Strong Partnership Brews Between Europa and Beerwulf

Specialist 3pl logistics provider Europa Warehouse is helping ecommerce brand Beerwulf buck the trend that has seen overall beer sales across the UK market drop by 14.2 per cent in 2021.

Europa Warehouse – part of Europa Worldwide Group – provides a range of value-added capabilities at its award-winning, integrated sites in Dartford, Birmingham, and Corby, with a combined 1,072,000 sq. ft of dedicated warehouse and logistics space.

The online beer retailer, which is owned by Heineken and specialises in home bar taps, kegs, and beer cases, has partnered with Europa Warehouse since 2020. This came just as demand for its products soared during lockdown and Beerwulf smashed its sales forecasts by 150 per cent.

During this time, people were looking for more creative ways to make their pad the pub as national restrictions prevented socialising in the more traditional ways. Beerwulf was quick to respond to this trend, putting plans in place with Europa to accelerate the distribution of goods so drinkers remained connected with their favourite brewers and beers.

With the help of a dedicated team at Europa’s state-of-the-art warehouse facility in Birmingham, the firm supported Beerwulf with its inventory challenges, so it had clear visibility of current stock levels. This meant it could better plan to meet growing consumer demand.

At this point, Europa also stepped up to deliver greater innovations from an order fulfilment perspective, ensuring its pick, pack and delivery processes were as agile, dependable, and affordable as possible for Beerwulf.

This involved a complete process transition at the warehouse, where bottled stock was phased out and replaced by prepacked beer compositions to boost volume and increase capacity. Some categories that were in the portfolio of Beerwulf’s previous UK 3pl logistics provider also had to be integrated across into existing stock levels at the Birmingham facility.

With bulky, heavy products and low margins, the cost of doing business has always been one of the biggest challenges for Beerwulf. Europa offered the right balance of sector experience and a focused, hands-on approach, responding flexibly to the needs of an expanding enterprise.

Jacques Muller, Group Head of Operations at Beerwulf, said: “It was clear from the outset that Europa was the perfect fit for our business, offering us a collaboration that we could trust and grow together, because of our shared values and ethos.

“We’ve really lent on Europa’s e-commerce expertise to help us navigate through a rapidly changing marketplace during one of the most critical times in our history. The team provided a highly personalised and responsive service, expediting operational capabilities at the warehouses when it was most needed so we could satisfy consumer expectations.

“Our partnership has always been about Beerwulf and Europa working together to find the right solutions. Although it has not always been an easy journey, we have no doubt the team will continue to meet our evolving needs, and it’s great to have them on board.”

Once the initial Covid demand had stabilised, Europa and Beerwulf began to plan for maximum capacity. During the course of 2021, the focus was on building up the right space and tailoring the processes in Birmingham to ensure this objective could be met.

This culminated in the Black Friday sales peak last November, when the average daily capacity of goods moving through the facility rocketed by over 3,000%, from 2,500 kegs to a total keg volume in excess of 40,000 on one particular day.

Despite the immense demand for Beerwulf’s products having exceeded all previous fulfilment records, Europa was still able to deliver optimal quality and scalable services in line with these significant fluctuations.

Since then, Europa and Beerwulf have sought to achieve a more sustainable maximum capacity throughout the warehouse. With the built-in flexibility of the team and a stable base we are now much better equipped to deal with the volatile volume development.

Sally Watson, Head of Sales and Customer Service at Europa Warehouse, commented: “It has been quite a journey in our relationship with Beerwulf, and our teams have worked incredibly hard to deliver for our client on a day-to-day basis but also at peak times.

“We are always looking for ways to improve our service and believe this is best achieved when there is a genuine partnership in place, built on mutual respect, flexibility, and an in-depth understanding of a client’s commercial goals.

“Beerwulf is a fantastic operation, with a great reputation, and we are very proud to be their logistics partner of choice. Our team will continue to go the extra mile to exceed their expectations as they enter the next phase of their business development strategy.”

Most recently, as Beerwulf has moved from start-up to scale-up as it strives to achieve sustained exponential growth, Europa has set about implementing an entirely new operational interface at the Birmingham warehouse. This embraces the very latest technology to keep production flowing and optimise pick rates to achieve maximum outputs.

It has just gone live and is already allowing for more proactive planning to happen all year round. This is due to improved automated stock take capabilities, greater product segmentation and clarity around discounted lines.

There are also plans afoot to support Beerwulf with the introduction of an enhanced delivery management solution. This will enable customers to choose the final mile supplier once dispatched from Europa’s facilities.

Europa Warehouse in Birmingham, at Prologis Park in Minworth, is situated within a 180,000 sq. ft facility, which employs a team of 100 in total and is also home to Europa Road, the firm’s European road freight service.

At Midlands Logistics Park in Corby, Europa Warehouse is a £60m, 750,000 square foot, 3pl site and is Europa’s largest and most high-tech facility. Construction was completed at the height of the pandemic and opened in June 2020. It boasts a 300-strong team, including in-house engineering specialists, who look after the site’s impressive £11m automation system.

In Dartford on Shield Road, Europa Warehouse has a 25,000 pallet-storage capacity and is the operational hub. It has direct input to the domestic and European network, and proximity to key UK ports.

All three sites are Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) approved with system integration and bespoke IT solutions. Each provides a range of services, including e-commerce fulfilment, production services, inventory management, packing, labelling, special deliveries, final assembly, quality control and critical parts management.

Europa is one of the most advanced logistics firms, with a team of over 1,300 and 15 sites operating across the UK today. It aims to set the pace in the market at a time of immense change and when there is greater recognition of the vital role that transport, logistics and warehouses plays in the economy.

Beerwulf is based in Amsterdam and recently celebrated its fifth birthday. The ecommerce platform offers consumers a one-stop-shop to bring the bar home, with a range of unique home bar taps, kegs, and accessories, as well as curated beer cases. Beerwulf has a presence across ten European markets.

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