A new joint venture between two of WA's indie booze producers is the latest example of collaboration within Australia's maturing beer market, with Otherside and Funk cider set to launch a new shared sales team model from next month. The move will see Otherside representing and distributing Funk's beverages while both businesses continue to operate independently.
Only a few weeks ago in The Best Of Beer 2022 series, we commented on the general maturation of the Australian beer market, citing brand consolidation under a broad house of those with larger volumes, and businesses looking up at more corporate models.
And, while there is an increasingly acute commercial reality when it comes to beer sales, there remains fellowship, community and collaboration – not least in WA – as Otherside’s national sales manager Chris Webster (pictured above right) explains.
“From my side, it’s been a goal for quite a while to get to get some like-minded people together to share expenses in a market that’s becoming tougher," he says. "The big boys are doing it already, and this opportunity allows both Otherside and Funk to grow independently but together.
“It’s an extension of what we already do. We might take on more customers, but we don’t want to take on competing brands.
“We saw the synergies and talked with Funk about a shared vision, shared KPIs, shared strategies – it just all makes sense for us and our customers.”
Noting that it’s “difficult and expensive to run a sales team”, he says this partnership is “a fresh take on achieving common business goals” beyond the acquisition model, one aimed at growing both brands as well as maximising efficiencies with the existing Otherside team.
Funk’s national sales manager Justin Weibrecht (pictured on left at top of article) notes the partnership comes at a time when the Swan Valley cider maker is developing in its second location.
“Taking the next step from the original cider house to Funk 2.0 is a good opportunity to increase capacity, increase litreage and extend our brand," he says, "with a full-time cider maker, and full-time brewer.
“We’re treating Funk 2.0 as a brand new brand and we’re getting it out there, and making it easy for people to find Funk.”
The move comes three months after Wayward and Batch announced they were coming together to form the Local Drinks Collective, which could yet welcome more indie brewers into the fold. Since the announcement, the former Bucket Boys bottleshop and bar in Marrickville that had previously been acquired by Batch has transitioned to the Local Drinks Collective bottleshop downstairs and, as of this week, the Wayward Speakeasy upstairs.