Oriel Bier: How to build a business that wins hearts and awards
From Hobby To Business / 09.11.2023
This is a tale of two friends whose love of great beer pushed them to leave their jobs and create a microbrewery that’s been winning international awards.
Ioana Coca and Laurentiu Mandrila had jobs in fashion and music production, yet in 2015 they decided to start a brewing business after experimenting with a 20-liter amateur all-in-one kettle as a hobby. While waiting for permits, they created and tested several recipes and in 2019 came their first international award.
Today, Oriel Beer owns a 500-liter kettle, several fermentation tanks and wooden barrels. Additionally, the brewery can teach other starting businesses a thing or two about building an online following, creating customer engagement and using digital payments to grow.
It all started with the love for Belgian style beers
Based in Bucharest, Romania, the founders of Oriel took two years to craft the beers they’d eventually offer. During that time, operational and construction permits were obtained and the brewery was built. Then, Oriel started working with suppliers from Western Europe and the US to source quality ingredients. It offered naturally carbonated beers, achieved as a result of the re-fermentation process used to create Champagne.
Today, the brewery’s portfolio features beers of the Trappists Belgian kind – Blond, Dubbel, Tripel – as well as seasonal, limited-edition and barrel-aged beers. Oriel even has wild ales that are an alternative to wine and champagne.
With time, the business grew a following. It snatched gold medals at international craft beer awards and built a community around the brand.
Using the online space to grow the business
The Oriel community is made of supporters offline and online, explained Ioana, who manages the brewery’s social profiles from the get-go. Offline, the community includes visitors to the brewery and acquaintances from international beer festivals. Online, it’s made of enthusiasts in Romania and internationally.
According to Ioana, Oriel’s initial modest setup turned into a popular destination for beer fans thanks to active engagement on social media and the fact that she shared behind-the-scenes glimpses on a daily basis. “I didn’t start with professional expertise in the area, but I strongly believed in the value of transparency,” she said.
Ioana used the brewery’s production and events schedule for content ideas, ensuring Oriel’s followers stay updated and engaged. With time, she realized that her passion and personal touch are what contributes most to the brand’s social media pages and this not only keeps the audience engaged, but also ensures Oriel’s story is told in the most authentic way.
Today, Oriel Beer is present and active on every popular network, including TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. How does the small team keep up? It’s about adapting, learning and being versatile, they shared. That’s exactly what Ioana and Laurentiu did – not only in the online space, but also when meeting their clients in-person.
Engaging customers and driving sales through events
The Oriel founders noticed another opportunity to engage potential clients – opening the doors of their business to visitors. They started offering brewery tours, which reveal the techniques and the stories behind the drinks. Anyone can book a tour online and explore the entire space, including the cellar with oak-aged beers. At the same time, the business owners answer questions and present a delicious ending – a beer tasting.
This approach made the brewery a sought-after destination for beer enthusiasts, but Ioana and Laurentiu didn’t stop there. They started meeting beer fans at fairs and festivals and looked for a payment solution which is compact, portable and easy to use.
Becoming more efficient through modern payments
According to the Oriel team, using a fintech platform and a compact card reader helps streamline payment processing. The business owners were drawn to myPOS because the platform offers instant payouts and affordable payment terminals with no subscription fees.
Currently, Oriel is using myPOS Go 2 because of its compact size and user-friendly interface. Plus, they really like the paper-free receipt. The team explained that the convenience of emailing or texting receipts not only enhances the payment experience for the customers but also helps the business maintain a green operational footprint.
Ioana added: “Handling my own business is challenging because doing everything by myself takes a lot of time, but myPOS helps me by being so efficient in the payment processes, effectively reducing the time spent on transactions and allowing me to focus more on brewing the beers I love and growing the Oriel community.”
At the end, the community is at the heart of all Oriel Beer does. “Every beer we craft is a nod to our community,” shared the founders of Oriel for whom their fans offer purpose beyond profit. Maybe that’s why they are so successful.