Beer Cartel looks to replicate advent calendar success with “brewquets”

Beer Cartel bills itself as Australia’s largest online retailer of craft beers, with over 1100 drops on offer. But it may be best known for its beer advent calendar.

The red-and-green box containing 24 bottles hidden within numbered compartments strikes just the balance between creative and convenient to be a popular gift in the lead-up to the Christmas.

Beer Cartel is not the only company that offers a beer advent calendar – Boozebud and Dan Murphy’s have sold similar options in recent years – but that hasn’t stopped its growth.

After launching the product in 2016, sales grew 400 per cent in 2017 and doubled again in 2018. Advent calendars now make up about one third of its revenue.

So it’s no wonder Beer Cartel has looked to replicate that success with other holidays.

Will Valentine’s Day “brewquets” take off?

After identifying a gap in the market around Valentine’s Day, the beer retailer is promoting two new gift products – a box of a dozen brews and a box of long-stem brews – through Brewquets, an online gifting startup that it acquired in mid-2018.

“We had seen success with beer gifting through Beer Cartel and were looking for a way to start a gifting only business, which we could then replicate globally,” Richard Kelsey, director of Brewquets and founder of Beer Cartel, told IR.

“Instead of starting from a zero base we purchased Brewquets, with the aim of building on this business.”

According to Kelsey, Brewquets’ sales in the 2018 calendar year were relatively low – around $170,000 – but the new leadership team has been working to streamline the business and refine its product offering for broader appeal.

Valentine’s Day is a good opportunity to do so. According to Russell Zimmerman, executive director of the Australian Retailers Association, specialty retailers are expected to receive a considerable boost in sales ahead of the holiday.

While florists, chocolate and jewellery retailers are expected to capture the majority of spending, the growing trend of women buying Valentine’s gifts for men will see more retailers like Brewquets and Beer Cartel share in the spoils.

“While past customs have favoured men gifting presents to women, we have noticed a refreshing change to this tradition recently, with more women sending gifts and writing cards to men,” Zimmerman said.

According to Brewquets’ own survey of consumer behaviour around Valentine’s Day, flowers are the top gift for women, while alcohol is the most purchased gift for men. Consumers spend on average $90 buying gifts for their partner, and $377 million is expected to be spent on Valentine’s gifts overall in Australia.

Brewquets is guaranteeing next-day delivery for orders placed up to 11am on Wednesday, 13 February. But Kelsey says it will still take and ship orders after the delivery cut-off, since the survey data revealed that 13 per cent of consumers celebrate Valentine’s Day on a different day.

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