I am ramping up to enter our next “Behind the Box” series. I will be interviewing some fabulous new subscription options in addition to some of our veteran favorites that have exciting news on the horizon. Our first interview is with Caskers.
Caskers is a unique offering in the subscription box arena. Their specialty is locally crafted spirits – especially whiskey. These boxes ship quarterly ($134.99) and include three bottles of signature spirits. I had the chance to ask one of the founders, Moiz Ali, a few questions about their service and here’s what I found out.
What made you decide to start a subscription box service?
My co-founder, Steven Abt, and I recognized the problem while we were both attending law school in Boston. On several trips to various cities, including Chicago, New York and San Francisco, we tried local craft spirits. Upon returning to Boston, we realized that we couldn’t get access to those same spirits. We knew there had to be a better way.
How did you choose your subscription niche?
Both Steve and I have always had a passion for craft spirits, whiskey in particular. When we realized there was a gap in the marketplace for something we were truly passionate about, it felt like a natural fit to create a service that we would love and be excited about every day.
How long did it take between idea and official launch?
While we knew the problem existed in law school, we really didn’t come up with a model to solve it until after we graduated and had both moved to New York. Even then, it took about 18 months from the time we first came up with the concept until we offered an initial public beta.
How do you source the products that will be included each month?
At first, we were reaching out to distilleries to pitch them on the concept of Caskers and feature their products. Now that we have grown, our network encompasses nearly every craft distillery in the United States. And we make it a point to stay in close touch with our distilleries to find out what they are going to create next as well as attend industry events where distilleries get to showcase their products.
What was your biggest surprise – good or bad – with your new business?
The biggest surprise was the amount of demand there was, both from consumers and from craft distilleries, for a service such as ours. While we had experienced an issue discovering and purchasing craft spirits, we had no idea how many other consumers had experienced the same thing. The first day we launched Caskers to the public, we registered thousands of members, and generated thousands of dollars of revenue.
In addition, we found craft distilleries to be incredibly receptive to a company that offered to curate and market quality spirits on their behalf.
What would you change if you had to start over?
I wouldn’t have waited 18 months from concept to launch.
Where do you see your business five years from now? Any changes in the works?
There are a number of other verticals that we plan to enter that complement the industry and business that we’re in. While we expect to be much larger in terms of revenue and employees, I think we’ll always have that scrappy, startup mentality.
Thanks Moiz, for the interview! You can visit the Caskers website to learn more about their service or start your subscription today.