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New ecommerce start-up Beer Hug prioritises fresh brews

  • News
  • October 8, 2019
  • The Register team
New ecommerce start-up Beer Hug prioritises fresh brews

A recently-launched online marketplace named Beer Hug aims to get fresher craft beer to consumers faster. Co-founder Adam Prentice shared some insight with us into why freshness is important.

Prentice and his co-founder Dan Phillips created Beer Hug to sell and deliver beer based on its ‘date of birth’, which they believe is a world first. Users can browse the site based on when products were packaged, and any beers they buy will be shipped direct from breweries. A single shipping charge will apply 
 

New products will be added daily, and advertised on digital billboards around Auckland.

Here’s Prentice’s answers to our questions.

Tell us more about the importance of fresh beer. You seem to feel mainstream retailers aren’t selling their beer fresh enough – how bad is the problem out there?

Craft beer isn't typically pasteurised which means it is still living in the can or bottle. It therefore deteriorate very quickly particularly if it gets warm or is agitated from excessive shipping and handling. The experts globally (aka brewers) reckon the fresh window, in which flavours, aromas and mouth feel are amplified is four to five weeks. 

Unfortunately mainstream retailers aren't geared up to handle craft beer in this manner. They don't typically have cold chain distribution, can have poor stock rotation and some beers can sit in the warehouse or on the shelf for months before being sold. The beer is totally shot at this point in time.

The problem isn't so bad with the big commercial craft brands as they move through the system faster. The real problem is with the smaller (and more interesting) craft beers who are really driving the category with innovative new beers. If you check the best before dates on these beers they are typically three to six months old before they are purchased. This is like buy a loaf of bread (which is essentially solid beer) that is three weeks old... Yuck!

Do you think the majority of consumers can taste the difference?

It's a bit like wine, people know what they like and want they don't in terms of taste. You get some good ones and some bad ones. Chances are the bad ones are simply old (or corked in the case of wine!). 

Once you experience super fresh beer, direct from the source, you will taste a massive difference. The same happens when you drink wine at the winery, it just tastes better because it's been looked after properly. If you tried a fresh craft beer and the same beer that is three to six months old (particularly highly hopped beers such as IPAs, APA, pilsners and also fruity beers) you'll instantly notice that the stale beer has a totally different aroma. All the fresh, floral and fruity aromas have gone. This translates to the taste obviously. 

The problem is that most consumers don't get to compare craft beer in this way, they simply don't buy the stale beer again which is a shame because it probably started out awesome!

 Are you pairing your launch with a consumer education programme? If so, can you tell us more about it?

Definitely, we launched an outdoor campaign in Auckland yesterday introducing the idea that fresh tastes best. This will run for the entire summer. We also have an educational video on our website in which some of New Zealand's best brewers discuss why fresh tastes better (8-wired, Hallertau, Sawmill and Urbanaut). 

We'll also be very active in the social media space promoting our date of birth symbol and new release beers (our brewery partners are also committed to this cause and will continue to champion). Any help you can give us to get the fresh is best message out there would be super amazing!

If an all-powerful market deity was to put the power to overhaul beer retail into your hands, what would you do to make sure all beer sold in New Zealand was as fresh as posible?

Easy… I’d make the breweries put a visible date of birth stamp on their beers so you know exactly what you are getting, rather than hiding it as an obscure and illegible best before date somewhere on the can! I'd also establish guidelines and standards alongside brewers regarding the dates you can actually put on your beers (there are currently no standards so you could feasibly put 1+ years as your best before date).

Finally I'd make sure craft beer was treated like a fresh product that is stored in a chilled and dark space and properly rotated. If all of this could happen, we wouldn't need Beer Hug… but the world would be a hoppier place!

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Gem Retail Hotlist: Barkers innovates the in-store experience

  • Design
  • November 21, 2019
  • Catherine Murray
Gem Retail Hotlist: Barkers innovates the in-store experience

Barkers won the 'Hottest in-store experience' award at the 2019 Gem Retail Hotlist. We've investigated what made them stand out.

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Gem Retail Hotlist: Nothing nutty about Pic's Peanut Butter World

  • Design
  • November 21, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Gem Retail Hotlist: Nothing nutty about Pic's Peanut Butter World

Pic's Peanut Butter World was the winner of the 'Hottest fit-out' award at the Gem Retail Hotlist this year. We found out more about its fabulous fit-out.

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How do Kiwis do their Christmas shopping at Mighty Ape?

  • News
  • November 20, 2019
How do Kiwis do their Christmas shopping at Mighty Ape?

New Zealand e-tailer Mighty Ape surveyed 2,962 Kiwi shoppers post-Christmas last year. Among its findings are that Black Friday is officially bigger than Boxing Day among its audience, with almost four times as many products were sold on Black Friday compared to Boxing Day 2018. Cyber Monday, the online-only sale that falls on the Monday following Black Friday, has also proven to be popular with Kiwis. It now also outsells Boxing Day at Mighty Ape.​ ​It's presented further findings in a clever infographic.

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Introducing New World's 2019 Christmas ad

  • News
  • November 19, 2019
  • StopPress Team
Introducing New World's 2019 Christmas ad

New World and Colenso BBDO have unveiled this year’s Christmas ad, showing the generous Kiwi tradition of inviting every available Tom, Dick and Harry to Christmas lunch, resulting in many mouths to feed.

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Raglan Coconut Yoghurt's Latesha Randall reports back from the US on what's hip and happening

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  • November 19, 2019
  • Latesha Randall
Raglan Coconut Yoghurt's Latesha Randall reports back from the US on what's hip and happening

Latesha Randall is ​the co-founder of Raglan Coconut Yoghurt, a delicious dairy-free yoghurt born out of a beautiful town two hours south of Auckland. She previously documented the adventures of her company when it was a start-up in a column in Idealog – you can read it here. Recently, Randall traveled to the 2019 Natural Products Expo in Baltimore, USA and observed the food trends that were happening abroad. New Zealand foodies, take note: here, she reports back on what she thinks will be big contenders in the future food space.

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Outdoor goods retailers Cactus Outdoor and Kathmandu collaborate

  • News
  • November 19, 2019
  • The Register team
Outdoor goods retailers Cactus Outdoor and Kathmandu collaborate

Two prominent Kiwi outdoor goods retailers, Kathmandu and Cactus Outdoor, have collaborated to produce a line of certified ‘Buy NZ Made’ products which will be launched in Kathmandu stores around New Zealand on Buy NZ Made Day this week.

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