When Australian-based Lyre’s, a global non-alcoholic spirits brand, wanted to expand into the U.S. market, it needed a logistics partner that knew beverage logistics and could flex and scale quickly. It turned to South Plainfield, New Jersey-based Bettaway, an integrated material handling, transportation, and supply chain management company.
“We wanted someone with beverage logistics experience,” says Joshua Carlos, Lyre’s SVP for North America. “We had two critical needs: a partner who could immediately support us as a startup, with a direct-to-consumer strategy, filling e-commerce orders from our website; and scale and agility — someone who could provide the infrastructure resources, domain expertise, technology and speed to market, as our supply chain needs grew and evolved.”
A conversation with a former Snapple executive led to a meeting with John Vaccaro, President of Bettaway. The Lyre’s team outlined their needs, particularly an accelerated e-commerce-driven go-to-market plan.
“We put together a single-source solution that included warehousing and managing product flow, e-commerce order fulfillment, custom packaging, inventory tracking and visibility,” Vaccaro says.
Layered into that was a program of Bettaway’s 3PL services for phase two: extending Lyre’s into wholesale beverage distribution, taking in orders, building pallet-loads, and staging orders for shipping to wholesale distributors and other large customers, such as grocery and liquor stores.
Bettaway was able to integrate immediately with Lyre’s direct-to-consumer business for e-commerce fulfillment, while also providing a bundled 3PL service that supported Lyre’s B-to-B clients with larger-volume deliveries.
“They spun it up in less than a month,” Carlos says. “We got both services under one roof, and the technology capabilities to cost-effectively manage our supply chain and meet our customers’ needs. As the product’s popularity accelerated, that saved us in logistics and transportation costs and gave us the distribution infrastructure, resources and expertise to manage rapidly growing demand.”
From ‘Bottle One Case One’ to 12,000
Initially, Lyre’s shipped its products via ocean from Australia, with Bettaway providing 3PL drayage services from the Port of Los Angeles, then unloading and staging product in a Compton, California, facility.
Bettaway launched “bottle one case one” of its program for Lyre’s in April 2020, starting with 13 flavors and fulfilling its first e-commerce order. Bettaway’s East Coast distribution center, BevDS in Piscataway, New Jersey, was added later that summer with product arriving from the Port of New York and New Jersey. This enabled Bettaway to fulfill and deliver Lyre’s e-commerce orders via parcel carriers, within one or two days from the two DC locations on the East and West Coasts.
That initial April e-commerce order foreshadowed an untapped demand among consumers for Lyre’s products. Within 18 months, Bettaway was fulfilling more than 1,000 direct-to-consumer e-commerce orders a week for Lyre’s, peaking at nearly 12,000 e-commerce-ordered bottles for “dry January.”
Expanding Lyre’s Distribution Logistics
As the direct-to-consumer business grew, Lyre’s added a distributor channel, contracting with Southern Glazier’s Wine and Spirits as its more traditional wholesale spirits distributor. Bettaway then began receiving electronic orders for the distributor, building out palletized less-than-truckload and truckload shipments for delivery to Southern Glazier’s facilities. Later expansions added orders via Amazon and drop-shipments to major retailers like Target.
Carlos cited as a key advantage Bettaway’s flexibility and agility, as well as its systems and the ability to provide real-time reporting on inventory down to the SKU, product, and sell-by level. Its beverage experience and packing line systems also enabled flexibility for different types of packaging configurations, as well as efficient order management for both e-commerce and truckload or less-than-truckload distributor shipments.
“This was a classic beverage go-to-market start-up that had all the typical challenges and pressures,” Vaccaro says, noting that the market for non-alcoholic spirits is one of the fastest-growing segments in the beverage industry. “We consider it a real feather in our cap that Lyre’s came to us, and we have been able to support and scale as their business has grown and their supply chain needs evolved.”
An edited version of this article first appeared in the March 2022 issue of Heavy Duty Trucking.