*Blog originally posted on LinkedIn Pulse, August 1, 2015
Just over a month ago I decided to take an idea I thought could be a game changing innovation in the beverage space, and make it into a living, breathing, reality.
I launched Swig + Swallow’s cocktail batching and delivery service with a single email to friends in the spirits world, one LinkedIn post, and a handful of updates to my personal Facebook and Instagram accounts.
I’ve decided to post a monthly update to LinkedIn, and I am thrilled to report that this first month of being in business has been truly amazing.
For those who may have missed my original post, the actual idea is stupidly simple....
When serving real cocktails at events (not two ingredient vodka soda/highball type drinks) consistency and speed of preparation are always an issue. Experienced bartenders and beverage consultants provide batching services for clients, where they mix all ingredients fully before the event, combining liquor and mixers en masse at the venue.
However, although batching resolves consistency and speed issues, even when batching cocktails there are a million things that can go wrong in the hours leading up the event, typically involving missing ingredients, last minute sourcing issues, limited batching containers, inappropriate facilities for batching liquids, and friction around training often inexperienced catering staff how to batch advanced cocktails at a moment’s notice. Additionally, there is typically a very short window to receive goods and batch at the venue, (often 2-4 hours before an event) adding stress to an already high-pressure situation.
Swig + Swallow’s Batching + Delivery service removes a huge number of these challenges, and already in this first month of ‘official business’ I’ve been amazed at how smoothly every event has gone.
We take care of volume calculation, and tell the client how much alcohol they’ll need to order to the venue (we don’t order alcohol ourselves.) We then order and batch all mixers off the premises and deliver with space left in each container to add alcohol, clearly stating how many bottles to add per batching container. We wash and prepare all garnishes to cocktail bar quality standards, deliver them to the venue, and ensure the goods get into the organizer’s hands. For every one of these events (thus far) the handoff process has been a quick 5-15 minute affair, but we’re happy to spend extra time to ensure the organizer sets eyes on what they’ve ordered.
Feedback & Vision
Already we’ve had a handful of spirits companies use our services saying it’s the easiest batching experience they’ve had, and though it’s a fledgling business, we already have repeat business scheduled for the next few months!! Very exciting, but this is just the beginning.
My long-term vision for this service is to innovate in the following dimensions…. the combination of which will hopefully make us a pleasure to use:)
- Product Quality:
We will provide a higher quality, more consistent product than what is currently available, by streamlining our production and delivery processes (utilizing commercial kitchen space, providing easily-handled disposable batching containers, removing the pain point of loading in and loading out batching equipment, etc)
- Cost Savings:
The consultation/production/delivery structure magnifies the impact of our skilled workforce, enabling us to provide expert consultation for many events in a given night, rather than limiting us to overseeing singular events from start to finish. This will result in cost savings for clients because we can keep labor costs low while increasing sales and paying our employees a living wage.
- Transparent Pricing: **Update: We released $3 cocktail pricing effective August 12th, 2015
We’re not there yet, but we are close to releasing a simple formula (cost per batched cocktail inclusive of cost of goods, labor and delivery) so our clients can estimate costs on their own and work us into their budgets, bypassing the messy back and forth typical when soliciting quotes.
- Customer Service:
Per the above comment on cost savings, this particular structure is just a more efficient process than anything (that we know of) that exists for batching. As such, we will ensure that unlike most delivery services, whomever delivers the product is skilled, knowledgeable, and committed to delivering the product into the hands of the organizer, as well as prepared to troubleshoot should issues arise during delivery.
I’m not, of course, under the illusion that this process will be entirely smooth and without issues, but I do know that there is plenty of opportunity to raise the bar on batched cocktails and we’re just scratching the surface.
I’ll check in with you all again next month, but until then, happy cocktailing!
Owner, Swig + Swallow