A Group Of Ex-Bankers Have A Startup That Aims To Solve One Of The Biggest Problems Of The Craft Beer Boom

BeerBud co-founders (L to R) Alex Gale, Andy Williamson and Mark Woollcott

Former financial advisers Andy Williamson, Alex Gale and Mark Woollcott, tired of the stale Australian beer market and thirsty for a solution to their Friday night drinks dilemmas, are “on a mission to help Australians drink better beer.”

The number of Australian adults consuming craft beers in an average four-week period has increased to more than one million for the first time ever, according to recent research by Roy Morgan. But there’s a big problem with these boutique brews: they are often hard to find, with local bottle shops only having limited selections.

The three former bankers and close friends have partnered to create BeerBud – a new one-stop-shop where craft beers are readily available and can be delivered right to your door.

After working for firms such as Macquarie and CMB Capital – where they advised on small to medium-sized digital businesses such as iProperty, Seek and Open Universities Australia – the boys wanted to apply their experiences to one of their primary passions, craft beer.

“It’s extremely difficult to find craft beers in pubs and bottle shops and we realised that distribution channels didn’t really exist online either,” Andy Williamson told Business Insider Australia.

“The benefits of online marketplaces in terms of distribution are endless. There are some real local heroes producing some of the finest Australian beers but their marketing and sales reach is quite limited… that’s where BeerBud comes in.”

Launched in April this year, BeerBud currently offers over 100 craft beers, mixed cases and exclusive limited edition releases from more than 30 of Australia’s best craft breweries. The website offers delivery to anywhere in Australia, though a courier network.

“The majority of well known, quality breweries have signed on and given incredibly favourable feedback, so we’re now starting to bring in smaller up-and-coming enterprises,” co-founder Mark Woollcott says.

The founders say the next step is to educate Australians on the misconceptions surrounding craft beer and shine a spotlight on the variety and choice readily available in the marketplace.

“There’s been a shift in consumer preference from drinking a particular brand of beer to drinking a particular style, not dissimilar to the way in which wine is consumed,” Mark says.

“There’s a beer to suit everybody’s tastes; from easy-drinking summer ales, to dark roasted stouts and flavour-packed IPA’s.”

BeerBud hosts tailored craft beer events and experiences for both consumers and corporate organisations, such as tasting and information sessions, exclusive brewery tours, brewer meet and greets, and the opportunity to create your very own beer.

The team recently curated an event for Sydney’s Vivid Festival at the Museum of Contemporary Art and together with Pop-up Yoga Sydney introduced “Beer & Broga” – a yoga class for men followed by a craft beer tasting session.

“From a corporate perspective, we’ve seen hundreds of customers sign up to our service, taking the hassle out of deciding what to buy for Friday drinks and where to get it… they have mixed cases delivered each month and get exclusive access to new beers and promotions,” Mark says.

Given BeerBud’s success so far, the three former bankers believe this new business is their greatest investment yet, an exciting contribution to the prosperity of Australian culture and craft beer awareness.

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