We asked BestBev's Shaheen Budhrani to talk about the brand, their vision and influences in life. Find out more about the people and inspiration behind BestBev!
On Best Bev
What do you love about beer? My favorite thing about beer is the fact that it’s so accessible. There is never a time when beer isn’t appropriate!
What inspired you to start Bestbev? Bestbev started out of frustration between my two partners and myself. We felt there wasn’t a big enough variety of craft beers and ciders in Hong Kong. There was also a distinct lack of good cider, of which I believe we have the biggest range of compared to our competitors.
What was the biggest challenge in starting Bestbev? Keeping up with the demand! In our first few months we were unable to anticipate how much Hong Kong really wanted what we were bringing in and found ourselves sold out of a lot of our products for a while. That’s when we realized we had something and we’ve been striving to ensure we always have stock. It’s not always easy, especially as the breweries we work with are so small.
You’re also interested in building community and supporting creativity; tell me more about this. It’s a bit boring being just a distributor. We all grew up in Hong Kong and love the events and party scene, so we do our best to integrate our craft beers and ciders with as many events as can. We’ve teamed up with a number of people in the creative industry in Hong Kong from local artists, designers, musicians and chefs. There’s nothing like supporting local talent in your own city.
How has Hong Kong’s F&B industry changed since you’ve been in it? The main thing we’ve seen is the demand for variety, whether it’s cheaper and simple or more expensive and complex. People in Hong Kong can be very transient in their choices and so after a while will start to demand different options. Food and beverage entrepreneurs are taking risks that are paying off because of this. I can think of some of our friends like Young Master Ales, NicePops and Bread & Beast. They are all doing great things to contribute to the food and beverage scene here and offer customers something different.
Tell me one thing about the Bestbev that most people don’t know about. Most people look at Bestbev and assume that my partners and I have been friends for a long time. We actually only met a few weeks before starting the company!
On Hong Kong
Five words you’d use to describe the drinking culture in Hong Kong. Innovative, growing, wild, variety, exciting
What do you love about Hong Kong? The two things I love are the energy and the convenience. It’s amazing how much you can get done in one day here. The energy of the city and the buzz around town is unmatched anywhere in the world.
What is something you want to see more of in Hong Kong? More local breweries! There have been a number of breweries that have opened up in the last year or so, but I believe there is space for more. Hopefully the breweries can then dominate in the Asian craft beer scene, which is growing very quickly, with interesting core and seasonal beers.
Tell me about your greatest influence in life. My parents. They are both hustlers that would never shirk a challenge or conform to society. They have taught me to be confident in my own values and beliefs and to never take no for an answer.
Your favorite vacation spot. At the moment I’m feeling an itch to explore the Philippines outside of the usual Manila/Cebu/Boracay. With a country of more than 7000 islands, I’m sure there is so much more to see. My favorite vacation spot in recent years has been South Korea. I love the vibe in Seoul and the creative nature of entrepreneurs out there.
Your biggest pet peeve. Expensive restaurants that serve commercial, crap, beer. They have no excuse to be serving the same beers that you can get at 7-11.
If you could have one superpower. Definitely teleportation. There are so many beautiful places I want to travel to without the hassle of going to airports, and not to mention it’ll get me to my meetings faster!
The perfect day for you would be… A morning hike to a secluded beach, where a tasty lunch awaits. Of course a small beach bar with great music and craft beers would be great. Sitting on the beach, hanging out with friends until the sun goes down. That would be perfect!
One piece of advice for budding entrepreneurs. If you’ve got an idea or product, don’t be afraid to talk to people about it. The only way you will know whether there is a market for it or if there are people willing to help you is to get feedback and share your ideas. Chances are instead of trying to copy you, people will connect you with others who may be able to help or even invest in your company.
One takeaway from being a part of HKMO. HKMO has provided us the platform to reach customers directly and to promote our beers and ciders. The process of getting feedback directly from consumers has been fun, especially when you’re able to share stories of the breweries we represent and their ideas behind the crazy beers they brew.
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