I arrived in New Zealand on the 1st of January, planning to work three days a week on my own projects, while spending the other four exploring beauties of this amazing country. I was living in a car and changing places roughly every two days. After two months of this, I found “treasure” in Wanaka. There are many things to do here; hiking, cycling, windsurfing, paragliding, kayaking and even selling beer (more on this later). That’s why I am coming back to New Zealand in October.
While there are many hiking/tramping options in the Wanaka area, one of the most popular is the Roys Peak Track. Ariel, and I decided to go there for sunrise and record some songs for her Youtube channel (you can read more about it here). After hiking 2,5 hours uphill with a guitar, we reached the viewpoint. Here, I realized how cool it would be to have a typical European mountain hut with beer, food and more, right in the heart of New Zealand.
Two days later I went for a trek with Bart, and he shared a story about a guy who took a few beers up the mountain and sold them there. I then connected two things together: my idea about the European mountain hut and this story of the beer-selling mountaineer. With that, we now had a new plan for Monday: buy 100 beers, take them from 400MAS to 1400 MAS, and sell them.
How did we do it? :-D
Sunday night , we bought beer for 1,8 NZD each, chilled them, packed them along with our food and water for the day, and set our start time for 5AM. It took us 2,5 hours like my first trip with Ariel, but unfortunately now our bags were like 25 kg each. This time though, we had hiking sticks which helped us a lot. On the way up, we made motivational signs reading “1,5 Hour to Cold Beer,” “30 Minutes Left,” “10 Minutes,” etc.
Many people thought that these signs were just a bad joke – that is, until they met us at the top to discover that our makeshift Roys Peak bar did indeed have cold beer for just 7 NZD! They took many photos of us and we were making people very happy. It was an amazing feeling. We sold about 60 beers the first day, and we drank about 10. Such a job; selling beer, a great view, sun, and of course, 150 NZD for pocket money.
But, we did not sell everything. At the end of the day, we had 30 beers left and didn’t want to take them back down to the parking lot. So, we hid them in the bush and decided to come back on Tuesday to sell 100 beers again. This time, we would know exactly how to sell them.
That night, we met many people who recognized us. They were laughing at our idea and had shared their experience on social media.
We bought new beer and took them uphill once again. We had more visitors than on Monday, but after first five hours, we had sold only 20 beers max. But we were far from discouraged – this gave us an idea :-D Happy hour, 5 NZD each. After two long, happy hours, we sold another 20 beers and that was it for Tuesday. A sad story; we must have done something wrong. We even made a “Free Wi-Fi” sign but for some reason it did not work… :-D
So, as Tuesday came to an end and we had 60 beers left, we once again hid them in a bush with a plan to come back the next day and sell 100 beers. We went to the shop that evening and we met some people there and who were happy with our service. We were like celebrities in Wanaka. :-D
Wednesday – Happy Day!
Woke up at 7, started going up at 8, reached the peak at 10, made many signs on way up as per our routine. Then we went to get our 60 beers hidden in the bush, but couldn’t find them. After one hour of frantic searching, Bart finally found them.
I had been thinking of how we could improve our marketing, so this time I took nicer clothes – a clean shirt, New Zealand cap, and an overall more positive look. We made a special offer for the day: “Pay What You Feel.” People reached the viewpoint and they could not believe it; amazing place, cold beer, and whatever price they felt like paying for it. Like a dream. In the first 30 minutes, we sold ten beers. By the end of a day, we had sold over 100 beers, with people paying an average of 6,5 NZD per beer. Some people paid 20 NZD (local people, who liked the idea) and other more ignorant people, less than one dollar (mostly young Germans – no offense).
During these days, we accepted cash, card, bank transfers, cash in different currencies (Canadian dollar, Philippines dollar, etc.), PayPal transfer, and even dinner in the Philippines. We also had an “honesty policy” for those who didn’t have cash with them and asked them to leave money under the wiper on my car (3 of 7 paid).
What have I learned from this project? People are generally honest, and will reward hard work and a sense of humour.
It was quite a cool job full of positive energy. I really like that! Special thanks for the cooperation of Martin Bart and for the proofreading of Ariel.