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Hiker Brewing Co.

Let’s Talk Merchandise

GABS in Brisbane was held last Saturday (7 May), and in the lead up I thought it would be great to finally get some T-Shirts done, so Daniel & I could wear to GABS to start softly marketing to the local craft beer community making them aware that we are soon to be open for business (FYI – still tracking for September / October).

Designing our First T Shirt

Sooo Many Black Shirts!

So, I spent some time working on a design.  I really wanted something that was unique and represented our brand.  For those that know me, I have a dislike of black t-shirts. Just about every craft t-shirt is Black (as can be seen with Adsy’s t shirt collection).  Sure, it makes sense for brands like Black Hops, and Black Flag but for other breweries I think it is a really overused colour. (In summary don’t expect Hiker to ever release a black t-shirt – but if we do years down the track please remind me of this blog post, and I will happily buy you a beer!). The majority of craft beer shirts use the AS Colour brand (which are a really good quality shirt), and they have a really wide variety of awesome colours. FYI – we landed on a very cool colour Petrol Blue for our first T-Shirt.

The view that inspired the contentious mountain on the shirt – not the Bintang Singlet Lawrence was wearing

Initially we were simply going to have our logo on the shirt, but I thought that was a bit boring and it is what most craft breweries do. I decided to play around with the artwork from the mural we had designed on Fiverr (good to repurpose artwork to save some costs in getting things designed), to see if I could use elements of it on the T-Shirt.  After a little playing around I was able to get what I think is a pretty cool design, although the mountain on the back caused some conjecture, with some people (including Daniel) asking what it was or they thought it was to an outline of a bird (which wasn’t a bad outcome given birds are a key theme due to Daniel’s gypsy brand Ornith).  To set the record straight, it is supposed to be a mountain at sunset inspired by one of my treks of Kokoda.  I remember watching the darkness of night slowly eat away at the sun-rays on a mountain overlooking the valley after a long day trekking up to Efogi, it was a great reward to just sit there after a long day of the track, one of my special hiking memories. (Sadly, without beer in hand, as all of the villages on the track are Seven Day Adventists, who prohibits things like alcohol).

How many Shirts to Order?

We ordered them through our mates at Thirsty Merchants. The initial run was 50 (of various sizes), which seems a lot, but it’s a fine balance between economies of scale when purchasing, and the ability to sell – the more shirts you purchase the cheaper the unit rate, but if they don’t sell them quickly (or at all), the more cash you have tied up. It is also difficult to work out what sizes to get as you may not be able to sell some of the less common sizes quickly, but you also need them to avoid disappointing people.  It is very clear that breweries don’t make much or any money from selling merchandise – but it is an important mechanism to get your brand out in the broader market, and to build a fanbase.  

Want to Purchase One of Our Shirts?

If you are interested in buying one of our cool t-shirts – head over to our on-line store where we have a variety of sizes, and the option to pick up your shirt (or shirts) from the brewery (at a mutually convenient time) and save the shipping costs. You can also have a look at where we are up to with the build (and have a beer if we have any in the fridge and dependant if the electricity is on).  

Note: I really hate shipping costs as they can be quite expensive (and can be prohibitive for people wanting to purchase a shirt online), but it is a necessary evil and really can’t be helped.

Shipping Costs

I have looked at numerous options in relation to shipping to try and find the most cost effective, reliable and integrated service to use with our on-line store (and accounting software), so we don’t have to spend hours reconciling things across different platforms. 

We ended up going with Sendle, as it has a good rate structure, integrates nicely with our WooCommerce store (on our wordpress based website), allows for easy printing of shipping labels and booking a delivery van to pick up and their packaging is fully bio-degradable (which is important to us).  

Note : We have yet to fully test the end to end process, as we are waiting on our label printer and bio degradable satchels to arrive, but it all looks very promising.  

Other Merch Ideas

As we get closer to opening, we are now looking at other merch that we could develop, and is something I am starting to give serious consideration towards. Having merch that links with our hiking /outdoors theme, such as hats, water bottles, socks, singlets (for trail running) etc are all on the potential list, but again we don’t want to overdo it as cash flow initially will be tight.

A Different (and Probably Wacky) Idea

For those people that know me, I have four real loves in my life, my daughters, craft beer, hiking, and rugby. Since I was a kid, I have always wanted to sponsor a rugby team and have my brand as the principal sponsor – I won’t go into my many little businesses when I was a kid, but put it this way they were never going to make enough money to take on any naming rights.

So how do I link rugby with hiking? I have been toying around with the idea of getting some rugby jerseys made of fictitious rugby teams based around hiking trails around the world – who play in the world rugby hiking cup competition.  Examples of fictitious teams could be the Kokoda Fuzzy Wuzzy’s, and the Himalayan Sherpa’s.  I think it could be a bit of fun, and may generate some interest and provide some different merch to people (particularly rugby loving craft beer drinkers, which I know a few). Potentially some of our seasonal beers may be named after hiking tracks around the world, so it may fit in nicely.  As I said it is a bit of a wacky idea, and a work in progress.   

Mock up of Rugby Jersey


Merch is important to help build your brand, but you need to balance what (and how much stock) you have in your range, as you are never going to make massive profits from it (in fact you can potentially make a loss, as the margins are very tight, and if the stock doesn’t move any profits will quickly evaporate).

Would love to know your thoughts, on any merch ideas….

Until next time…

Cheers to the journey