Rockville’s True Respite Brewing Co. has launched an online platform to help brewers sell their products to customers during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The revolutionary service – called Biermi – provides businesses with a direct-to-consumer solution for those looking to send beverages straight to a customer’s front door. It also allows beer lovers to browse through several local brewery catalogs and place orders quickly and easily from home.
While non-essential businesses are currently closed to the public under Governor Hogan’s executive order, restaurants and bars – including breweries, wineries, and distilleries – are able to sell products through pick-up and delivery methods.
Brendan O'Leary, co-founder of True Respite, says the brewery had discussed delivering to consumers in the past, but they never thought it was a possibility—until now.
“We were watching what was happening with the pandemic in Italy, and it was like seeing into the future for the U.S.,” said O’Leary. “We realized we had a decision to make. The only way [for our business] to survive this was to go straight to consumer, so we made the jump.”
The Biermi platform provides ways for breweries to manage consumer transactions, by helping collect online orders and facilitate the process. For fulfillment, brewers can create delivery routes and add in orders, and the platform tells them exactly what to load in the truck. For customers, Biermi determines what breweries deliver to a user’s address, as well as which brewers allow online-ordering for pick up.
In just over three weeks, Biermi has helped facilitate $220,000 in beer sales. And as the platform acquires more sellers, the founders expect that number to grow exponentially.
Brian O’Connor, the brains behind developing the Biermi platform in only three days, shared that the launch came at the perfect time, but also overwhelmed the team.
“We built the platform over a three-day weekend and announced it 45 minutes after the Governor’s executive order announced restaurants were closing. There was a lot of fear and panic,” said O’Connor. “For the next 48 hours, we were absolutely buried in requests to onboard people, taking support calls and emails from people looking to get signed up.”
So far, 100+ breweries have registered with the platform. Nearly six dozen have officially gone live and can be found here, including 19 Maryland breweries and numerous others across the country.
“We essentially opened an online flea market for beer sales,” said O’Leary. “Come set up your tent, this is the marketplace.”
While the service is still new, the platform’s growth could result in more business for the Biermi creators, as well as a wider audience for Maryland brewers. The team tells us they may eventually design additional components for the webpage, including an entire brewery management platform, tank and production planning assets, online sales and daily management, and more to help develop brewery operations throughout the industry.
Learn more about the free platform on biermi.com.