Beyond the brewery: Stone & Wood

inke packaging — March 5, 2021

Besides its core range of beers, including Green Coast Lager and Australian pale ale Cloud Catcher, Stone & Wood has in the last 12 months garnered attention for its limited-release Counter Culture range – beers that go against the grain.

Founded in 2008 and inspired by the community spirit of Byron Bay, the three mates behind Stone and Wood began with the idea of being the local brewer, the meeting place and a pillar of the community.

“We want to create great experiences for our communities, whether it’s our customers who are out there showcasing our beer in their venues, our drinkers who are keen to connect with us, our team around us or our local communities where we live and work.”

The flagship Byron Bay brewery and tasting room leave nothing to the imagination, with Stone & Wood’s year-round offerings flowing freely on tap next to exclusive pilot batch and special brews.

For those who love the authenticity and individuality of Stone & Wood, the brewer has recently launched Beer Club, a monthly membership bringing members limited release brews and merchandise alongside access to exclusive events and content and the old faithful they know and love.

The team calls Beer Club “an opportunity to bring together the community of drinkers who love to regularly try something different and limited from us.”

Beer Club represents the need for custom packaging in the burgeoning subscription market, in which customer experience is of utmost importance. To provide this, Stone & Wood needed a local packaging supplier they could trust for easy repeat purchases and timely fulfilment.

We’ve loved working with the Stone & Wood team on a range of bespoke craft beer packaging projects, so when they approached us about creating something for the all-new Beer Club, we couldn’t wait to get started.

We chatted to Stone & Wood, GM Steve Blick, about the concept and what they hoped members would enjoy about it. Here’s how it went.


The interview

What is Beer Club for those who don’t know?

There are two key parts to Beer Club.

Firstly, we wanted a way to ensure people looking for our limited release beers are always able to get their hands on them. Rather than being disappointed if they sell out or not finding them near where they live, if they are a member of the Beer Club, they are guaranteed to receive them when they are released, sometimes earlier.

Second, we wanted to have the opportunity to connect directly with this community of drinkers. Whether that's the monthly Beer Club newsletter, where we send exclusive stories and interviews with our head brewer or others in the beer world, invitations to events or other ways to build and be part of this community.

What can customers expect when they sign up?

Straight off the bat, we'll send you a welcome pack. This is our way of welcoming you to the Beer Club, letting you know what to expect and giving you your own slice of the Beer Club, an exclusive cap and glassware, as well as a couple of our latest limited release beers.

From there, we'll check in with you monthly, letting you know what we've been up to and what's coming up. We'll start introducing some Beer Club specific events, and of course, you'll be the first to receive our limited releases throughout the year.

Why did you opt for branded packaging, and how crucial is customer engagement with the unboxing experience to your brand?

We all love receiving packages in the mail. It can feel like receiving a gift, and it gets you excited and involves a bit of discovery when you open the box.

Branding the box is part of creating that excitement and building the connection between us in the brewery and you at home opening the box.

Were there any specific pain points you were looking to address when you opted for this new packaging concept?

Trying something new, we wanted to create something fun and engaging that will present well to the people that have taken a punt to try it out.

Because you're delivering a box with beer and glassware in it, you also want to make sure it can functionally get to their front door in one piece.

We also wanted to move quickly and not mortgage the house to get it off the ground.

Working with you guys (Inke packaging), we were able to find the balance between these four needs to launch the Beer Club.

How have your customers reacted when receiving their Beer Club boxes - Have there been any other measurable differences you’ve noticed since using custom packaging?

It's been great to hear feedback first-hand from our customers and see that people are stoked enough to share it with others, including on social media.

Overall the feedback has been really positive. There have been lots of excited recipients of Beer Club memberships for their birthday or Christmas. Others are stoked to receive something unique that they can only get directly from us.

Again, there's also a bit of excitement around receiving something like this in the post.

The biggest credit we can give the boxes from a functional perspective is the lack of complaints we've received about broken boxes, smashed glassware or spilt beer.


Joining beer club

Thanks to the flexibility of our product offering, we’ve become an integral part of Stone & Wood’s Beer Club and Counter Culture range as the preferred packaging supplier to help send out feel-good deliveries.

Beer Club is a monthly subscription, costing just $15, with way more value coming back your way for that price tag. Spots are limited, as Stone & Wood’s independent status means they don’t have the capacity for endless members.

Join now at stoneandwood.com.au/beer-club.

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