On the up · 22 October 2015

YoCo Club: The whisky subscription service shunning “traditional etiquette”

Those put of by lack of knowledge when it comes to whisky are catered for
Those put of by lack of knowledge when it comes to whisky are catered for
Well aware that the subscription model can be a particularly lucrative one if done properly, the founding pair behind YoCo Club are creating a unique blend of their own bringing together one of Scotland’s greatest exports with a business model employed by the likes of Netflix, Spotify and Amazon.

Calum Leslie and Fraser Sutherland are providing a monthly delivery which introduces customers to new whisky and comes with tasting notes to educate. As the business begins a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, Business Advice caught up with Leslie to find out more.

(1) Who are you and what’s your business?

We are a team of young Scottish entrepreneurs who love two things: technology and whisky. The team is comprised of me, a law graduated who founded a technology company upon graduating, and Fraser Sutherland, an architecture graduate and product aficionado. Our company is called YoCo Club and is a monthly whisky subscription club that delivers two single malt Scotch whiskies to subscribers. We just launched on Indiegogo and are aiming to raise 10, 000 over the next 30 days.

(2) What was the inspiration forthe company?

We graduated from university a few years ago and as our lifestyles improved, we became tired of drinking low quality, cheap beverages. Drinking alcohol became less about quantity and more about quality, so it was time to upgrade our drink of choice. Being Scottish and huge fans of Mad Men, whisky was the natural solution. Yet, like most people we felt a little overwhelmed by choice, undereducated in taste and discouraged by price. So much so that the thought of purchasing enough whisky to discover what we liked didnt appeal. So, YoCo Club was born.

(3) How doyou make money?

We sell monthly subscriptions. Subscribers can sign up for either one, three, sixor 12 months and will receive a case in the mail for every month that they are subscribed. Subscriptions start at 15 per month for our taster’s case, and you can find all options on our Indiegogo page.

(4) What makes you different and why should people take notice?

We are a whisky subscription club for our generation. YoCo Club is more than a whisky club. YoCo is an abbreviation of Young Company? and we are on a mission to become this generation’s answer to discovering, delivering and revelling in Scotch whisky. We are alifestyle club that escapes the old school image of a whisky club. Whether you enjoy drinking whisky with ice, water, one sip at a time or all in one go, we don’t mind and we won’t hold you to “traditional etiquette”. We’re here to deliver great whisky directly to your door.

(5) What was key in terms of getting started, and what does the next year have in store?

It was key to sort out our supply. There are over 100 distilleries in Scotland producing a variety of single malts and it was important to strike up relationships with a range of distilleries in order to be able to provide our subscribers with the best single malt Scotch whiskies. We spent the last year touring Scotland to do exactly this and we now have over 60 whiskies in onboard. Over the next year we will be acquiring subscribers, expanding our whisky list and growing throughout Europe and the US.

Fraser Sutherland and Calum Leslie are on a mission to bring whisky to the masses
Fraser Sutherland and Calum Leslie are on a mission to bring whisky to the masses
(6) What’s your biggest achievement to date?

We have world-leading whisky expert Charles MacLean signed on as an ambassador. Having his’seal of approval was key in giving us the validation we needed to move forward. It also gives us an elevated status in the whisky world, an infamously hard industry to break into.

(7) What setbacks have you had along the way?


 
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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Hunter Ruthven was previously editor of Business Advice. He was also the editor of Real Business, the UK's most-read website for entrepreneurs and business leaders at the helm of growing SMEs.

Business development