House of Drinks offers the full package
Founded last year, House of Drinks wants to become the biggest and best supplier of beverages in the festival and event industry. “We stand out through our high-quality service, advice and innovation.”
The foundation of House of Drinks, a wholesale supplier of beverages for large-scale festivals and events, fits the comprehensive strategy of mother company The Support Group. The goal of the latter is to further professionalise the event sector by bringing together companies that are each experts in their field. Food & Beverage plays an important part. General manager Ben van Oudheusden: “With YOUR-Productions , The Support Group has their own bar producer. Bar staff is supplied via SOLID, but we did not have our own wholesale beverage supplier yet. The establishment of House of Drinks completes the package, which means we can be a one-stop shop for festivals and events when it comes to catering. We offer the full package.”
The ability to stand out
The Support Group and, with it, the House of Drinks, don’t conceal their ambitions. Van Oudheusden, with over seventeen years of catering experience, has worked as a hotelier, cruise manager and restaurant owner and definitely knows the ropes: “Everyone can buy and then sell cans of coke; that’s not all that exciting. We stand out through things like high-quality service, advice and innovation. That’s the only way we can lift our sector to a higher level and further operationally professionalise the event landscape. With House of Drinks, we want to become the main beverage supplier in the industry.” Apart from tap beers, House of Drinks supplies virtually any kind of beverage for festivals and events. The company covers the entire process, from purchase, preparation of the beverages and filling the cooling containers to delivery the day before the event starts. After it ends, the containers will be picked up again, and any leftover products will be returned.
Exclusive drinks and innovations
Upon special request, House of Drinks offers certain beverages at festivals and events in a unique way. “We are in continuous contact with parties like Red Bull, Coca-Cola and Bacardi to discuss the question of how to offer products at events in an even better manner”, Van Oudheusden says. “We constantly ask ourselves: how can we continue to innovate our range? For example, we can set up a special bar at a festival where visitors can buy a mix drink only available at that festival. That way, producers can try out new products and festivals can offer their guests a distinguishing element. Another example are modules where fans can use their card or bank card to get certain drinks or make them themselves. That way, many more types of beverage can be offered.” Another innovation that Van Oudheusden likes to draw attention to is the new ICEK beer pump system. Via this system, beer is transferred from the beer truck to the tap more quickly, without any loss of temperature. “Where the beer heated up to six or seven degrees due to the longer way it travelled before, the beer now stays at a constant temperature of four degrees. On top of that, we only need one large beer truck and the energy cost is lower. In other words; the quality of the beer is improved and the application is more sustainable. A win-win situation for organiser, festivalgoer and the environment. It shows that we continuously work together with our partners to lift our services and products to a higher level.”
Advising and recognising trends
2018 will revolve around revenue growth for House of Drinks. Because of the low margins, the company claims it can only exist when dealing with large volumes. “We started in 2017, and this year our volume will increase by 50%. This has to happen again in 2019. Right now, we focus on the Netherlands, but we do want to become the largest wholesale beverage supplier in the event industry.” House of Drinks can’t influence the way the selection on offer will look. That’s because organisations compile their own drink packages. This doesn’t mean that the company doesn’t have an advisory role. “We constantly scan the market with partners and organisers. If we have high expectations of a new vodka, for instance, we advise on this.
And if organisers approach us with certain wishes, we can inform them that a certain beverage comes with a lot of handling costs. That’s our job, too”, Van Oudheusden states. House of Drinks also puts great stock in signalling trends. Van Oudheusden: “We regularly organise sessions with clients, catering parties and people from the sector to discuss trends and test products. For example, we can see that self-service taps are a rising star. That’s not surprising, because people don’t like queuing up. The question is whether something like this will work in the Netherlands, and what such a system would look like. In any case, we’ll keep discussing the experience of the festivalgoer with our partners, as well as ways to optimise it.”
‘Contrary to many other companies or breweries, we can always be reached. Seven days a week’
In the end, service is the most important element, according to Van Oudheusden. For him, always meeting demands is a sport. “I get a kick out of managing everything properly beforehand and staying alert at an event at the same time. Making sure there’s the option of backordering when stocks run out more quickly than planned is of vital importance for an organisation. Contrary to many other companies or breweries, we’re always available, seven days a week. During big jobs, I’ve always got a few people and a driver on stand-by, and the phone is never switched off. Nobody does that like we do.”