Australian Hotelier chats to Maurice Bach, one of Malt Shovel’s Beer Ambassadors, about the business’ partnership with on-premise venues.

Tell us a bit about Malt Shovel and your role as a Malt Shovel Beer Ambassador.

Malt Shovel is a little beer crew that’s here for you, literally. We started a touch over a year ago with the aim to make everything about buying and sharing beer as easy as possible. My role as a Malt Shovel Beer Ambassador is to find those customers, listen to their story, explore our mutual love of beer and find ways to work together so our delicious golden liquids can reach more consumers’ lips.

Craft beer has come a long way in the on-premise landscape. To what extent do you think this influenced Lion’s decision to launch Malt Shovel?

Craft beer has absolutely come a long way in the on-premise landscape and it’s great to see consumers and customers more engaged. Consumers are expecting more than just an interesting beer range, they expect knowledgeable staff and a great beer experience. On the other side, venues are positively influencing consumers to get more involved when it comes to beer – something we see and like to build on. At Malt Shovel, we recognise there are a number of venues and outlets that currently don’t have access to the knowledge, beer systems, or beer range that could unlock the right growth for them. It’s our aim to help them do that.

What is it that defines Malt Shovel and makes it unique?

We’re a fast-paced, friendly and passionate little crew that offer great beers and a flexible tailored approach. In terms of speed, if a customer is licensed and all their ducks are in a row we can open a new trading account super quick and get beer to them the next day. We have a few other things up our sleeve from guidance on beer systems which we can even help provide, through to beer knowledge and staff education. On that note we have fully certified cicerones in our ranks – think sommeliers for beer – which obviously comes in handy.

What does your role as Beer Ambassador entail?

Most of my day to day involves getting to hang out with great people. On paper that means finding new business, but really involves talking about beer, selling beer, and tasting a few every now and then along the way. It’s all about helping customers – business owners – discover the benefit of beer to their business and how it can add to a consumer’s experience in venue. Spreading the good word of beer sometimes means converting those that feel beer comes second (think cocktail bars, wine bars) into realising the value that delicious, fresh, awesome beer can add alongside other parts of their business.

Can you give an example of Malt Shovel’s approach to customer service?

Thinking outside the box, we had a catering customer along the Surf Coast of Victoria who had a wedding on a Friday night. Their delivery went missing and they were desperate for a couple of kegs. We were stuck in Melbourne so had to think of something pretty different to get them the goods. So, we rang a few of our other Malt Shovel customers down there, who were willing to share their precious goods and presto the beer was delivered in time for the ‘I-do’s’. Phew!

What do you think the future holds for craft beer and how will this shape the future of Malt Shovel?

Craft beer will continue to push the boundaries and can only get bigger. When it comes to the future of Malt Shovel, I don’t think craft beer alone will necessarily shape us. Not only does our beer range stretch well and truly beyond craft, the biggest thing that will drive the direction of Malt Shovel is the customers we look after and how they want to be serviced. Continuing to evolve and improve the way we look after and interact with our customers is at the heart of our business – the beers and ciders we brew and offer in our range are just part of that overall picture. The future is an exciting place, not just for us, but more for our customers I think!

Vanessa Cavasinni

Vanessa Cavasinni is the managing editor of Australian Hotelier and Club Management, trade publications for the pub and club sectors respectively. Vanessa has been at the helm of Australian Hotelier since...

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