Recently we came across a novel service, a subscription service for cocktail lovers! Basically this is like what Hello Fresh is to food or Nespresso is to coffee. A fully home delivered box of cocktail products including instructions, bringing the fun right into your house.

The company is called Cocktail Porter, so we thought we’d go straight to source and ask some probing questions. The founder and CEO of Cocktail Porter, Cam Northway kindy answered the following questions for EFTM.

Cam Northway

Where did the idea for Cocktail Porter come from? Plus as founder what was your background?

Over the past few years I have noticed a surge in off-premise sales as a result of an increase in home entertaining occasions and an uptake in food delivery services. Seeing this, I decided to create a modern, on-demand product for those who wanted the hassle free bar experience of ordering a cocktail, with the flexibility and affordability of being able to make great drinks in any location.

Cocktail Porter is Australia’s first premium cocktail subscription service. It officially launched in October 2018 after almost two years in the making. I have been in the hospitality industry for close to two decades and for the past seven years have been running Sweet&Chilli Australia, NZ, and LA (I am the founder) so I have been immersed in the world of drinks, events and hospitality for a very long time now.

Usually you associate cocktails with higher-end bars and expert bartenders. What steps do you provide in your kits to help make it easy for people at home?

Some of the typical barriers to people making or ordering cocktails include:

  • Not knowing what to order
  • Too many ingredients, looks difficult and messy so won’t try at home
  • The perception that cocktails can only be made by bartenders in bars or restaurants
  • Expensive – by the time you go around buying all the ingredients and then have to make it, it seems much easier to buy a bottle of wine or 6 pack of beer!

Cocktail porter is perfect for entertaining – at home, in the office or for special events.

We wanted to create a cocktail concept that saved people from having to run from store to store finding the right bottle of alcohol, the right mixer and appropriate garnishes. We send the recipe, the instructions and the ingredients. You don’t need to have a cocktail making kit at home or in the office to make them. We recommend using a mason jar or Tupperware container to shake up your cocktail. It’s less prep, more play and bang for your buck.

How have you formulated your cocktail range. Was there any major influences or themes you ran with? What experts did you enlist? 

Our products have been designed and curated by some of the world’s best bartenders, including Tim Philips-Johansson, former Bartender of the Year and owner of award winning bars Bulletin Place and Dead Ringer.

Think an espresso martini with grated dark chocolate, a classic gin martini with your choice of different flavoured vermouths, Treacle Old Fashioned, Bloody Mary with a dash of turmeric vinegar and limited edition Spring Cup Spritzer, a delicious summer spritz packaged with Tanqueray London Dry Gin & Ciroc Ultra-Premium Vodka to create two different flavoured cocktails.

The kits are delivered straight to your door. What about availability across Australia. Is it restricted to just some metro areas, if so are there plans for expansion?

Our target market is spread out across Australia and I am proud that we offer Cocktail Porter for delivery throughout all states of Australia

Delivery Details: 

Delivery Times: Within 3 business days Sydney Metro

Delivery Times: Within 5-7 business days Interstate 

All shipping free on orders over $120

Subscription Information: 

All First Subscription Boxes will ship within 3-5 days of purchase

All Subsequent Boxes Will Be Sent Out on the 14thof Each Month 

The boxes come in different sizes. Plus to me seems to be actually a cheaper way of enjoying cocktails?

Yes, absolutely.

There are two main Cocktail Porter products:

DIY cocktail kits, purchased on a monthly subscription or as a one off box, which include everything the customer needs to make premium cocktails in the comfort of their own home. 2 – Our second offering is a range of 100ml bottled, ready to drink cocktails.

The price of the cocktails can work out at as a little as $7.50 per cocktail so as well as being a fun and interactive experience it is also cost effective.

What kind of prices are we looking at. There’s a stack of premium spirits on offer, plus is there a delivery fee?

Our cocktail boxes are $145 each and make anywhere between 13 18 cocktails per box so it is really economical. Our box of the month, available to members, is only $135.

What kind gear do you recommend people should have at home to help with the perfect cocktail experience? 

Our customers can purchase accessories from the site which includes a range of strainers, shakers and bar spoons. But the beauty of cocktail making is that you don’t necessarily have to have the ’right’ equipment in order to make great cocktails. For example if you don’t have a shaker at home you can use a sports drink bottle instead.

Being a subscription service is this just a pay as you go model, or do you need to commit to a fixed plan?

We offer subscription DIY cocktail boxes which are targeted to consumers who enjoy bar quality cocktails but want to be able to enjoy them in the comfort of their own homes. Our one off kits are focused around gifting and special celebrations while our bottled cocktails are popular with other businesses who are looking for a no fuss, ready to pour cocktail experience.

Did you get any inspiration from other food and drink style services? For example the Nespresso model, Hello Fresh etc. Increasingly online ordering of ready made or simplified yet quality lifestyle products is booming. 

I definitely tried out Hello Fresh a few times and saw how convenient it was and how popular it was with consumers. Consumers have been inspired by the cooking entertainment shows on television and entertaining at home can be fun and a great way to impress friends and family.

Online retail is a massive growth driver for companies across the board and so it seemed natural that we should target the space we know well. Although the online purchase of spirits, wine and beer is now commonplace, the online cocktail space is still in its infancy and I am excited to grow the sector with Cocktail Porter.

Your website also offers blog style information, not just about the drinks but also food tips. Especially when it comes to party food. So I guess your aim is to tap into a new type of community who enjoy the finer things in life! 

My other company, Sweet&Chilli, is a drinks and events consultancy, so we understand what it takes to put on a great event and the different elements that go into making it a memorable experience.

While Cocktail Porter is a drinks business, it is also about having a great experience with friends, family or colleagues. By offering our customers more on the site than just a place to shop we feel we’re helping them to create those special moments and perhaps try new things they hadn’t heard of before.

How many staff does it take to pull off this service? 

We currently have 4 full time staff and have a number of speciality staff and suppliers who come in and out of the business as and when needed. In 2019 we are planning to create more in house roles to support our growth.