If you believed every TV ad campaign that Australian beer companies put out, you would be convinced that women don’t drink beer, let alone know how to brew it.
Two Birds Brewing, founded by Danielle Allen (ex-Woolworths) and head brewer Jayne Lewis (ex-Little Creatures, Matilda Bay Garage and Mountain Goat) has set out to change that perception.
Following the launch of their Golden Ale last week, I sat down with Danielle to find out more about Two Birds Brewing, in another Innovate or Die exclusive.
What is Two Birds Brewing?
Two Birds Brewing is a brand new craft brewing company that I started with my long time friend, Jayne Lewis (Brewer) in June of this year. We have set out to make flavoursome, interesting and approachable beers and share our passion with others.
We officially launched our first brew with much excitement in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth last week, in both bottled and draught options.
Where did the name “Two Birds Brewing” come from?
We spent a few months coming up with names ourselves, and ended up with an enormously long list. It was actually really tough narrowing them down. However, we sent a design brief to a number of agencies and included a short list of our favourite names. We also left it open for the agency to suggest something new.
Red Jelly, in Tasmania is our chosen design partner and they initially presented about five totally new names, and brand territories for us to consider. Two Birds Brewing felt right from the onset. It’s quirky and a bit of fun which is exactly what we wanted.
When people realise its two women who are the “Two Birds”, it’s quite funny to watch their reaction.
What are you doing at Two Birds Brewing that is different and innovative?
Craft beer is a rapidly growing segment of the total beer market, and we are just one of many small players who are introducing new and different flavours for people to enjoy.
Taste profiles are changing and people are looking for new and exciting options to engage their changing palates, and desires not to settle for the average. Our first beer is a Golden Ale; it’s a clean, crisp and refreshing beer, that we hope appeals to a broad range of people.
What type of person drinks Two Birds beers?
One that has good taste of course!
The early adopters will be people that are already seeking out and purchasing new and different brews, and appreciate the craft aspect of brewing. These customers may have heard of us via social media networks (facebook, twitter) and be craft beer advocates.
Jayne has a great reputation in the brewing industry, which I am forever grateful for; as it makes the job of selling so much easier. She learnt the ropes at Little Creatures, Matilda Bay Garage and most recently was head brewer at Mountain Goat in Melbourne.
As our main aim is to create beers that are flavoursome, interesting and approachable, we welcome all drinkers. So far, we have had enormous support from all ages and genders. It’s just a matter of getting it in to people’s hands, whether they are avid craft beer punter or a friend being polite and tasting it.
More often than not, the people that have come along to our launches or tasting showcase generally say, “Wow, this is actually really good”!
What were you doing before Two Birds Brewing and what inspired you to start your own business?
I was working as a Product Development Manager for Woolworth’s ‘Select’ brand, developing longlife food products. I had been in the role for 4.5 years and although I thoroughly enjoyed my job, I always had a disconcerting feeling that I was destined to do something else.
I know it sounds lame, but travelling with Jayne in the US for 2 weeks and discussing our dreams not to have to work for someone else; it all became clear to me that “this beer thing” was the opportunity I had been waiting for (to spread my wings …pardon the pun!).
I’m not one to say that I’m going to do something and not follow through, so we arrived home and went back to our respective lives in Sydney and Melbourne and I set about discussing the great beer plan with Jayne, sober!
What has been the best part of starting Two Birds Brewing?
Jayne and I worked hard to pull our business plan together and make some pretty big decisions about our direction. I couldn’t be more than happier about the way things are panning out, everyday is different and sets a new challenge that I love to crack.
Oh, and did I mention that I now have a fully stocked fridge of my very own beer that I am so proud of Jayne for making so damn tasty!
What has been the hardest part?
Probably wearing the many different hats that a small business owner has to wear and be across.
Obviously Jayne has her skill of brewing to bring to the table and although we make most of decisions together, I’m doing my best to be the accountant, logistics coordinator, marketer, sales person, lawyer etc etc, it goes on.
What is the best piece of business advice you have received?
“Slap a barcode on it”. As said many many times by my boss at Woolworths.
You can sit around talking about a product, tweaking this or that, adjusting ingredient percentages or formulations, and by the time you get around to launching it, the market has moved on. If it doesn’t work, learn from the experience and try again.
He also said that “Opinions are like @ssholes, everybody has one”. I’m still a work in progress on that piece of advice and tend to get really close to anything that I’ve had a hand in developing.
At the end of the day, it most likely won’t please everyone’s tastes, but that’s ok!
What’s next for Two Birds Brewing?
The balancing act of Sell, Sell, Sell and Brew, Brew, Brew.
Getting that crystal ball working in our favour, so we manage a business built on “just in time”. Meaning, we never run out of beer and we never have too much.
Finally, what is one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to start their own business?
Give it a crack. The world needs more entrepreneurs.
What doesn’t kill you, will just make you stronger.