278 – How A Market Researcher Turned Boutique Beer Retailer Selling 1,100 Craft Beers with Richard Kelsey of Beer Cartel

278 – How A Market Researcher Turned Boutique Beer Retailer Selling 1,100 Craft Beers with Richard Kelsey of Beer Cartel

How’s this. Two market researchers get the taste for beer. Craft beer. So, what did they do? They escape the cubicle and start a business from a self-storage facility. Soon enough they’ve opened up Beer Cartel, a bottle shop in an industrial estate selling 1,100 types of their favourite beers.

Before Richard Kelsey escaped the corporate cubicle he was working as a market researcher, which actually set him up with the exact skill set he and his business partner (Geoff) needed in order to launch Beer Cartel – an online / offline retail proposition selling 1.100 craft beers.

Listen in as Richard talks about:

  • The importance of walking in your customers’ shoes (how often do we hear this? It’s gotta be true!)
  • How to get the balance right between online and offline sales
  • How to create a compelling customer experience
  • Plus plenty more

Cheers, big ears!!



00:37  Welcome & overview
02:55  A new way to send me your biggest marketing question
04:22  Today’s guest introduction – Richard Kelsey of Beer Cartel
06:00  Interview with Richard Kelsey of Beer Cartel – Part 1
23:48  Insights in to 99Designs & Netregistry
25:39  Interview with Richard Kelsey of Beer Cartel – Part 2
32:07  My top 3 marketing learnings fro my chat with Richard Kelsey of Beer Cartel
34:41  Motivational marketing quote of the week
34:54  Wrap-up and insights in to next week’s guests



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Beer Cartel’s official new website

Leave your marketing question for Timbo HERE







  1. Walk in your customers’ shoes. Don’t just pay lip service to it.
  2. Stop waiting for all the ducks to be lined up. They never will. Richard started in a self-storage shed – he didn’t wait to get a fancy office or warehouse.
  3. Identify your business’s personality and live it throughout all touch points. What are those 4 personality traits that you’d love prospects to use when describing your business? Share them with all marketing contributors.




“It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.”

Harry S Truman




What was your biggest marketing learning or ah-ha moment from this episode?

Leave your comment below.

My guest and I respond to each and every comment.


19 thoughts on “278 – How A Market Researcher Turned Boutique Beer Retailer Selling 1,100 Craft Beers with Richard Kelsey of Beer Cartel”

  1. Shopkeeper Marketing

    Beer Cartel! It is aching for a story. These guys should be telling stories like the bloke over in Texas with the leather bags. They could weave stories about how they came to acquire certain beers…underground. Because they know somebody, who knows somebody…

  2. Timbo you are right to benchmark Vinomofo. I came across them the other day. Just reading their emails (e.g. ‘like scrolling?’) makes me smile.

  3. thefatbadger

    Well…this one took two sittings. I love beer…..let me say it again…I LOVE BEER! but where was the passion? where was the excitement? This business is crying out for someone with passion to come on board and be the face of the business. I completely agree that the guys should not try to be something they aren’t however a product like this needs personality! I’ll give Richie (yup everyone gets a nickname in Australia) the benefit of the doubt and that he may have been nervous…but everyone gets excited when they talk about something they’re passionate about right? ..right?
    I think they’re on the right track with the shipping costs. Nice and simple but I think your customers would be understanding if you were to introduce a few more tiers to the shipping cost…
    here’s an idea..if the two or you aren’t the ‘full of personality’ types…. why not let your customers do the hardwork for you. Simply invite your customers to do a video review (iphone bro its easy..) and put them up on your website. Pick the best one each month or week and give them a free carton! People love seeing people just like themselves reviewing and recommending products..think about it Richie..before you try something new who do you ask …your mates!
    Maybe even let other customers/viewers vote on the best review? this would tell you a lot about your customer base. People will tell their friends they won a carton or check me out on this website etc…
    PS: I’m happy to receive a free sample for review…no pressure..just sayin..
    love ya Timbo..

