Unlocking the Beer Fridge with Jake Bassett: A Craft Beer Journey

Show Notes

With an undeniable passion for craft beer and an unyielding commitment to risk-taking, Jake Bassett's story is one of remarkable success. Little did he know that his dreams of entrepreneurship would take him on an unexpected journey, ultimately leading him to build a thriving business that celebrates the independent breweries across the country. What remarkable adventures await Jake next?

The resources mentioned in this episode are:

  • Check out Beer Fridge's website  to explore their craft beer subscription and gift box options.
  • Follow Beer Fridge on social media for updates on new beer selections and special offers.
  • Consider gifting a Beer Fridge subscription or gift box for a unique present for friends and family during special occasions.
  • Subscribe to Beer Fridge to receive a curated selection of craft beers based on your style preferences, with new beers every month.
  • If you're a craft brewery interested in partnering with Beer Fridge, reach out to Jake and Travis to discuss potential collaborations.

Challenges of opening Beer Fridge

Starting a business like Beer Fridge brings a unique set of challenges, especially in the highly regulated and competitive craft beer industry. Entrepreneurs must carefully navigate these obstacles and integrate their business operations with state-specific regulations. Managing and prioritizing compliance with these regulations can play a significant role in the long-term success of the business. Additionally, forging strong partnerships is essential to growth, particularly with third-party shipping partners who specialize in alcohol shipping programs. During the podcast, Jake Bassett acknowledged the challenges he and Travis faced while establishing Beer Fridge. He highlighted the importance of finding a balance between managing cash flow and overseeing compliance requirements, which vary from state to state. Expanding too quickly or taking excessive risk could harm the company's financial stability or reputation. Perseverance was vital for Jake and Travis to overcome these hurdles and become successful entrepreneurs in the craft beer space.


Timestamped summary of this episode:

00:00:00 - Introduction,
Scott Cowan welcomes Jake Bassett, co-founder of Beer Fridge, a craft beer subscription and gift box company based in Bellingham, Washington.

00:05:22 - Growing up in Puyallup,
Jake talks about his childhood in Puyallup and how he grew up to be an outdoorsy person.

00:09:02 - How Jake and Travis met,
Jake talks about how he met Travis while working for a local company in Bellingham, and how they became good friends.

00:10:29 - The birth of Beer Fridge,
Jake and Travis brainstormed several ideas for a project to work on together, but the idea of a beer box company stood out. They started working on the idea seriously during the pandemic, which took about a year and a half, and officially launched in February 2022.

00:13:35 - Challenges of opening Beer Fridge,
Jake talks about the challenges they faced in opening the business, including the lengthy licensing process and committing to inventory.

00:15:18 - Launching a Beer Subscription Service,
Jake Bassett discusses the launch of Beer Fridge, their beer subscription service, and how they started with a presale. They focused on independent breweries and launched with a variety of curated boxes. They refined their product offering over time to make it easier to source and curate the beer.

00:21:19 - Criteria for Beer Selection,
Beer Fridge selects beer exclusively from independent breweries and focuses on smaller batches. They want to tell the story of each brewery and help customers learn more about the beer they're drinking. They're also rolling out a bottle shop on their website to allow customers to buy more of the beer they love.

00:24:56 - Focus on Storytelling,
Beer Fridge aims to tell the story of each brewery and the beer they offer. They want to provide customers with more information about the beer they're drinking and the brewery that makes it. They're working on creating tasting notes and a landing page for each beer, as well as a menu to provide more information about each product.

00:27:34 - Quality Control and Brewery Partnerships,
Beer Fridge works closely with independent breweries to ensure quality control and protect the beer during shipping. They also partner with breweries to provide marketing and help customers discover new beer. Brewery partnerships are important, and Beer Fridge strives to provide a seamless experience for customers, whether they're sending a gift box or buying beer for themselves.

