The craft beer scene has progressed over the last few years, with many hole-in-the wall joints around the city. Even new bars, cafes and restaurants are showcasing a wide selection woven with rich, unique characteristics created by independent breweries. Four owners tell us about their entrepreneurial decisions to open craft beer businesses, and how they’ve adapted to Covid-19 restrictions.
Three-year-old BunkerBunker relocated from Prinsep Street to a tiny space in Club Street’s Emerald Garden at the end of 2020 after its lease had expired. Founder Keola Ho jumped at the chance of taking over the quirky hole-in-the-wall space when Maxi Coffee moved out. As Ho had an inkling that the pandemic would last another three years, he thought that a low-cost concept would be more ideal.
Today, BunkerBunker’s wall is framed by three fridges teeming with beers and natural wines. “We carry up to 120 different labels of each at any point of time,” he says. The beers come from all over the world, including Belgium (lambic and trappist ales) and the US (pale ales and IPAs).
“We move decent volumes of sour beers, too. Over the last few years, they have become popular here.”
As for adapting to today’s challenging circumstances, Ho shares that the pandemic has created a unique situation for everyone. And, of course, scaling down his operations was a good move while he plans for the future. His solution to the 10:30pm ban? “Day drinking,” he quips and adds that BunkerBunker also curates and delivers to customers.
“Without a fixed menu, we can suggest and create custom orders. This takes more effort but provides the best experience, particularly for home deliveries. Additionally, we provide clients with the option to host private sessions for groups of up to five, and we curate the catering and beverage selection.”
It has also started serving stout milkshakes. “By working with Apiary, we can customise the base flavours of our ice cream and play around with various stout variations.”
BunkerBunker also hopes to build a platform that thrives through meaningful collaborations and partnerships with local brands. For example, the company has been invited to curate the beer section of Apiary’s new grocer concept in Joo Chiat. Singapore’s Shake Coffee is also collaborating with it on a six-month popup at Prinsep Street.
“People are beginning to enjoy the exciting varieties. Many were eager for new experiences and care packs during the lockdown.”
SAMUEL LOW OF ORH GAO BELIEVES THAT DEMAND FOR CRAFT BEER WILL KEEP GROWING
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