Mar 17, 2021
In this episode, I interview Joe Cook, the Co-Founder, and general manager of Adelaide-based Riot Wines, the only business in Australia that exclusively sells wine in kegs and cans. Joe started out working for Keg Star, a keg rental business that grew fast in Australia and expanded into New Zealand and the UK. While they were researching the market potential in the US for Keg Star, they came across wine on tap and decided to launch it in Australia because no other wine business was doing it. Keg Star was sold before they could do that so he and his co-founder, Tom O’Donnell (The Winemaker), started Riot Wines in 2016 to implement the idea.
Combining investments from a few friends with their own personal funds, they started by producing 14,000 liters of wine in 2017, and by March 2021 they expect to produce 1 Million liters. Due to the capital-intensive nature of the business, they did two cash raises in year two from high net worth individuals. A year later, they were acquired by Carlton & United Breweries and stayed on to help with the operations.
Joe and Tom were the only full-time employees when they started out and three years in, they had grown that to 10. Joe says the hardest thing in growing a small business is cash and resilience, and that the one thing he would tell himself on day one of starting out in business is, “Keep punching no matter what” Stay tuned and make sure you take notes as Joe shares his great wisdom with us.
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Music from https://filmmusic.io "Cold Funk" by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com). License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/