  4. Anthony Murphy

    The ‘Beer Cartel’…what a ripper and hats off to Richard and Geoff! Reading the comments below there are some constructive points raised but lets not forget there are always plenty of improvements that can be made with any business, its a continuous cycle! Its all part of it! Cheers for another great show Timbo.

    P.S. Pretty sweet idea you had there with leaving questions as iTunes reviews too! Any chance I have your permission to use that idea as well? 😉 http://www.openforbusiness.net.au if you would like to have a quick look at my podcast. (Of which all credit goes to yourself for inspiring me to start a podcast. Thanks again for answering my listener question way back in Episode 162, it started something great!)

  5. Hmmmmm, yeah I reckon you might have gone a bit hard at the poor guy. I’m going to disagree with yourself and Steve and the others, I don’t think he should be comparing himself to Vinomofo, I personally am not that keen on there position, it may suit them perfectly, but I think I prefer Richards angle on it.

    And I do agree with him on having a shop front, as he said if they have to have a warehouse then why not just let customers come in and talk to you about what they want to buy.

    But anyway, thanks again mate for another great show.

  6. Anthony Murphy

    That’s exactly what I thought when I heard it Ben! Ripper idea hahah

  7. Glad to know I inspired your entry in to podcasting, Anthony. Well done for starting. Many don’t. Also, glad you like the idea of using iTunes for getting listener questions. Feel free to use it. Also feel free to give credit where it’s due. Be sure to leave a review and question if you’ve not already ?

  8. Fat Badger, you are the ideas guy. And very big of you to offer to be the sampler. That’s why we love ya. Keep up the philanthropy. The world needs more Fat Badgers.

  9. Good on you, Benny. I do love a contrarian view. They keep things interesting. Imagine a world where we agreed with each other. Wait … I just did. It looks peaceful. No wars. No arguments. Mmmm. Might be on to something. I take back what I said earlier; can’t you just agree with me?

  10. Thanks for the feedback Badge – we definitely do have the passion and the love for the amber nectar – maybe it didn’t come out in full!

    Personality is definitely a tricky one – and it can be hard to be something that you’re not, but it is an area that I’m cognisant about evolving. When you start out in business you don’t necessarily always think about what the ‘personality’ of the business is, or will be – but I agree with you that it is totally important for shifting the business from being perceived as a commodity type to business, to one that gives consumers real value and one that they align with because of everything it represents.

    Thanks for the suggestions too – who doesn’t want to be a beer sampler? World’s perfect job right there!

    Richie – aka Chief Beer Sampler

  11. Thanks for standing up for me Ben!

    Vinomofo are great, but as you say I wouldn’t want to totally emulate their position. We have a lot of older customers who buy beer gifts for their son/husband/son’s in law – while they have a cool brand I’m not sure how many grannies out there would enjoy the whole Vinomofo experience?

    The store front too I think is important for us – craft beer is a very small market (3% of all sales in Australia). When we started out very few people were buying beer online. If we didn’t have the store front when we were starting out we would have been stuffed well and proper.

    We’re not looking at further stores any time soon, but I do like having it as the home of Beer Cartel. A store where craft beer lovers can come in have a chat, try a beer and meet the people behind the business. Every time they do it increases their engagement with us, which is never a bad thing!

  12. Thanks Anthony – with our customers we always think about taking them on a journey into the wonderful world of craft beer. Normally they’ll start out with their pale ales and golden ales, before progressing onto some more crazy stuff – sour beers that will make you pucker, a peanut butter biscuit stout, a beer made with Sriracha sauce – we have them all. Some they will love, some they will hate – but you can’t get to the really crazy stuff until they have evolved in what they like and are prepared to try.

    I think business is the same thing – I would love to get into the Sriracha sauce of brand personality at some stage, but it takes time – we’re still learning and always evolving (both our tastebuds and our marketing!).

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