Tradie’s ‘phenomenal’ Dan Murphy’s deal
Codie Palmer worked as a sparky for a decade before giving it up to pursue his passion for rum.
The result was Illegal Tender Rum Co, an international award-winning rum distillery and restaurant he and partner Hayley Wells have run from Dongara on Western Australia's Coral Coast since 2015.
He said it was "very scary" to take that initial leap of faith.
"I sold my house, car and all my toys and put it all in to the business," he said.
"Going from having a reliable income to not knowing when the next pay cheque was coming was tough."
But the business took off, winning a slew of prestigious, international awards over the years.
Then, coronavirus struck.
The company was in the middle of expanding its distillery premises, but COVID-19 restrictions forced Mr Palmer to close his cellar door, which brought in 80 per cent of the brand's revenue.
The 32-year-old had to let go of five team members out of his team of eight within the first few weeks, and he told news.com.au it was a "very emotional time".
Then, he realised a drastic pivot was needed, so the company began producing hand sanitiser.
The demand was so intense the business was soon receiving up to three emails a minute, with Mr Palmer and Ms Wells working 12 to 18-hour days for 35 days straight to keep up.
"We were absolutely exhausted - sometimes I'd sleep in the distillery," he said.
But yet another stroke of fortune was coming.
Before the virus hit, Mr Palmer had been in contact with Dan Murphy's about the booze chain stocking his products.
As the fallout from the pandemic took hold, he was contacted by the company again to ask if it would be helpful to "fast track" the process to get Illegal Tender Rum Co liquor in stores quickly.
Mr Palmer jumped at the chance, and three of his rums will now be stocked in all WA Dan Murphy's stores by the end of May - a process which ordinarily would have taken 12 months to finalise.
"I told them it would be phenomenal if Dan Murphy's took our products on, and I couldn't be more grateful - it feels like the rug have been restored under our feet," Mr Palmer said.
"It is 100 per cent a gamechanger - to be able to say you've achieved any sort of increase in this world currently is huge, and I would say it will easily represent a 50 per cent increase for us."
His rum was also recently named the World's Best Column Distilled Rum (Five Year Old and Under), a welcome accolade he said arrived during "the darkest time" in the business's history.
Illegal Tender Rum Co is just one more than 200 mostly small producers to have had its products on-boarded with Endeavour Drinks, which includes brands such as Dan Murphy's, BWS and Cellarmasters.
The company is adding almost 2000 new products to its online and bricks and mortar stores to support suppliers who are struggling due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The initiative comes as the Independent Brewers Association revealed independent brewers around the country had reported a 69 per cent drop on sales as a direct result of the coronavirus fallout.
"We have been reaching out and continue to work closely with producers and industry bodies to see how we can provide support to suppliers in these difficult times," managing director Steve Donohue said.
"Our success as a business relies on the outstanding products that producers around the country create and supply us with, and it's important that we do as much as we can to support them during this time of crisis."
Many of these new products are being added to Dan Murphy's Direct from Supplier, an online marketplace, as well as physical stores.
Originally published as Tradie's 'phenomenal' Dan Murphy's deal