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The power of stories: I started with $7, now my beers are in Woolworths

Jaz Wearin, Nort beer bottle on table with grilled corn and vegetables.
Here's what Jaz has learnt about storytelling by launching two successful beer businesses. (Images: Supplied).

Sign up to the Women's Money Movement newsletter to hear how Jaz quit her corporate job to launch a brewery with $7.

Jaz Wearin is no stranger to a beer.

Six years after co-founding the popular Northern Beaches brewery and pub Modus Operandi with just $7, she understands exactly what makes a beer drinker tick, how to grab their interest and how to leave a memory.

So when it came time to launch her non-alcoholic beer brand Nort in the second half of 2020, she knew exactly what she needed to nail: the distribution, the product, the marketing, and the story.

She already had working relationships with the major players like Woolworths and Dan Murphy’s so she quickly tapped into those when Nort was ready to fly.


Sam's story:

Her beers are now on Woolworths’ shelves - a sight she says she couldn't have predicted in her "wildest dreams".

Her seven years in brewing also meant she knew how to brew a superior non-alcoholic beer - Nort has already taken out the silver medal at the Australian International Beer Awards for non-alcoholic beer.

The final step to a phenomenal launch was clear: combine the power of marketing and storytelling to embed in Australian consumers’ consciousness.

Hone your story to succeed

“The thing that I really recognise is that marketing is such a successful tool,” Wearin told Yahoo Finance.

“Especially in the non-alcoholic space, there is a bit of an education piece around there, and I feel like marketing can really assist with that.”

She launched Nort with a huge campaign including radio, influencers and press - something she and her partner hadn’t done with Modus, simply because this time she needed to educate and appeal to a different consumer.

“Having seven years in the industry, I have learnt a lot about how consumers engaged with the product and I think that assisted in the phenomenal growth that we’ve had,” she said.

Cathy's story:

And when it comes to building a compelling story that connects with consumers, Wearin’s tips are simple: it has to come from passion.

“It’s well and good to have an idea that you think you can make money off of, but you have to be passionately involved, and you have to be able to tell a story,” she said.

It’s something that business owners need to take more seriously, Wizard Home Loans founder and serial entrepreneur Mark Bouris told Yahoo Finance.

While it used to be enough to simply have a useful and price-effective product, today businesses need more.

“If you want to market things today, you’ve got to have a story associated with it - and don’t make the story about yourself,” he said.

“It’s got to be a story about the social characteristics [of your consumer]. So if I’ve got the social characteristics in my story, then I’ve got a story that I can push into the media, because people are all of a sudden interested.

“If you’re going to create a business today… then you also have to have that social impact as a major part of the story.”

Briony's story:

For Nort, the story is clear: Australians struggling with lockdown have been trying to find alternative drinks.

And for Wearin, it was even more personal - she came up with the idea while pregnant and looking for a passable non-alcoholic drink.

“Like most of the world I was juggling a business, motherhood and trying to stay healthy and focused. As a brewery owner and beer fanatic, I soon realised there was a massive need to grow the non-alcoholic beer category and offer Aussies a non-alcoholic beer that is carefully crafted and rich in flavour,” she said.

The Nort story? It gives you options.

“A beer to balance with an alcoholic beverage so you can drive home, get out for that early morning surf or head into that board meeting.”

It’s a good story.

Sign up to the Women's Money Movement newsletter to hear how Jaz quit her corporate job to launch a brewery with $7.

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