Two years ago brothers Jack, Alex and Dan Boyman were working on promoting their cocktail membership app, Sip. To market their new business, they set up bars offices in Toronto to spread awareness. Businesses called them back: but, for the bar. A new business, SIPBAR, was born. It has been serving up refreshingly convenient cocktails for Toronto ever since. We sat with the founders to chat more about their business and why adaptability is so important.
- Tell us about SIPBAR.
SIPBAR is the bar that comes to you. We are an online booking platform to order a full service bar that is brought directly to your event. From the alcohol to the ice to the bar materials required for service, we arrange the full bar set-up for you. Our amazing team of bartenders will serve premium beer, wine, spirits and both signature and custom cocktails. We can also help you arrange food catering and anything else that you might need to set up a successful event. What am I going to serve? How much do I need? How do I arrange the ice and bar materials? How am I going to serve it? Where am I going to find a great bartender? SIPBAR answers these questions with ease. We have created a system that takes the load off of you, while making you look good in front of your boss, colleagues, family and friends.
SIPBAR’s online booking process makes the process of arranging your bar seamless and easy. In a few minutes, you can set up an entire event and then we take care of everything else.
SIPBAR started as a marketing strategy for your app called Sip. What was the moment that sparked your decision to pivot and focus on what you’re doing now instead?
From April to December 2016, Dan, Alex and I were serving SIPBARs alongside the Sip App and reinvesting the proceeds back into the App (which no longer exists). In that time frame we completed over 80 events, just the three of us. It was during our 2016 year-end review that we compared the progress and potential of the two projects and we asked the question, “what would this company look like if we made SIPBAR our main focus?” Of course, serving 80 events (including certain days with 3 simultaneous events) with just 3 bartenders (us) is not sustainable… so, we began to model out how we could make SIPBAR scale. In early 2017, we shut down the Sip App, hired our first team member, Edmund Taylor, and brought on a few amazing bartenders to help build our brand and service our growing demand. It was the moment of realizing that we had a significant number of clients who loved our service, in addition to identifying a gap and an unserviced need in the industry, that really drove our decision to push forward with SIPBAR.
“If you build it, they will come” – How have you built a community around SIPBAR?
The nature of a bar is inherently social. As such, through the growth of the SIPBAR brand and as our level service has become more refined, the SIPBAR community has grown organically around us. There are two sides to it: our clients and our bartending team. Our clients really love how easy we make things for them. They also love our high level of execution and premium service. As a result, SIPBAR has grown significantly by word of mouth. Our clients have become our community and it feels like they are really excited to introduce SIPBAR to their friends, family and colleagues.
Our team in the office and our bartenders have become SIPBAR evangelists and a close knit community, we actually refer to them as the SIPBAR family. My brothers and I are so grateful for our incredible team. They have become the champions of SIPBAR, as well as the face of the brand. They are all proud to work with SIPBAR and we have become close friends. The energy that the team brings to the company is a massive part of our success. It is truly amazing and gives us a great sense of fulfillment to have a team that cares so deeply about SIPBAR.
If you could provide a SIPBAR for ANY party, whose would it be and why?
There isn’t one specific party that stands out as the holy grail of all parties. However, we do love being involved with leading cultural events in Toronto, as well as charitable events to benefit our city’s incredible hospitals. For example, we are the Official Bar of Toronto Fashion Week and Toronto Fashion Heals (a fundraiser for Sick Kids Hospital), and the Official Bar for Tech Toronto events. As we expand to new markets, we hope to continue to service these important events and we would love to service events surrounding some of the renowned awards ceremonies.
You’ve recently launched Master Class – an extension of SIPBAR that sends a mixologist to events to teach people how to make cocktails – do you have any other ideas in the works?
- The Masterclass is an awesome natural product extension. It provides an engaging experience for smaller groups who are interested in learning mixology and creating sophisticated cocktails, it’s a ton of fun! Beyond this, we are focused on growing SIPBAR and creating the best experience possible for our customers. All ideas at the moment point to creating a more efficient, elevated and scalable SIPBAR service that will impress our clients and their event guests.
What’s the best part of running a business with your brothers?
- We are very lucky as brothers to have grown up as closely as we have, spending a lot of time together. Now, by sharing a business, the endless time that we spend together has become a constant, never-ending brainstorm of plotting our next moves. Frequently, our Sunday night family dinners turn into hardcore think tanks about SIPBAR.
It’s fun when work=life and life=work, when you love what you do. The best part is that we are always figuring out how to improve the business, whether on vacation or at the office.
And the hardest?
We’re brothers 🙂
Tell us a secret. Don’t worry we won’t tell.
We’ve heard that before ;).
Craziest SIPBAR story, GO!
What happens at SIPBAR, stays at SIPBAR. Actually, in the beginning of 2017, we had a significant number of events in one day for the first time. It was pure mayhem pulling it off! Dan was driving around like mad, our resources were stretched thin and we had bartenders going from one shift into the next across the downtown core. Then, Alex got a phone call for an additional event on that same day starting at 1pm. Luckily, this new client’s office was across the street from ours. This company booked a bar for that same afternoon starting at 3pm. We accepted the deal and somehow made this extra event happen – Alex stepped up and bartended the event himself like the good ol’ days! Serious credit to the team in Toronto for that hustle.
We have always found that the tough days, when your bandwidth is stretched to the max, are the best opportunity to learn, adjust, and scale your processes. Now, we execute several events per day on a regular basis.