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The Rise of Bottled Cocktails

The idea of having a bar-quality cocktail at home has long been the fantasy of cocktail lovers all around the world, but it's only in more recent times that this dream has become a reality. This growing trend has been accelerated by the converging trends of ‘premiumisation’ and ‘hometainment’ as well as the growth of DIY, guided by the internet.

Let’s face it though, going out to your favourite cocktail bar can be expensive and for many it can only be justified on an occasional basis. Many people still have a desire to experience the feeling of going out, whilst staying at home and one of the best ways to do this is to enjoy bartender quality bottled cocktails at home when socialising with friends.

One of the biggest barriers to this is that most people don’t have the necessary liquor ingredients to make a great cocktail. They lack the bar equipment or the experience and skills of the bartender to make this a successful pursuit. This is where the convenience of professional bar-quality bottled cocktails is the solution!

Story Cocktails have four classic cocktails in their range, each with an interesting back-story that becomes part of the enjoyment of the cocktail itself by giving consumers knowledge and thereby enriching the experience.

The bottled cocktail opportunity has been recognised by entrepreneurs, Alistair Cook and Michael Stewart, the gents behind Story Cocktails. They have been driven by a passion to “bring the world’s greatest cocktails out of the bar and into your hand”. Michael mentions that their strategic approach has been driven by, “premiumisation and enhancing experiences”.

“We believe that cocktails are not the end game, but something to augment the moments that people are experiencing”. The focus here is on quality and experience. He goes on to say “Attention to detail is just as important as premiumisation”. The key insight driving their brand philosophy is “Life is made up of a series of moments, and cocktails are one meaningful way of marking those moments in a manner that is comparable in importance”. It’s a beautiful story!”

During the last couple of years, the influence of pandemic induced social restrictions has had a dramatic effect on the ways that we seek to satisfy our needs of enjoying quality experiences at home. Food delivery services have seen over 100% increases in demand as people seek the convenience of having their favourite food delivered to their door. A similar phenomenon is happening in the cocktail space.

Due to lockdowns in Australia, the absence of access to cocktail bars stirring and shaking your Negroni or Old Fashioned, bottled cocktails have gone from a novel COVID concept to an essential part of the liquor landscape.

A response to this change has led to some cocktail bars deciding to bottle their fresh cocktails and deliver them to their customers to keep their spirits high! Daniel Noble, founding partner of Old Mate’s Place in Sydney, mentioned that they needed to “adapt or die”. After implementing a bottled cocktail program and amplified through their social media channels, he says, “we found that one of the most rewarding parts was the ability to connect with customers, both old and new”. In true hospitality fashion, they have maintained connections with their valued customers by giving them what they wanted by thinking outside of the box and being driven by necessity.

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Story Cocktails Old Fashioned with Chocolate Bitters 500mL 2

Route to market

Drinks Network founder, Hayden Wood said “As a growing brand, Story Cocktails needed a solid eCommerce plan that drives not only awareness of their brand, but also accessibility across Amazon, Ebay and Google Shopping. Drinks Network delivers these objectives”. The price point for Story Cocktails bottled cocktails “means that we can also push them out to a social shopping audience who are attracted to the below $70 mark with frequency”, said Hayden.

While it may be ‘hard to swallow’ going back to ordering a $25 negroni in a cocktail bar, many bars are also finding that the talent they once had in high supply has become harder to find. This is where a bottled cocktail can provide high quality consistency and value for both bars and home cocktail enthusiasts alike.

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The Backstory on Drinks Network

Hayden Wood | Drinks Network Founder & Managing Director

New Liquor Marketplace Finds New Ways to Help Brands Navigate eCommerce

In 2020, Drinks Network Managing Director Hayden Wood (Author: The Liquid Kitchen, Good Wine, Bad Language Great Vineyards book series) realised the potential of utilising the educational content as a base to drive online liquor sales.

“On the eve of the 2020 COVID lockdown, we decided to flip Drinks Network and all its assets into one sexy online marketplace – utilising super powerful digital tech. We conducted extensive research and learned from the fashion industry, such as ‘The Iconic’, that the liquor industry has a long way to go to engage on a more personal level digitally – so we’re leading that charge helping shoppers learn more, buy smarter.” said Hayden. 

 “Our team believes strongly that there is a largely untapped market of shoppers wanting value-added, or good times as we call it, and engage through story-selling, rather than lowest price wins,” Hayden concluded. 

In addition to their own audience, Drinks Network offers serviced marketplace solutions for multi-channel. This includes product listing management and sales fulfillment across platforms like Amazon, eBay, and Google Shopping. Collectively a brand can reach 3.5 million Aussie shoppers each week with all sales showing in one Drinks Network dashboard.

Drinks Network was awarded the Minimal Viable Product (MVP) Grant in 2021 from the New South Wales Treasury Department, which has allowed the business to invest in advanced technology to increase Drinks Network platform performance.

For more information about Drinks Network Services, or to become a vendor visit:

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Hayden Wood

Hayden Wood

Not your average bartender, author, visionary and tech start-up founder. Favorite drink – Champagne

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