Meet the team: Chris the bean counter
Today we are joined by Chris Cefala, co-founder of A Local Beer. He is a man of passion and enigma. People sometimes call him CC. Co-founder Nick likes to introduce him as our ‘bean counter’ until Chris says “please stop calling me that.” He is so much more than the man who deals with the financials and puts our spreadsheets together, he is a huge driving force behind A Local Beer’s success. We sat down with him and asked him a few questions.
Thanks for joining us Chris. Tell us how a Local Beer came about?
A Local beer ultimately started after a few conversations over some beers at the pub. After a few months of talking about it, we decided we would just jump in and just see what happens. We figured if it didn’t work out then we would just have a lot of leftover beer which we would have to drink ourselves - which really wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
Well luckily things are going well and we are still able to drink a lot of our beer. Have you been always been a beer drinker?
Well, it must be said I am partial to the Friday after work beers before I started A Local Beer. I must confess though I didn’t fully understand the craft beer industry and the sheer number of Independent brewers. I mean I didn’t really know who was truly independent. I suppose Mountain Goat and Stone and Wood were my ‘gateway’ beers into the exciting world of craft beer. It has been one of the best parts of starting the business really- learning about all the amazing producers in Australia and around the world.
It is an exciting world indeed. Apart from A Local Beers XPA and Pacific Paradise what beers are you drinking at the moment?
Well now I am trying new beers every week - for our team meeting tonight I’ve got an OffShoot Beer Co. Hoptimized Returns Hazy Double IPA. I chose it because their Big Drop Relax IPA is super tasty. Their label and overall branding I’m also a big fan of so I'm excited to try it! It might also be a hint as to what A Local Beer may be doing in the next few months….
Ooo, I am intrigued. Any other beer brands you are a fan of?
Yeah there are a few. I mean in general, when breweries and beer labels have fun and it comes through in their brand I am a big fan. I think if you have a beer company then you should be having fun - I know we are! So I love brands who have branding that reflects that. Co-Conspirators are a great example of this with the characters on their can art. They also make some really great beers and have developed a great following and brand loyalty in just a few years; we are trying to achieve these elements through the art component of our beers. A big shout out and thanks to the boys at Pour AF who did an incredible job creating the fun eye-catching work on our cans.
Yeah! We get so many positive comments on the artwork. What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt since starting A Local Beer?
The biggest lesson I think I’ve learnt is to be prepared to adapt and change. You can’t get stuck pursuing an idea because that was the original plan. Just because it’s a passion project doesn’t mean you won’t have to adapt and make hard decisions for the long term success of the business. Secondly, and even more than I anticipated when we started, you need to be listening to your customers because ultimately you have to exist for your customers not for yourself.
Couldn’t agree more! So what is A Local Beer planning for the near future?
Where do I start!? A LOT is planned - There will definitely be more beers in the future and our beers will be available in more locations. There are a couple of big projects that will really help us connect our products to our customers in a more direct way.
Sounds exciting. You are also being a bit cagey there Chris…?
I can’t tell you anything more than that at the moment. It’s a secret for now haha.
Well, I do like some mystery and suspense. Alright, so I am looking at an ‘interesting’ photo here; can you tell me a little bit about it?
Oh dear. So on Melbourne Cup Day each year, a great pub in Cremorne called The Cherry Tree Hotel holds a kind of anti-Melbourne Cup race where representatives from some of the local breweries compete in a bike race around the block for charity. Despite one of our team members, (Sam) owning five bikes and having raced competitively in the past I was nominated to compete. Look, I didn’t come last but I also definitely didn’t come first. Maybe next year we’ll give Sam a go.
That sounds like a much better tactic. And now it’s time for our final important question. Who was your childhood crush?
(thinking for about a minute). Well there are so a few. But maybe Miley Cyrus. But pre-Wrecking Ball era.
Interesting choice. Mate if only that Hemsworth hadn’t got in there first I’m sure you would have been a good chance. Do you reckon Miley Cyrus is a craft beer drinker?
Haha. I’m sure she would enjoy a few pints like the rest of us. - Local Beers of course.
Of Course! Thanks for your time. Any last words?
It’s been a lot of fun so far and so thank you to those who continue to support us. To all our customers and retail partners out there stay tuned because we have some exciting things we are working on.