E3 – They started a Beer brewery company in Monaco! Interview with Monte Carlo Beer

Jul 8, 2024

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Ever wondered what it takes to start a beer brewery in one of the world’s most iconic locations, Monaco? Well, it’s more than just brewing a great beer. William and Anthony, co-founders of Monte Carlo Beer, share their entrepreneurial journey from conceptualising to launching a unique local brew that stands out in the crowded beer market.

Humble Beginnings and a Shared Dream

William and Anthony had been close friends for nearly two decades. While Anthony stayed in their hometown to establish his own business, William ventured out to Asia, where he found success in the bar and import-distribution industries. Despite the geographical distance, the two friends remained in constant communication, united by their entrepreneurial spirit and a shared dream of one day starting a business together.

The Birth of Monte Carlo Beer

In 2018, when Anthony joined William in Singapore to open a bar called “Monte Carlo Boys,” the two friends discovered a newfound passion for craft beer. Inspired by the vibrant lifestyle of their hometown, they began to envision creating a beer that would capture the essence of Monaco and share it with the world. Thus, the idea for Monte Carlo Beer was born.

Navigating the Trademark Challenges

Launching a beer with the name “Monte Carlo” was no easy feat. The brand “Monaco” is fiercely protected by the government, and the two friends had to navigate a complex process to obtain the necessary approvals and trademarks. Through perseverance and diligent negotiations, they secured the rights to use the iconic name and the image of the Palace on their beer’s packaging, ensuring that their creation would truly embody the spirit of Monaco.

Crafting the Perfect Blend

With the legal hurdles cleared, William and Anthony turned their attention to developing the perfect recipe for their beer. Drawing inspiration from their shared love for light, easy-to-drink beers, they collaborated with a brewer to create a blonde ale that would appeal to a wide range of beer enthusiasts. The result was a refreshing 4.5% ABV session beer that perfectly captured the laid-back, yet sophisticated, essence of the Riviera lifestyle.

Navigating the Pandemic and Adapting to Change

Just as Monte Carlo Beer was about to hit the market in 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic struck, upending the duo’s initial plans. With their primary target market, the hospitality industry, heavily impacted, William and Anthony had to quickly adapt their strategy. They pivoted their focus to the retail sector, forging relationships with supermarkets and expanding their distribution network to ensure the survival of their brand.

Overcoming Challenges and Achieving Success

The journey was not without its challenges. From navigating the complex supermarket supply chain to dealing with logistical issues like exploding glass bottles, William and Anthony faced a myriad of obstacles. However, their unwavering determination, coupled with the support of their dedicated team, allowed them to overcome these hurdles. Today, Monte Carlo Beer is available in over 100 supermarkets, with retail sales accounting for 50% of their revenue.

Expanding Horizons and Future Plans

With the initial success of their flagship blonde ale, William and Anthony have continued to innovate, introducing new beer varieties such as an amber ale and a non-alcoholic option, the latter of which has even earned a gold medal at a prestigious competition in Frankfurt. Looking ahead, the duo has their sights set on further expanding the reach of Monte Carlo Beer, with plans to sell their products in more European and Asian markets, sharing the unique flavors and lifestyle of their beloved Monaco with the world.

A Reflection of Friendship and Entrepreneurial Spirit

At the heart of Monte Carlo Beer’s story lies the unwavering friendship and complementary skills of William and Anthony. Their journey is a testament to the power of collaboration, the importance of adaptability, and the pursuit of bringing a piece of their hometown to the global stage. As they continue to grow their brand, Monte Carlo Beer stands as a symbol of the entrepreneurial spirit and the diverse facets of the Monégasque lifestyle, proving that there is more to this small principality than meets the eye.

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