North Hop

Guest Blog - Introducing Tipple Box…

Tuesday 11th November 2014

The Road to North Hop and Beyond!

North Hop 2014 seems like an age ago, the beer, the music, the hay bales and of course my first selling experience. But I still specifically remember the moment I found out about it.

I’d been mulling over the idea for Tipple Box, a cocktail ingredients by post service for a month or two and had spoken to a few friends about it. I was waiting in the departure lounge, ten minutes prior to boarding a plane to Egypt. With a last minute check of the phone, a ping indicated I’d received an email. One of my friends had come across a BBC article regarding a new craft alcohol festival in Inverness, ‘North Hop’. I tracked down their website and signed up to their mailing list, just as my flight was being called.

I never gave it too much thought until I returned home and checked my emails. It turned out that North Hop was exactly what I was looking for. It was the perfect environment and gave me exactly two months to pull a product together.

The two months that followed were a bit of a blur; confirming cocktail recipes, locating potential suppliers and organising transport and accommodation for the festival. On the morning of North Hop the van was packed and I was ready to go. There was only one slight hiccup, the alcohol still hadn’t arrived. After some frantic emails, begging, praying and pleading it showed up four hours before the festival was due to start, so I launched it into the back of the van, and was on the road.

When the furthest you’ve ever driven is Perth, a four hour journey in a rickety old van, in the pouring rain, on the single carriageways of the A9, is a daunting experience. After a few near death experiences and three and a half hours, I arrived and got set up with minutes to spare.

After being so busy preparing for North Hop I hadn’t even had time to think about if the worst thing that could happen happened. What if everyone hated Tipple Box and didn’t want to buy it? On the Friday evening that reality hit in. People were coming straight from work and weren’t keen to be carrying around boxes all night. After only one sale in 6 hours I was ready to pack up and head home.

Thankfully I headed to the B&B, slept off the disappointment and put my game face on for the Saturday. Over a period of 10 hours the unthinkable happened. People actually liked Tipple Box and started buying them. By the end of the day I’d even covered all the costs!

North Hop turned out to be a fantastic experience, especially for networking and has resulted in some really exciting opportunities. It really allowed me to validate the concept and Tipple Box as a business.

Since August, things have only got busier. I’ve organised and launched a Tipple Box crowdfunding campaign. This offers customers the chance to pre-order their first Tipple Box by pledging a contribution. Funders can give as much or as little as they wish, and will receive various perks in return. A £20 contribution will guarantee each funder their very first Tipple Box, whereas a pledge of £5,000 will guarantee cocktails for life!

Following the crowdfunding campaign, you will be able to either sign-up for a monthly subscription or buy the boxes on an individual basis.

I have no doubt that an exciting journey lies ahead and I’m guessing that only one thing is for certain, I’ll see you all next year at North Hop 2015! 

Sonny Charles
Tipple Box