"Some independent brewers already have websites but a lot of them don’t," says Ed Turner, IT whizz and startup entrepreneur. "I have built a platform with MyBreweryTap that allows them to sell stock through us and also have their own website, all managed through the same content management system."
Turner’s business model is simple: MyBreweryTap acts as a kind of real ale directory with an online shop. Turner does not hold any stock, but passes orders on to the breweries to fulfil. MyBreweryTap takes a 13 per cent cut from every sale.
Turner spent £40,000 launching the business and the site went live at the beginning of October. "We already have 40 breweries signed up," he says. "We have also launched a 52-week beer club, which sends out containers of 13 beers, four times a year. It’s a great way to introduce customers to new ales and 60 people have already registered for the scheme."
To reward new customers and increase sign-ups, Turner has invested in a number of promotional items. From MyBreweryTap beer glasses to bottle opener keys rings – "I bought them from China at 23p each!" – new sign-ups get a host of goodies in their order boxes.
Turnover in the first year is predicted to hit £1m, with 100 breweries on course to sign up by the end of the first quarter.
"It’s a really buoyant industry," says Turner. "These are British, often organic, premium tasting ales. The breweries can’t produce enough of them. Compared to the economic downturn, it’s the one sector that’s really doing well."