Friday, March 10, 2006

Brewtopia, the open source beer company

The company website...

The Bulletin Article

Drinking the profits

An Australian brewer plans to chug-a-lug its way to riches via the stock exchange. Simon Sharwood reports.

Not even the most radical economist would suggest drinking beer as a route to wealth. But that's the deadly serious plan of Sydney's Brewtopia, an upstart brewer that plans to list on the Newcastle Stock Exchange this year.

"We started as a marketing experiment to see if you could bring a new product to market without spending money on advertising," says CEO Liam Mulhall. That experiment saw the company give customers the right to a share in the company when they joined its email list, plus another each time four friends sign up.

There's also an option up for grabs each time customers buy a case of Blowfly beer.

Blowfly was created by people on the email list, who were polled to design the beer, a loyalty-enhancing practice the company wants to reward. "The whole point of the business model was to be a beer company by the people for the people," Mulhall says.

"The public built our business. They designed the product. We always said we would float the business and make the rights worth something. This is the closing of the loop."

The company surveyed some of its customers - by email of course - and 97% of responses approved the idea of a sharemarket listing to turn their options into real equities which, hopefully, will appreciate in value the more beer is drunk.

Mulhall and his team are creating the formal business structures required to float, with the knowledge that those polled indicated they were willing to invest $1.5m. The money will go towards a push into retail, then new beers. "Unless you drop your stuff in a shop people don't believe you are a real company," Mulhall says. "We've made a great start. It's time for the next step."


Post a Comment

<< Home