Former pro squash player Callum O'Brien is the brains behind Jumping Goat, a new 'coffee liquor' targeting the shot market as a late night pick-me-up. He describes it as premium for the masses - a handcrafted product that can still take the piss and have fun with it.
O'Brien, who was most recently doing concept development at DB Breweries, says it all started with experiments using an espresso machine he bought off TradeMe.
What's special about Jumping Goat?
Jumping Goat is a cold brewed coffee spirit - 40 percent alcohol by volume and made with 100 percent organic coffee, sugar and spices The product uses a cold brewed method so does not contain the harsh, bitter coffee taste, rather a very real coffee taste with a warming alcohol kicker. It is far from a sweet and syrupy liqueur like other coffee alcohol products ... Rather than the traditional coffee liqueur direction, Jumping Goat is marketed towards more of a late night party crowd.
Who did you work with on the design and branding?
Allan Cave has been behind the design of the bottle and branding. Allan is based in Melbourne and has used help from a number of Melbourne-based artists for refining the goat illustration as we go.
How are you putting out the word about Jumping Goat?
We are getting behind a number of bar and nightclub events happening around Auckland which helps with awareness. We also do a lot of work with promotions in bars to help build awareness of the product. Training bartenders on the product and its history is also a big part of our sales strategy - they have the power to recommend the product. If bar staff know all about it and how it can be used that is the first step to selling it!
In addition to this we have a fairly active Facebook page which is slowly growing as we expand and get increased awareness in various cities. We also have a number of viral marketing ideas up our sleeve that will come to fruition in the next little while. We are all about acting different to other similar products, being a little bit cheeky and not taking ourselves too seriously.
What’s the biggest business lesson you’ve learned so far?
You will learn as you go and will constantly change as you do. It is better to launch and get stuck into selling and make changes as you go than to wait until everything seems absolutely perfect.
We have changed so much since we have launched - the description on the bottle is changing, the recipe has changed (it was 40 percent ABV, now it is 35 percent ABV), the bottle design has changed, colouring in the brand has changed - almost everything has been tweaked slightly.
This has all been in response to market feedback and what we now have as a product is so much better than when we started - yet we could never have launched with this as we didn't know! You don't know what you don't know so it's better to get started and learn than to wait for things to appear perfect as they never will be. It is something that everyone says but it is so true.
What lies ahead for 2014?
Now that we have made changes to the product and brand we are much more comfortable rolling it out so we are targeting the other major cities around New Zealand in the next six weeks (Queenstown, Christchurch, Dunedin, Wellington, Hamilton) - we want to become a known brand in all these main centres for shots and cocktails before the end of the year.
In addition to this we are in talks with people in Australia and the UK at the moment about the potential for international distribution which is exciting. We also have another product we are going to launch under the same brand in about two months time which will be a real game changer we think.