Sebastien Tron takes his beer seriously. Very seriously.
“I would probably be a session IPA,” says the co-founder and CEO of Hopsy, when asked what beer he’d like to be. “Somewhat light in alcohol, but very fresh, crisp, and hoppy.”
Born and raised in Belgium, it only makes sense he’s given this a lot of thought. He’s had plenty of time to try a lot of beers to get a good idea.
“Over time, I developed my taste and went from lighter beers to more complex ones,” says Tron. “When I moved to the U.S. three years ago, I discovered many new tastes that were experimented by local craft breweries, and I loved that.”
While the man behind California’s unique beer delivery company might have had a passion for a good brewski, he had zero training. Before Hopsy, Tron was working at a marketing consulting firm in Paris when he decided to move to the United States to get his MBA at the University of California, Berkeley, focusing on the food and beverage industry.
It was there that something clicked.
“I started playing with ideas in beer in October 2014 while still in school,” says Tron. “I pitched the idea to my friends and classmates and to some local brewers. After I found the right idea behind Hopsy, I gathered as much feedback as possible before even spending money on it.”
And people were definitely interested.
So in April 2015, Tron got to work and took one lone desk on WeWork Berkeley’s fifth floor. A month later, he hired his first employee. In June, his co-founders joined him on a full-time basis, working hard over the summer to raise “close to half a million pre-seed from local business angels.” After that, Hopsy’s warehouse and retail space was born in Albany, California.
“We did a soft launch in December, and the full launch in January,” says Tron. “The feedback has been tremendous. We sold out every week for the past six weeks. We pick up the beers on Wednesday, and most of them are gone by Saturday.”
And no wonder it’s such a hot ticket: Hopsy isn’t just a retail store a person goes to pick up brews. It’s a delivery system, bringing the suds to you.
“It’s a consumer need,” says Tron.“By offering home delivery, we make it more convenient than ever before for beer lovers to enjoy local craft beer straight from their favorite local breweries.”
Tron makes sure he only showcases the best of the best, too. When working with breweries, he always looks for quality, diversity, location (within 50 miles of the warehouse), and limited distribution.
And the company is only growing. After the most recent launch in East Bay, Tron says Hopsy will open a new location in San Francisco very soon.
We told you he was serious.
“Beer is my passion,” says Tron. “And it’s awesome to be able to do what you love.”
Photos: Sarah Gerber