After eight years in the market, in 2020 the BirraBox project took off. It is a subscription service with which they send you a selection of three beers each month. The objective of this initiative is to discover new beers, outside the usual line, and expand the beer culture. Confinement due to the pandemic has transformed beer drinking habits and leisure time, the startup has doubled the number of partners month by month. In the beginning of March 2020, this club of beer lovers had 300 members. Now the year has closed with more than 2,000 partners.
We have spoken with the founders of Birrabox: Jordi Garcia, Miquel Vila and Álvaro Briso.
EcN: How did the idea for BirraBox come about?
Jordi Garcia (JG): BirraBox appeared on any given day 8 years ago drinking beer and commenting among friends that the pit world was catching on. Beer fans as we are, we started to do some research. We quickly saw that there was no subscription service that repeatedly sent home new beers at an affordable price for our pockets.
It was at that moment, while we remembered some of the beers that we had tested on our friends trips, when we decided mount BirraBox. The idea of creating a club of beer amateurs who received beers from all over the world, and at the same time, could enjoy the best Spanish craft beers at a super cheap price motivated us so much that we decided to move forward with the project.
EcN: Why did you decide to form a club for beer lovers?
Álvaro Briso (AB): As Jordi has already commented: we love beer! There are endless styles and we were always looking for bars where we could enjoy our favorite beers. Unfortunately, the economy sometimes did not allow us and the joke ended up being more expensive because of everything that accompanied the beers. We realized that it would be much cheaper if we could also enjoy the best selection of beers from home, snacking on something cooked by us. Living in a wine country has the handicap that, in general, getting quality beer to drink at home is not always an easy task. And even more difficult if you wanted to discover new beers directly in your living room without leaving a lot of money on it. This “problem” was our seed: to create a club of lovers of this wonderful drink that would allow us to try new things every month in an easy and economical way.
EcN: What challenge have you set yourself with this project? Do you have a medium-long term objective?
Miquel Vila (MV): The truth is that it is difficult to make plans in the changing situation that we have been experiencing in recent months. In any case, planning and not improvising is one of the keys to not fail in a company and of course we have set medium and long-term growth objectives. We would like to continue growing at a constant rate during 2021. Increasing the number of national members would allow us to have the logistical and financial structure necessary to start sending the first BirraBoxes to partners in the rest of Europe. Taking into account that during the last months we have doubled the number of users every month, we have set ourselves an ambitious but realistic goal: internationalization will only be possible if we manage to send 50% more boxes at the end of the year than we are sending actually.
EcN: What marketing strategies have you put in place to make yourself known?
MV: We have focused a lot on promoting and creating content on social networks: Instagram, Facebook, Google ads … We have also collaborated with important websites, sponsorships, etc. The last example is that we have recently closed an exclusive agreement with the famous gift box pack “Life is beautiful”. It will surely help us a lot to make ourselves known to a more general public.
One of the actions that worked best for us during confinement, and that undoubtedly helped us to become more known, were the online tastings. During the time that people could not move from home, thanks to the online tastings we managed to mobilize more than 200 people weekly at the same time. The events consisted of tasting 3 different beers explained by the brewmasters accompanied by live music and raffles.
Another of the actions that helped us last Christmas was the launch of the first beer advent calendar. A very cool pack of 24 beers from various countries would arrive at your house so that you could discover a different one every day. People really liked the initiative, and unfortunately we ran out of stock too quickly. We are sure that next year we will repeat and hope that all households can receive Christmas with their BirraBox advent calendar.
EcN: Who is part of the project?
AB: We are 3 lifelong friends who have managed to make the most of our training and experience to get the best for BirraBox from each one. Miquel is the Social Media manager and is in charge of all communication and design; Jordi, the founding partner and Webmaster, is in charge of the operations part and is responsible for logistics and the entire technical structure. Finally, Álvaro who is in charge of the commercial department as Sales Manager of the company. We have recently signed a fourth member, Gio, to enhance the marketing strategy and empower the department.
EcN: How can you become a BirraBox subscriber? And what are the advantages?
JG: Very easy! To join the club just log in our website and become a member to receive the first box for only € 15.99.
The main advantage when you are a BirraBox subscriber is to enjoy 6 craft or imported beers every month directly at your door. Being a member of our club allows you to taste beers of many styles and places in the world with the comfort of receiving the box without leaving home. And also, without any kind of permanence. If you don’t want to receive the beers for a month, you can cancel the shipment with a single click for free.
AB: Belonging to such a large and specialized community of beer lovers is also one of the advantages of BirraBox. You learn about styles and discover curiosities of the brewing world with our exclusive tasting and pairing cards that accompany each month’s boxes. In addition, it allows you to have exclusive access to beers that have never been sold in Spain and to add them to your orders at unbeatable prices.
EcN: The pandemic has changed consumer habits, have you noticed the change in behavior?
MV: Definitely. The pandemic and confinement have forced those suspicious of online shopping to realize the comforts that this type of purchase offers.
In addition, during home confinement, having no other alternative, people were encouraged to drink beers also at home, guided by the online tastings that we did every week. Although currently the restrictions are not so strict and it is now possible to go out on the streets again, people have realized that discovering new beers and enjoying them quietly at home in “petit committee” is also a good option for leisure and fun. It is no longer necessary to go to a specialized place to drink good beer if you can receive it at home thanks to BirraBox, and on top of that you enjoy it while learning about new styles and flavors.
JG: Luckily for the business, the strong restrictions imposed by the government last spring changed the habits of many people when it comes to beer consumption.
EcN: Has the number of partners increased? And what is the profile?
AB: During the 3 months of confinement in spring, we doubled our members every month. In March we were 300 members. We closed April about 600 and in May we reached almost 1200 members. Currently we have continued to grow at a constant rate, exceeding 2000 members throughout Spain.
BirraBox’s membership profile is predominantly male. Only 10% of them are women and comprise an age range of between 30 and 55 years. They all have in common that they are beer lovers without becoming expert sommeliers. In addition, they want to discover new flavors and meet national and foreign brands.
JG: We would say that they are people who like beer and like to be surprised with new flavors, they are curious. Our partners are interested in entering the world of craft beer without having to go to a store and choose which beer they want to drink. They like to be given things done and to be surprised every month. They like quality beer. They almost have a ritual at the time of opening the fridge, finding a variety of beers that cannot be found in a supermarket and tasting it.
They value the opportunity to learn about flavors and aromas. And learn about curiosities of the beer world through the tasting cards that come with the beers. In most cases they share the moment with friends, family, colleagues … it is a moment of socialization
EcN: Do you have in mind to expand the initiative to other countries?
JG: Taking into account that in recent months we have doubled the number of users every month, we have set ourselves an ambitious but realistic goal: the internationalization of the company. This will only be possible, as we have said before, if we manage to send 50% more boxes at the end of the year than we are currently sending. So… go for it!