00:29:21 - The Name Beer Fridge,
The name Beer Fridge came to Jake Bassett and Travis Holtby while brainstorming names for their beer subscription service. The name encapsulates the central role that beer fridges play in the lives of craft beer drinkers, and it wasn't trademarked, so they were able to trademark it for their business.

00:30:42 - Attention to Detail,
Jake discusses the importance of attention to detail in their beer selection process and how they are constantly looking for ways to improve the customer experience, such as changing the wording on their checkout page.

00:31:33 - Best Selling Boxes,
Jake reveals the IPA and Bellingham Born and Brewed boxes are their top sellers, while other varieties such as Hazy IPAs and ciders are also popular.

00:35:32 - Beer Preferences,
Jake admits to not being a huge fan of sours and some experimental dark beers, but enjoys trying new things and appreciates the wide range of beer flavors available to customers.

00:39:19 - Monthly Subscription and Corporate Gifts,
Jake discusses their scalable and sustainable business model, offering monthly subscriptions and customizable corporate gifts for various industries, including real estate agents and sales teams.

00:45:11 - Packaging and Shipping,
Jake explains their packaging and shipping process, which includes refrigerated bags to protect the beers during transport and plans to expand their refrigeration capacity in the near future.

00:46:38 - Third-Party Shipping and Future Plans,
Beer Fridge uses third-party shipping partners for alcohol shipping, and they plan to introduce unique products like exclusive brewery boxes and award-winning beer boxes.

00:51:00 - Digital Marketing,
Beer Fridge leverages digital marketing, primarily Google and social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and email marketing to reach their audience.

00:54:14 - Coffee and Food Scene in Bellingham,
Narrative Coffee Co and Makeworth Market are great coffee spots while Carnell has amazing cuisine in Bellingham. The hosts also discuss being outdoorsy and hanging out at breweries with their families.

01:00:06 - Something Embarrassing About Travis,
Travis wears a blingy gold chain he got from Goodwill every day, which fits his personality as a vintage sports fanatic.

01:01:49 - Motivation to Start a Business,
Jake talks about the motivation behind starting a business and jumping into the chaotic journey of getting any project off the ground when nobody's asking you to.

01:03:37 - Starting Small Businesses and Taking Risks,
Jake and Travis started Beer Fridge as two normal people who wanted to try and manifest their idea. They encourage others to take risks and try something new, even if it means feeling stress and anxiety along the way.

01:05:21 - Pursuing What Is Right for You,
Scott and Jake discuss that there is nothing wrong with working a nine to five job, as long as it is the right fit for the individual. Jake emphasizes that it is important to bet on oneself and pursue something that is inspiring and interesting.

01:06:11 - Embracing Failure and Feeling All the Feelings,
Jake shares that failure is a possible outcome of taking risks and starting something new, but it is better than feeling stuck in a job where risk-taking is not encouraged. He also emphasizes that feeling stress, anxiety, and fear of failure is part of the journey and should be embraced rather than avoided.

01:08:33 - Building a Small Business and Supporting Independent Breweries,
Scott praises Beer Fridge for supporting smaller, independent breweries and providing consumers with access to unique beer options. He expresses excitement for what Beer Fridge will continue to achieve in the future.

01:09:43 - Conclusion and Thanks,
Scott and Jake conclude the episode by thanking each other and expressing appreciation for the conversation. Scott wishes the best for Beer Fridge, and Jake thanks Scott for giving a small business like theirs a platform to share their story.

Some of the People and Places Mentioned in this Episode


Each episode we will have a chat with someone who has a great story to share about Washington State. From artists, to business owners.  Musicians to athletes. Exploring Washington State will showcase the beauty and creativity here in Washington State.

You can find all our podcast episodes on our Exploring Washington State Podcast Page.

If you have any suggestions for guests for a future episode, please send us an email.

Want other great ideas of places to visit, or to find out more about people who are making amazing things in Washington State  visit Explore Washington State.

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