Liquor delivery service Beer Cartel has announced the closure of its bricks and mortar store due to a new site with challenging licensing restrictions.
While many retailers are announcing the opening of bricks and mortar stores with omnichannel strategy a key trend this year, this company is closing the doors on its physical store and specialty tasting room. Beer Cartel has spent the last decade making a name for itself as “Australia’s #1 online craft beer store.” The company launched in 2009 as a monthly beer club subscription service, two years later it opened its physical liquor store in Artarmon with a tasting room.
During the COVID lockdowns, the company saw huge sales increases. “Almost overnight, we went from doing 50 orders in a standard day to 200+,” said Richard Kelsey, Director of Beer Cartel. “We had a shutdown of bars during the first wave, and people were nervous about going to physical stores, so they went online to buy things like beer. We filled a need there, and after seeing how easy it was to buy beer online, many people have continued to do so.”
The momentum has continued with the company needing to move warehouse to a larger facility to meet demand. Beer Cartel is also bringing back their separate unit “Brewquets” into the same warehouse, a unit which had to move to a separate warehouse when the demand starting to grow exponentially.
This latest move sees the company closing its physical store due to licensing roadblocks in the new location. “We’ll be looking at options for this going forward and see if there are any opportunities to open a store, including partnering with others in the industry,” said Kelsey. In the meantime, from January 2023, Beer Cartel will be operating exclusively online again.
“Basically COVID kind of accelerated things, and then coming out of COVID, lockdowns and everything, it’s kind of fallen back a bit. But what we’re expecting is over the next few years, that’s going to continue to increase, ” Kelsey told Brews News. “So if you’re going to have a retail store, with the same kind of range, you do need to have something that’s pretty reasonable in size. A store allows you to service one area, whereas online allows you to service all of the country.
So it means that you’ve got a much bigger population base that you can reach out to and I think that is probably the biggest opportunity and probably the biggest attraction of online, is that you can get much bigger growth than then you could from having a single store.”
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