03 Dec Hop Drop, Houston Craft Beer Delivery Turns 1 Year Old
Hop Drop, Houston Craft Beer Delivery Turns 1 Year Old
It’s been a year since Hop Drop began as the first Houston Craft Beer Delivery service, and we wanted to catch up with Mike and the gang that’s slangin’ crowlers all over H-town.
Ok, ok, ok. Our loyal readers know we’re full of shit. Their birthday was on December 1, but better late than never? It’s the thought that counts? Right? Something like that…
Hop Drop has changed their model a bit since they first opened their van doors. They’ve added new zip codes in Houston that they deliver to. They’ve added beers from other Texas cities. They even added ciders.
The one thing that hasn’t changed? They’re still just after good beer and good times.
Mike Francis was kind enough to share some behind the scenes answers about Hop Drop and how they got started as a Houston craft beer delivery service.
Unsurprisingly, he started out of the gate with gratitude, “We’ve delivered thousands and thousands of beers, messed up a lot, and not once have we had a rude customer. Not once! I’ve never experienced anything like it in any industry. Also, people are happy to see you when you show up with beer no matter how bad you mess up!”
Beer Chronicle: What are a few of the most popular styles that y’all deliver? Why do you think that is?
Hop Drop: Probably not surprising, but any hazy beer we put up sells very fast. We buy a lot for ourselves… It’s not quite as cool when you have to deliver to yourself though.
BC: What’s the wildest story you ever heard from a member of your delivery team?
HD: What happens on a beer delivery stays on a beer delivery 😊
BC: What’s the most foolish idea y’all had starting off that actually worked?
HD: I wouldn’t call it foolish but the craziest is actually probably HopDrop! We talked about doing HopDrop over a couple beers only a handful of times. We figured if we thought about it too much, we probably wouldn’t do it.
We just went for it.
We hired some attorneys, bought a truck, slapped our logo on it, made it cold, googled how to build a website and just went for it.
I’ll never forget, I was at a Christmas play with my son on the day we launched. I had to show my wife how to modify some code so the website would be ‘live’…
I’ve never been more nervous (she did a great job). We opened at noon that day and the play ended right at noon.
Before I could leave my seat, at 12:02 our first order came in. We called eachother yelling, “It worked! It worked! Oh crap… It actually worked!” We launched in 7 zip codes and delivered over 40 orders that day. Man, that was a good day. Stay hungry, stay foolish is the saying, right?
BC: What do you look back on and laugh at from the planning stages?
HD: I built a program that would simulate orders at random addresses while we were testing. The orders would come in at 5 minute intervals to see if we could keep up with demand and test the whole process. You should have seen our driver running up to houses with fake beer. He wasn’t late to one fake order!
BC: What was your biggest hurdle, and how did you over come it?
HD: This last year has been trial and error. We originally offered on-demand delivery based on the zip code you were in. Covering 200 zip codes with drivers made our costs very high and in some zips they just didn’t have the selection.
We found that our target customers are less concerned about getting it in an hour and more interested in selection. We launched our premium service called Draft Wagon where we curate the orders across town (and now across cities) for a schedule drop off for $14.95/month with no delivery fee, and same day delivery.
We had about 60 subscribers sign up day one and we knew we were onto something. Being able to shift business models from on-demand to a curated service was a big hurdle, though.
BC: What’s the next year hold for Hop Drop?
More breweries, more selection, more cities, more events with breweries.
We just opened up in Austin so now Houston can get Austin beer and Austin can get Houston beer straight from the brewery. It blows my mind, and I live it every day that all these great breweries are now at our fingertips. We will expand all across Texas by early next year and then who knows.
We asked them to make a hard sell, and all they could say was this, “Thank you Houston! We are so very humbled to be a small extension of this amazing community.”
No BS, Chris and Tony had this idea from day one. It’s in Tony’s notes on his phone. Only problem is, they didn’t have a clue how to do it, so the idea sat dormant. Thank God for these guys at Hop Drop not dragging their feet.
If you want to see what it’s like to use a Houston craft beer delivery service, check out their site now. Save yourself 10% off with code “BEERCHRONICLE” and remember, what happens on a beer delivery stays on a beer delivery. You heard it from the source!
Beers to you, Houston! 🍻