Written by David Renwick
Filtering orders by items allows the team to streamline inventory and bulk pack repeat orders.
Shipping automation allows the team to save 6-10 hours per week on packing and logistics alone.
Ability to track orders from checkout through delivery, with full visibility over delays, dates and timings.
Located in the beautiful Blue Mountains town of Katoomba, DJ and Harriet McCready started Mountain Culture in 2019 as the area’s first brewpub. Now, the local Aussie operation brews over a million litres of beer a year and ships it all across the country – all while crafting beer that is sure to “blow your hair back”.
From the start, it was always about the taste. Mountain Culture founders DJ and Harriet McCready wanted to create a really great brewery that produced only top-quality beers.
Getting their start in a dilapidated heritage building that was also at one point a Civic Video store, the couple overhauled the space and created a brewpub where they could both brew and serve up new beers to the local crowd every week.
While Mountain Culture is now a staple of the Aussie craft beer scene, things didn’t go exactly to plan at first.
A double hit of the now-infamous 2019 Australian bushfires and COVID quickly led DJ and Harriet to a tough decision: Either close up shop or pivot the business to a new sales model.
The only problem? While they had a fair amount of experience when it came to running a brewery, selling online – and dealing with shipping – was another story entirely.
In what Harriet now calls the “flying by the seat of their pants” phase of their business, they started the process of brewing with the intention not to serve up beers in a pint glass, but a can.
In the space of a few short weeks, they set up an online store, designed cans for each of their famous brews and started working out how they would get their beer out and into the hands of their eager customers.
So how do you start shipping large volumes of product when you’re just getting started with the idea of shipping at all? That’s where expert partners come in.
Working with Starshipit for the shipping automation side of the business, and using Sendle to handle deliveries, DJ and Harriet were able to finally start fulfilling online orders and getting their beer out the door.
Harriet describes both herself and DJ as just a little “control freaky” about their brand and product – meaning shipping always made them nervous. When it’s out of their hands, it’s scary. That’s what made working with Starshipit and Sendle such a relief; they had partners who cared about the delivery experience equally as much as they did.
Says Harriet: “It’s a relief our providers care as much as our team about our customer’s experience”.
From the shipping automation side, Starshipit is able to:
And from the delivery side, Sendle can:
Now, the winning combination of shipping automation and a capable courier means “beer often arrives on our customer's doorsteps with condensation because it's still cold”, says Harriet.
Things have settled a bit since the tumultuous days of the pandemic and the first shift to shipping online. The brewpub is up and running – and a hotspot for tourists and locals alike – and DJ and Harriet are easily able to ship close to quarter of a million litres of fine Australian craft beer to fans across the country.
What’s more, they’re able to get this beer out knowing that their customers are kept in the loop thanks to timely shipping notifications, and that their shipping providers care just as much about the customer experience as they do.
What’s next for the now-veteran brewers? Mountain Culture is soon to go international, with plans to start shipping to New Zealand in the very near future. But they’ve also got some top tips for those new shipping.
“Get the packaging right. It's important for so many reasons – it’s a huge part of your marketing as well as keeping the product secure. It’s also such an exciting part of the journey for the customer – there’s nothing like opening an exciting box”.
“Make every decision with the customer at the centre. Ask: ‘How would I want to feel when I place an online order? When I open the box? If I need to request customer support?’. Customer centricity is key!”.
“People can have a great experience in our bar with our bar staff, but when they buy online they need something else. That’s why you need to care about shipping”.