A small business launched in Melbourne three years ago is making its mark at the Australian Open as an official supplier of pre-mixed cocktails to tennis patrons at many corporate bars.
Mister Mixer – owned by Valjean Boynton – is supplying pre-mixed cocktails out of kegs in the Jacobs Creek Wine Bar, and to around 12 bars in the corporate area including the Champions Bar and the Arena Café.
Boynton told SmartCompany this morning he was awaiting sales figures for day one of the Open, which began at Rod Laver Arena yesterday. He was predicting the hot weather forecast for this week would bode well for cocktail sales.
“I was asked to create a special cocktail for the Open…I jumped in the lab and came up with the ‘Centre Court Cooler’ – it has a white wine base with peach, passionfruit and apple,” he says.
Boynton says it has been a busy time for the growing company, following a contract to supply a marquee at the Portsea Polo in mid-January and also the Melbourne Bridal and Honeymoon Expo.
The company also supplies sparkling and flat cocktails to the Queen Victoria Night Market every Wednesday evening in Melbourne, which last week attracted around 50,000 patrons, and it also has contracts through Peter Rowland Catering.
It is Boynton’s second business, having sold beer business Kegs on Legs before launching Mister Mixer. He began Kegs on Legs with a fellow RMIT Entrepreneurship graduate, and drew on the concept of putting alcohol into portable kegs for the model of Mister Mixer.
“After we sold Kegs on Legs, I chipped away at the business plan,” he says.
“I launched the factory and lab in Kensington…I got in the lab and began formulating a range of cocktails.”
Despite growing up in the wine industry, with his family running Boyntons Feathertop Winery in north-east Victoria, he explains that getting Mister Mixer off the ground was challenging. Sourcing ingredients from around the world, getting the recipes right and organising distribution took lots of work.
“I would get a list of clients in the morning and start cold calling each day,” he says.
He says a hurdle was explaining the concept of five-litre cocktail kegs to potential clients, who were used to making specialty drinks on the spot.
“We can now produce 6500 litres of cocktails a day. It will be 21,000 litres by mid-year.”
He explains the service model means that no electricity is required at the venues – just ice – ensuring it is easy to set up at events. The waiters are provided with garnish to put on top of the cocktails, so the cocktails look like they are made by hand.
Beyond the Australian Open, Boynton is looking to grow his team, which currently consists of three casual staff. He also wants to build on the company’s client base, and to push into the warmer northern states to overcome the seasonal fluxes faced by the business in Victoria.
“Last year I went with the Victorian government on a Super Trade Mission to China…I’d like to explore opportunities there,” he says.
In April, Boynton will attend the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers Convention in Las Vegas, also to explore export opportunities.