Wednesday, March 05, 2008

LCBO, GO!

So we did it. We delivered 47 cases of Lug Tread yesterday to LCBOs in Vankleek Hill, Hawkesbury, St. Isidore, Plantagenet and Ottawa. Still more to get to Kingston, but after what seemed like forever, we're now actually for sale and on the shelf at the LCBOs.

And what a reception! I only got to personally deliver to St. Isidore and Plantagenet, but after talking to Dad and Jen, the store managers and staff unanimously are really, really excited about having us there. Talking with one manager and hearing that he'd read the blog was particularly cool and humbling at the same time. [note - I don't want to mention anyone in case they don't want to be named, but if you work at an LCBO and want to give a shout-out, please leave a comment!] Literally, the managers had already cleared a space and people were buying the beer while we were still in the store!

On the business end of all this, it was a lot of work to get these orders ready. We didn't want to call too many stores, not knowing what the reception would be initially and it's a good thing, because right now we fill everything by hand, tag by hand, put on the tamper-proof label by hand, put on the OCB sticker by hand and put it into the box by hand (see the "box tangent" at the end of this blog for additional Murphy's Law). The response from the LCBOs was much better than we anticipated and correspondingly, our first order was much larger than we anticipated (I'm not complaining!)

So Monday night at about midnight we finally finish all the packaging and we're all ready to go, just got to pack up 47 cases into Dad's minivan and...hmmm...are these all going to fit? Turns out, not by a long shot. Each case weighs about 45lbs and the minivan can carry a total weight of 1200 lbs including people. So, being (nice to Jen and Dad who would be travelling in said minivan,) lets say we can put about 1,000lbs in without going too much over the limit. So 45 cases x 45lbs is; lets see...oh crud. 2115 lbs. That's a lot of beer, yo.

Jen's husband Kevin, who is our bottle-filler extrodinaire part-time as well as being a full-time architectural technologist had a couple architect meetings in Ottawa Tuesday morning. So we loaded his vehicle with 15 cases and sent him off to Ottawa. Jen and Dad started the morning out going to Hawkesbury and Vankleek Hill, dropping off another 8 cases between the two (as well as two bottles on the floor, sorry again Sylvain!), leaving 24 more cases to go.

They took 19 with them, leaving 5 for me to drop off in St. Isidore and Plantagenet. Without going too much into detail, a lot more tetris went on making sure there was someone at the brewery, and make all the meetings that also were scheduled for the day, but we got it done, with the last drop off happening just after 5pm. (jen's note: YEAH! we did awesome, yo. I used my first loading dock, and even remembered to get everyone's signature for the deliveries!!! The peeps who work at LCBO are so great, and were all so excited to finally have some Beau's.)

Then back to the brewery to do it all again: i.e., get ready for a series of Ontario Craft Brewer meetings and the Kingston deliveries. As it turns out, the lousy Smarch weather meant I couldn;t leave for Toronto at 3am like I had planned, and while I'm ticked I can't do all the things I had lined up, the extra 2 hours sleep felt real, real, really-really good.


****INSTRUCTIONS: HOW YOU MAKE A BOX OUT OF NO BOX ******
by steve

We were promised boxes by Monday by our supplier, which is why we promised delivery on Tuesday to the LCBO stores. Our box supplier screwed up, and here it is Wednesday and we still don't have our boxes - apparently "ISO" stands for International Screw-up Organization. They couldn't even tell me why it was late when I asked. But there was no way in Hell that we were going to be late delivering our very first shipment.

So, we unpacked 2 pallets of our jugs, which come in boxes that can fit 12 bottles width and length, although they are a little too short for the height.

Then we pulled out the insert and modified it up to sit between the bottles, folded the box-tops inside, placed the bottles and presto-chango, we now had boxes for our 750mL bottles.








6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Guys, Way to go on the L.C.B.O. but why did you chose to make it so costly, it's almost double the price of other OCB'S. I Also thought the the LCBO would bring more convenience but if I have to still travel to Vankleek hill to return my empties then why wouldn't I just pick some beer at the same time.

steve@beaus.ca said...

I'm sorry you find the price high, but if you look at other bottles of the same type quality they usually sell in the $10 -$20 range.

We worked really hard to get the price so low for such a high quality package and we also spend a lot more than many of our competitors by using certified organic malt and making an all malt beer (no extracts or syrops to make it cheaper)

Anonymous said...

when can we get beau's in southwestern ontario?

Anonymous said...

Posted this at the Bar Towel discussion board, thought it was a tad more relevent in response to this post.

"I Also thought the the LCBO would bring more convenience but if I have to still travel to Vankleek hill to return my empties then why wouldn't I just pick some beer at the same time."

I think he was missing the point. I'm assuming the $2 offered back at the brewery is closer to your actual cost of those ceramic bottles, and the .20 at the LCBO is the standard container return rate (or at the beer store). I think this is also kind of brilliant in a way, giving an incentive to go to the brewery not only for the higher deposit, but also to get people there to purchase your product directly and circumvent the LCBO. Perhaps more OCB breweries should look at their packaging as a form of marketing as well.

Steve said...

Southwest and Northwest Ontario? To be honest we're still not sure about how to handle it.

On one hand, I love Toronto and Guelph and London (although I have an ongoing feud with Waterloo - right now we're tied 2-2) and would love to have an excuse to get down that way more often. I'm also a big fan of selling more beer and growing my business.

On the other hand, I really believe that the thing that makes a local brewery coolest is that it is local. The further we go, the less cool it seems.

For now, we've decided that we won't travel further than where we can get back to the same day (i.e. Kingston).

But I can't really say definitively that we will never go past that boundary - if we find a way to do it that makes logistical sense and I can resolve my cool issues with going further, than we'll go...

Hockey Amor said...

Steve,

The Bog Water tastes amazing!

Keep up the great work.

Luc Comeau