Konvoy & Moon Dog partnership bolsters growth

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Moon Dog Craft Brewery has been crafting beers since 2010 and has made a name for themselves with their unique and vast beer range. However, without Konvoy’s keg pooling, the growth and scalability they’ve achieved would have been impossible to match due to the sheer expense of investing in steel keg assets.

Starting out eleven years ago, the company was very different to what we see now. Karl van Buuren and his business partner, Josh and Jake Uljans, began home brewing to produce the kind of beers that weren’t available at the time. They wanted to explore the many varieties of beer, experimenting with different styles of hops. The underlying plan was to keep it fun and inclusive, but as their business grew they needed support to bring Moon Dog to a wider audience across Australia.

Building a Relationship

Luckily, Karl had an established relationship with Tom Madams, Business Development Manager at Konvoy. He used to supply the malt for Karl, Josh and Jake who also had a close connection with Nick Becker, co-Founder and Sales Director of Konvoy Australia and Adam Trippe-Smith, Founder and Managing Director of Konvoy. Together, they created a partnership that unlocked the growth needed for Moon Dog, and also supported Konvoy in its push to disrupt the keg industry to remove the friction in transporting kegs from brewery to venue and back again.

Listening to our challenges

Karl explains, “When we were first approached, Konvoy brought a unique business model in that it was listening to a lot of the feedback of the industry; such as, what was happening with the current keg rental markets, limitations, requirements and providing a product that addresses these challenges. It was a lot more progressive with its technology, which took a lot of management of kegs off guys like us and allowed us to invest in marketing, product and resourcing the brewery.

“The model that Konvoy proposed, was one that they had developed in consultation with brewers similar to us, and they were a new company, so we could work together to refine our requirements and work through those restrictions we had previously. Additionally, we knew we could work together to develop a relationship that will help us get the most out of it.”

Due to Konvoy’s experience in the industry and the fact that they worked with and listened to brewers when defining the business model, they were able to address many of the challenges experienced, such as scalability, billing and tracking.

Scalability is key

Karl expands, “With scalability, prior to Konvoy there was a demand for rental kegs and a lot of companies out there were responsive to growth, rather than preemptive. We found ourselves negotiating when we could get the kegs we wanted. We would scale up for peak season but so did everyone else causing a clear shortage. Even though we were one of the big players, we didn’t have the scalability we needed for those times. With Konvoy coming in with a big backing behind them, they told us about the investment, they had the knowledge of the industry to use the curves of the sales throughout the year to target their stock, and that really felt like they had scalability sorted.”

More control over billing

“With billing, in the industry, there are a lot of scenarios where billing is out of your hands. There’s a lot more complexity involved with transportation, shipping, and kegs sitting in the warehouse for two weeks before going out to venues, which previously impacted rental costs. The business model from previous companies weren’t adaptive with our requirements, whereas Konvoy were much more straightforward and put the billing into our hands rather than relying on venues to manually process kegs. We also weren’t penalised for having kegs sitting in warehouses, which essentially gave us the ability to forecast our costs because it wasn’t dependent on those timelines. It was especially helpful during the COVID lockdowns when kegs were not moving, yet we knew where they were and when to return them.”

Why Konvoy’s support is different

A key differentiator of Konvoy is Katch, its technology arm, which creates smart IoT beacons that pings back information and data, so that kegs can be tracked in terms of location and its condition to ensure the product is at its optimum.

Karl adds, “The best part of it is that we don’t have to deal with it. Konvoy deals with it all. In the past, we had to keep track of our kegs, such as how long it’s sitting in our warehouse, where they were being scanned. Now, we send them off and Konvoy has this great nationwide network that tracks these kegs and takes the responsibility as fleet manager so that we can focus on making, selling to our customers rather than being a quasi transportation. We managed our own fleet very early on and it was an absolute nightmare. There are breweries out there that aren’t too much smaller that have their own fleet and we can’t imagine how they do it with their own dedicated team. With Konvoy we can focus on what we’re good at, maintaining relationships with our customers, our customers knowing these kegs will be there when they need them, selling and making – we can really rely on them.”

Trust is essential

“Ultimately, our relationship with Konvoy is about trust. The app allows us to order what we need and we can trust that our requirements are going to be met but if not, we’re going to be supported to get a quick solution.”

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