This week, we’ve lifted the lid on some new products.
We decided we wanted to do a joint venture; and as we were adamant about how fussy we were about our partner in this, we actually founded the other party, bringing in business partners with the expertise we needed.
So the owners of The Devotea are now proud part-owners of The Tea Beer Company.
It’s been an interesting journey for us. When we got back from the US, we immediately got to work on profiling various successful beer styles; and seeing where our teas might match them.
We came up with about eight ideas, and quickly massaged that down to four. At the last minutes, we did a switch, and one that was in was out, and vice versa.
We’ve had to learn a lot about beer and how it’s made. Not home brew; not mass machine-made beer, but artisan beers, that are made by hand in large cauldrons with a great deal of bubble, bubble, toil and trouble.
And so, last week, we announced the release of four beers in a short article that linked to the full press release.
In fact, it’s not our only diversification announcement to be made this month. But the next one is much smaller.
Let’s consider for a moment that we have launched a range of beer. In Australia.
When people overseas think of Australia, beer is much higher up the list than tea.
But why beer?
Over the years, we’ve had well-meaning suggestions from others as how to expand our tea business. Suggestion like “Put the tea in bags” or “use cheaper teas” seem to be popular.
Both of these suggest that we should reduce quality to gain margin or market share.
We refuse to do so, and regardless of whether that makes us pigheaded or foolish, we will not lower our standards.
When considering the beer option, we looked at the following:
- Beer is brewed
- It can (should) be made from just a few, entirely natural ingredients
To us, there is a great synergy with tea. We have even brewed tea in beer-making vats, just to get a feel for the equipment.
The other consideration is: what do we want?
- Too much tea, and it’s cold alcoholic tea
- Not enough tea, and it’s beer with a novelty label.
In the end, we have come up with an interesting flavour profile. We divided our guinea pigs* into beer lovers, tea lovers and ‘not in either category”.
And broadly speaking:
- The beer lovers said “We love the taste of tea in this beer.”
- The tea lovers said “We love the taste of tea in this beer.”
- The ‘Not In Either Category”‘s said “This is nice beer.”
There are certainly variations. Lord Petersham’s Traditional Bitter is a beer drinker’s beer. Jasmine Green Tea Wheat Beer is supposed to be a ‘hipster’s beer’; but is almost universally loved. Lady Devotea’s Sparkling Parlour Ale is gushed over by the ladies, but also nearly half the men thought it was the best one. And Aussie Chai Ginger Beer was wonderful to those who didn’t really like beer, but too sweet to those who do.
It’s been a wonderful process. Making beer is in some ways like making tea. And we hope to make a splash with this new line.
Apart from one snarky comment on Facebook – inevitably from someone who wants to instruct the world as to the exact way to make tea- the response has been positive. The beers hit the shelves in the next few weeks and we can’t wait to share them with as wide an audience as possible.*human guinea pigs, not actual Cavia Porellus. We’ve not fed beer to actual furry animals, except arguably some directly related to me.