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08:40, 27 November 2012 by Philip Connolly
Today's startup of the day is The Beer Club, an online retailer currently stocking over 400 craft and world beers which are shipped throughout Ireland.
Company: The Beer Club
Founder: Stephen Dillon
What it does: online retailer of imported and craft beers
Biggest lesson learned: “It doesn't happen overnight. Many people in e-commerce think that you can just build a website and the sales will start flooding in. You need to stick at it and really be dedicated on social media and constantly interact with the community you are hoping to sell to.”
The notion that choosing a beer would be as intricate as choosing a wine would surprise many people. Over the past decade, the increase in imported beer and independent domestic breweries has give people more exposure to beers outside of their normal pint.
Yet finding new beers can still be difficult, with supermarket shelves and pubs still dominated by the usual mass produced brands. A new Dublin startup aims to give people access to a wider variety of beers through an online store.
Founded by Stephen Dillon, The Beer Club is an online supplier of world and craft beers. The Dublin-based company, which was established by Dillon last year, current stocks a range of over 400 craft and world beers which are shipped throughout Ireland
Dillon has extensive experience in the drinks trade and also owns three off licences. Originally Dillon had studied wine, but saw an opportunity to diversify online with the growing popularity of craft beer.
"I saw people asking for specific beers and realised that the conversation must be happening all over the country," said Dillon. "The timing was good because craft beer has just become topical. We now stock over 400 beer and, every month sales are steadily growing. People can pick a selection of beers that they like and we will ship it down to them."
The company is hoping to take advantage of the Christmas rush by stocking a range of craft beer gift set an hampers. Dillon also holds regular craft beer tastings, home brewing classes and membership plans where customers receive a sample set of different beers every month.
“It is very easy for people to be set in their ways but there is a bit of excitement when a membership package arrives to see what is in it,” said Dillon. “Some of our biggest customers are girlfriends and wives buying as gifts. We also have people from overseas sending presents.”
The company has a range of options, with plans catering to those who prefer wheat beers to stouts, from all over the world.
“With over 400 beers we can cater to anyone's taste,” said Dillon. “We also have people emailing us saying they like something and looking for something similar. It is very like wine in the 80’s where people used to just drink one type and then got switched on to new exciting styles. In a very short space of time people got quite sophisticated about their wine, the same thing has just happened with beer. These beers have more character and are more interesting, once you get used to drinking them it is hard to go back to a generic style.”
The company does not only stock imported beers, with independent Irish craft beers also being promoted.
“There are over 20 microbreweries in the country now,” said Dillon. “There is a great craft beer scene popping up. The Irish craft beer collection is one of our most popular gifts.”