Eric Thelen, co-founder of CraftCellr, says big and small Georgia breweries benefit from using the platform. CONTRIBUTED BY CRAFTCELLR
Recently, I caught up with Eric Thelen, the co-founder of CraftCellr, who gave me a tour of the platform using his laptop, and wound up the demonstration by purchasing an upcoming Monday Night release.
Thelen told me that the genesis of CraftCellr can be traced back to Sept. 1, 2017, the day Senate Bill 85 went into effect, allowing Georgia breweries to sell beer directly to consumers.
“That was huge,” Thelen said. “It allowed a lot more breweries to open up, because they could get to profitability much faster. That was one piece of it. The second piece was, as a beer consumer myself, I was going to a lot of bottle shops and seeing the same stuff over and over again. And I realized if I wanted some of the more interesting beers, I’d need to go check out some of the crazy, funky, cool stuff at the breweries that you can’t get anywhere else.”
Thelen said that during the first year, CraftCellr mainly stuck close to home, with Monday Night as its guinea pig.
“In year one, it was all about building the product with the people in our own backyard and our own market, and really learning from consumers and partners what they want out of it,” he said. “And then, obviously, it made sense for us to go into other states in the Southeast.”
Asked to name some of the Georgia breweries that were thriving on CraftCellr, Thelen cited two examples — one big, and one small.
“It kind of runs the gamut,” he said. “Creature Comforts does a really good job on the platform, but we also have Pontoon that does a great job on the platform. Talk about a brewery that’s a year old, they built it from the ground up, and they were one of our early adopters. So you don’t need to be the size of Comforts to have success on the platform. And I guess that’s the point.”
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