Grumpy’s Ginger Beer is pretty much the most delicious ginger beer you’ll ever taste. At Grumpy’s Lounge, situated in the Cinema Walk Arcade, you’ll find a perfect little hideaway where you can taste the traditionally brewed drop. The product was born out of the love of great experiences shared with family and friends. We interview owners Steve and Viv…
Where are you both from? Where did you meet, and what is your background?
Steve: I’m born in Coffs, and Viv is from Perth. My background is horticulture and floristry, and Viv’s is interior design and visual merchandising. We both spent 15 years in Sydney working on our careers, but didn’t know each other then. We actually met on a bus in Macksville … True story!
How did your father’s love for ginger beer influence your love for the drop?
Viv: I grew up remembering the long, hot Perth summers and time sitting outdoors with family and friends. Dad’s brew was always a hit, and for me it’s always been my drink of choice. I love the health benefit of ginger and find it thirst quenching.
Where did ginger beer originate, and where do you brew?
Steve: The origin of ginger beer stems from England in the 1700s, where ginger was added to drinking water for purification, and this progressed to a fermented beverage sold worldwide. We use fresh, local ginger grown using organic practices to ensure the finest quality ingredients. Initially we brewed in a local microbrewery, hand bottling 150 litre kettles and are now producing batches of 800 litres of each flavour.
How have you progressed the business from stalls at Sawtell Chilli Festival, Curry Festival and Toast Urunga – at what moment did you decide to open Grumpy’s?
Viv: Our first market stall was at Valla Beach, where we took a few cartons to trial our products; we sold out in an hour. People kept coming back wanting more, and from this we knew we had something pretty special. We love doing food events and festivals; they’re a vital part of our business. At events customers ask where they can get our ginger beer from again, because most events are annually; we decided retail outlets were needed and Grumpy’s Lounge, Coffs Harbour, was born.
What type of place have you created? Describe the space, and who was the mastermind behind the design?
Steve: Grumpy’s Lounge is our flagship store, designed to showcase our products. It’s a place where you can come and relax, sample our brews, grab take home packs or escape from the world. Wherever we are we like to create a place people like to gather, wether it’s at home, a market stall or Grumpy’s Lounge.
And the ginger beer is non-alcoholic? What are the flavours?
Viv: All of our full-bodied ginger beers are zero alcohol and are gluten free. Our three authentic flavours are: Original, a premium ginger beer with real ginger taste; Blueberry, a unique combination of local fresh blueberries and a delicious ginger flavour; Double Shot, an aromatic blend of fresh ginger and chilli for that extra ginger taste, my personal favourite.
What goes well with ginger beer?
We’ve tried everything! In Grumpy’s Lounge we blend ginger beer with ice cream, slow drip coffee, rooibos tea, fruit and aromatic spices, for a unique and unforgettable experience.
Your packaging is very unique; who came up with the branding?
Steve: We work really hard on presentation; our packaging needed to be both exciting and sustainable. We hand build our timber crates and stencil every bag and box. When we first made our timber crates, we couldn’t get the size right, so our first batch fitted only 11 bottles – so the 12th got put in upside down. Our customers loved it! It personalised the experience. We offer a discount when our packaging is returned for a refill and love hearing stories of how our bags are being reused as school lunch bags, planters and even handbags.
Where do you hope to grow the business in the next twelve months … three years … five years?
Steve and Viv: We’re so excited with the future of Grumpy’s Ginger Beer. In three years we have won product and marketing awards and boast a huge following throughout Australia. Grumpy’s Lounge, Coffs Harbour, is now established and we’re ready to develop further the retail store concept. We’re currently looking at areas on the Mid North Coast and into the New England for immediate expansion. Our long-term plans are to have Grumpy’s Ginger Beer established nationally through licensed partnerships. Regions will be sold and micro managed by empowering local people to grow their own regions and enjoy the benefits of this rapidly expanding growth industry. Ultimately we’d love to export to share our authentic brews and passion with the world!
Shop 25, Cinema Walk Arcade,
11 Harbour Drive, Coffs Harbour.