act as an “extra” sales channel to existing distributors and sales representatives.
“What we know – and we’ve met with people on sales teams – is they could be out on the footpath meeting with people but they’re spending a day or a day and a half a week, doing the paperwork.
“We see that as potentially helping them.”
Because there are so many breweries of different sizes and types, Bennett explained, there is a maturity model.
“Where some breweries have no sales rep at all, so all of a sudden they can get a free online sales rep and be represented equally alongside some of the biggest independent brands, there are also breweries with teams of five sales reps in one city alone and so that’s probably more of a conversation about how they want to use IBH.”
Head of Brand and Marketing at IBH Beth Henderson, said that she sees IBH as a way to alleviate strain from the sales teams and sales reps and give them more capacity to go out and sell.
“The platform will not only connect the indie beer industry but also help it to grow,” Henderson said.
If you’re an independent Australian brewery and believe IBH could be something for you, sign up to the mailing list.