Just before the end of 2015, we launched The Crafty Cabal, a beer lovers bonus scheme that offers readers the chance to help The Crafty Pint grow in return for heaps of beery benefits. The concept is similar to the subscriber services operated by community radio stations like RRR and was designed to be a win-win-win for readers, The Crafty and the venues and breweries that support us.
How? Well, readers who choose to become paid subscribers get invites to exclusive events and bar shouts, access to deals at venues and breweries across Australia, heaps of free and VIP passes to festivals and more.
The Crafty Pint gets more funds to build upon what we do. Like when you listen to radio, we understand that people don't expect to pay for journalism or entertainment anymore when it's online. At the same time, we don't want to introduce a pay wall and refuse to go down the route chosen by much media these days and compromise what you read by running sponsored stories or native advertising.
Instead, we feel that inviting keen readers to become part of our mission is a much craftier way to go – and we still keep everything free for readers who don't want to sign up.
The third "win" sees the businesses that support us get new customers who are among the most enthusiastic and engaged beer lovers in the land. And they get them for next to no cost as we promote their Cabal offers and events for free.
Anyway, with a year under the Cabal's collective belt, we thought we'd take a quick look back at highlights of the past 12 months. Although before we do, here's what a few of our existing Cabalistas have had to say.
"I have come to the opinion that investing in the Crafty Cabal has been the decision with the single highest benefit-to-cost ratio that I've ever made. And not just me - my friends jumped on board with my encouragement recently, picking up the 'Back to Craft' prizes and a shed load of tastings at Cutty Cellars over the weekend respectively, so would tend to agree." Jack F (Cabalista CXCV)
"The Cabal has opened up a whole range of events and opportunities that I would otherwise have missed out on and is also fantastic value for money. I believe I got my money's worth in the first two events alone." Niall M (Cabalista VIII)
"Well I think I drank my annual @TheCraftyPint Cabal fee worth of beer at the launch yesterday. How's that for value." Mitch B (Cabalista LXXXIV) via Twitter
"Just wanted to drop you a quick line to say that it was great to meet you at the Feral Brewery tour and Blind IPA tasting and that I have had a fantastic time the last 2 weeks attending all the events that Crafty Cabal got me into for free/cheap. The Crafty Pint is a great read and the Crafty Cabal is a brilliant club to be a part of." Ben M (Cabalista XII)
"Clubs like this are important for breweries to help get their beers out there. It’s highly unlikely I ever would have grabbed a bottle of the Backwoods Bastard if it wasn’t for the Crafty Cabal, and I'm now a massive fan....This has to be one of the best beer clubs going around!" Darn S (Cabalista CCXI via Instagram)
12 Months A Cabalista
We've put on a series of events exclusively for Cabal members – or to which Cabal members have received invites not available to the public. Not including beer supplied by hosts at some of these events, we've poured 25 kegs of awesome, independent Australian craft beer for members, including a Clout Stout that's still talked about at events to this day!
The events to date are:
- Boatrocking Cabarrelistas
- Melbourne Launch Party
- Good Beer Week Sunday Session
- Brisbane Launch Party
- Wheaty Brewing Corps Crafty Cabale Brew Day
- Adelaide Launch Party
- Great Australian Beer Guide Launch Party
- Stomping Ground Pre-Opening Brewery Tour & Tasting
- Sydney Launch Party
- Feral & Nail Pre-Opening Brewery Tour & Tasting
- IPA Blind Tasting & Perth Launch Party
- Moon Dog Pre-Opening Brewery Tour & Tasting
- Mornington Peninsula Brewery Hop Culture Launch
- Old Wives Ales Birthday Tasting (last day to register interest is November 30)
We'll be holding more parties for Cabalistas and supporters in the beer world around the country again next year (and every year) and are already in discussion with some of the very best breweries in Australia about putting on events early in 2017. Watch this space...
We've given away VIP passes, free and discounted tickets worth $9,000 to:
- GABS Melbourne & Sydney
- The Beer InCider Experience
- Adelaide Beer & BBQ Festival
- Fremantle BeerFest
- Feral Fest
- Brewers Feast
- Cutty Cellars Election Day & Oktoberfest Events
- Beer Day Out
- Esk BeerFest
We've also just launched a ballot for members to get hold of discounted tickets to the 2017 Ballarat Beer Festival – and have ten $69 Festival Essentials passes to give away to the next ten signups in Victoria.
Look out for more free tickets for major festivals and some cool tie-ins with the biggest events in the annual beer calendar.
Deals & Discounts
When we launched, we said the aim was to run 100 different deals and offers at venues and breweries across the country in our first year. We hit around 120 in the end, with 80-odd currently live and others that were specials tied to events such as Good Beer Week, Sydney Craft Beer Week and individual events.
They've included heaps of free beer, two-for-ones, meal deals, free merch and growlers, as well as discounts on beer and merch straight from breweries. They include massive value one-offs such as free delivery for a year with Hops to Home ($120), free, filled growlers at Feral's Brewpub and Discounted Double Dutch Rudders at The DTC as well as dozens of offers than can be redeemed daily, weekly or monthly, including two-for-one schooners weekly at The Scratch and Brewski, two-for-one brewery tours & tastings at Seven Sheds and Young Henrys or two-for-one tasting paddles monthly at the likes of The Windsor Alehouse and Pumphouse Sydney.
Aside from these offers, look out for occasional direct purchases through the Cabal, such as the 12 Days of Quacking Packs currently available from Red Duck.
In addition to the various giveaways and ballots tied to events, we've been doing massive monthly prize draws as well as offering bottles or mixed packs of fun stuff for the best Cabal related photos tagged #craftycabal on social media.
Including the three packs of saison from Boatrocker, Exit and Wolf of the Willows we're picking a winner for tomorrow, our first year of prize draws have seen us give away 38 cases of beer from Feral, Holgate, Nail, Temple, Pirate Life, La Sirène, Gage Roads, Fury & Son and Stockade Brew Co.
There's probably stuff we've forgotten – the odd bar shout, the branded glassware handed to members at many of the events notwithstanding – but we're happy to say it's been a pretty damn productive first year for The Crafty Cabal.
We've got plenty lined up already for 2017 too, so watch this space. Or, better still, join us! Membership is a great Christmas present for that beer lover in your life, especially if that beer lover is you!
STAY IN TOUCH
If you want to keep abreast of all things Cabal (without dipping into your member's area regularly), you can try:
- Fortnightly Friday updates (found in the features section of Crafty Pint and on the Cabal site and shared via Crafty Pint social channels)
- Our regular EDMs (sign up to receive them here)
- Looking for posts tagged #craftycabal on Twitter or Facebook
- Following @craftycabal on Instagram
We're also looking to start using text alerts for event and major offer notifications as, despite publicising each deal and event in five or more ways, some members aren't picking them all up.
NB We appreciate there hasn't been too much action in Tasmania or ACT to date but we have contacted the few members we have there directly and lined them and their mates up with free festival tickets; we don't want any supporters feeling left out if we can help it!