As much as online shopping has steadily become the norm in recent years, 2020 is likely to be the year that will be looked back upon as the tidal wave that saw retail crash onto our couches. When COVID hit Australia, businesses that barely had a website paused, pivoted, and came out the other side suddenly adept at getting what they produced direct into the hands of customers.
Some wondered if such a trend would remain beyond the worst of the pandemic, and although not all COVID-born ideas have lasted, this particular means of connecting businesses with consumers certainly has – not least in the world of alcohol retail.
Although it’s unlikely he could have predicted a global pandemic was on its way, Royce Keirl's work prior to 2020 seems to have left him well positioned to launch Melbourne-based Indie Boozy Delivery.
He’d kicked off his career in craft beer at Belgian Beer Café: one of the first places in Melbourne to offer a diverse tap list before the Victorian capital became the craft beer and brewery hub it’s known as today. On starting at the bar, Royce wasn’t actually that big a fan of beer, but the experience of enjoying blue cheese paired with Chimay Blue saw him hooked in an instant.
He’s since gone on to work at some of the city’s trailblazing craft beer venues, including Biero Bar and Beer DeLuxe at Federation Square, where his love of Belgian beers was transformed into one for IPAs – well, IPAs and just about every other beer style under the sun. Before launching Indie Boozy Delivery, Royce also spent time at a number of Melbourne restaurants as well as delivering food and booze across the city for a catering company.
The avid readers among you have probably worked out where this is all heading, what with 2020 seeing Melbourne suffer through two long lockdowns before 2021 delivered more of the snap, short and lengthy variety.
Spurred on by a former boss and eager to start something of his own that would support Melbourne breweries and beer lovers faced with extended lockdowns, Royce brought his concept to life in the second half of 2021.
Specialising in independent producers only, Indie Boozy Delivery is a bottleshop on wheels, delivering a wide selection of drinks across Melbourne that takes orders right up until 2pm for same-day delivery and guaranteed next-day delivery for anything later.
For the most part, beer and spirits are the focus, and the opening lineup featured some of Victoria’s best-loved names in craft beer, with more suppliers added regularly. As with a physical bottleshop, you can choose between mixing and matching single beers from a range of breweries, picking up four- or six-packs, or selecting from themed packs curated by Royce: the likes of Pale By Mail and Indie Boozy’s Top Picks. As a longtime bartender, Royce is the sort of person hellbent on helping others discover their next favourite drop, producer, beer style or gin.
A number of reasons led to the decision to focus solely on independent suppliers. As a small business born during lockdown, Royce wanted to make sure others could rely on Indie Boozy’s support and wouldn’t have to pay the eye-watering fees many food – and, increasingly, booze – delivery services charge.
What’s more, working with independent producers was one of the aspects of his career to date he’d enjoyed the most: forming relationships between bar and distillery, leaning on each other, helping each other grow.
And, as luck would have it, from the Indie Boozy Delivery perspective, it's the indie end of the booze world where much of the creativity and innovation is found. In this case, both in terms of the producers of the beers and spirits and the business bringing them to customers.