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Brotenders is a Malaysian startup that provides pop-up bar services for parties and events, and now sells bottled cocktails.

Faye Lee  |  MY
Published 2020-12-22 12:06:06
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Some may say social events are honestly much better with alcohol, but that a simple popping open a bottle of champagne or wine doesn’t add much fun to these events.

“Most people who want to party will go to a bar,” Kent, the founder of Brotenders told Vulcan Post. He’d realised that catering companies lacked range in alcoholic drinks like cocktails, mocktails, draft beer barrels, etc.

Brotenders is a beverage catering service that provides freshly made cocktails & mocktails, draft beer barrels, servers, ushers/usherettes, brand ambassadors, glassware rentals and event management solutions.

Migrating To Find Success In Their Business

The company started in 2015 when Kent took it upon himself to fill the gap he saw in catering companies, and created a portable bar concept in Penang.

Unfortunately, they didn’t do well in Penang, as many of the locals there just weren’t ready for a portable bar concept, according to Brotenders.

So, they brought over their catering service to KL in 2017, and the new company name, Brotenders, was born. 

Thankfully, their service was received much better in KL. Their demand went up as many people in the city loved the idea of a portable bar, Kent shared with Vulcan Post. 

“People would normally just buy bottles of hard liquor or cartons of beers to have at their event, and we decided that we can make it much better in terms of looks and service by offering our portable bar.”

“Clients no longer have to find a place for their after-parties as we are able to cater to their drinking needs and if need be, we can also source for DJs, sound systems, lighting, etc.”

A Brotenders portable bar / Image Credit: Brotenders

Pivoting To Save Their Business During MCO

Prior to MCO, Brotenders earned an average of RM30k per month just for events alone. They’d typically have 4-5 events per month.

During festive seasons, they’d be able to land up to 10 events a month. The most they’ve done was 16 events for one month.

You can expect to pay about RM65-75 per pax depending on the size of your guest list if you plan to hire them for wedding events. They also cater to private and corporate functions.

However, they were affected badly when MCO hit because people could no longer have big events like these anymore. 

“Clients were also afraid of having events as it poses a risk to everyone involved. We basically had no business for the entire duration of the MCO,” they recalled.

Hence, they decided to focus on the idea of delivering their bottled cocktails to customers, which was in line with something they’ve wanted for a while: to have their own line of products.

Bottled cocktails paired with different dried herbs, fruits and spices / Image Credit: Brotenders

Now, bottled cocktails are quite a specific focus, so I asked Brotenders why they chose to focus on selling this type of alcohol for their customers. 

“We are changing the consumer behaviour to not just think of wine, beer and hard liquor but to also include cocktails in their list of favourite beverages to consume at home,” they replied.

“The main reason why people do not drink cocktails at home is because making a good glass of cocktail requires skill and the knowledge that normally only a mixologist has.”

So far, their cocktails have been received well, to the point where their first batch of glass bottles for their cocktails has already finished. They’re currently waiting on their second batch of glass bottles to continue selling these cocktails.

If you’re wondering how these cocktails taste, you can check out our review at DiscoverKL here. Having tried the cocktails myself, I can see why their first batch managed to sell out.

Not the last we would see of their portable bars / Image Credit: Brotenders

Not only are they bottled with class, but Brotenders also included dried garnishes with tiny wooden pegs to go with the cocktails. It really adds to the experience of feeling like you’re getting a cocktail from a bar outside.

My favourite was their Coffee Cocktail, which tasted almost like a cold brew. I also particularly liked it because it had the least alcohol content, which is how I like to enjoy my cocktails. 

Making The Best Out Of Their New Line Of Products

Brotenders currently has a pop-up bar in a hair salon/lifestyle retail in Publika, whom they collaborated with.

“This collaboration is to let their customers enjoy our bottled cocktails while waiting for a haircut or after a haircut.”

“This gives us some retail presence which is important as customers can actually experience our products in the flesh,” Kent explained.

While these cocktails were meant to save their business, they’re also here to stay. They’re even planning to include bar equipment to add more unique party tools to their cocktail kits.

Currently, they’re partnering with their supplier to create a limited-edition gift set that has a bar tools starter kit for customers to make their own cocktails at home. 

They’re also planning to reach out to their corporate clients to offer virtual events like an online mixology workshop. But that’s not all they’re planning to milk out of their newfound pivot.

“One of the unique party experience kits will be our Bro-kart, which is our fleet of electric go-karts that we are able to rent out to clients. Our Bro-karts are fully electric and can be used indoors or outdoors, as long as there is sufficient space,” they shared with Vulcan Post.

Bro-karts to party with / Image Credit: Brotenders

Hopefully people won’t be drinking too much before they play-drive these Bro-karts in their events. 

Besides these unique ventures, Brotenders is hoping to expand and bring their bottled cocktails and portable bar services to different states in the country. 

And once the pandemic subsides and international borders reopen, they’re aiming to expand their business into Singapore as well.

  • You can learn more about Brotenders here.
  • You can read more startups we’ve written about here.

Featured Image Credit: Brotenders

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