Two creatives lose their jobs, walk into a bar and find a punchline

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 15 April 2021
Alex Light and Matty Graham

Matty Graham and Alex Light, both in the media industry, lost their jobs in 2020 during the pandemic.

They enjoy a beer and a game at their local bowling club so they decided to start a new business to support bowlos.

Bowlo Draught was born, owned by Matty and Alex, brewed by Hairyman Brewery, with bowling clubs having the option of their own logos on the cans. Supplies start flowing this weekend. 

The two met working at VICE Media. Alex was the commercial director for Asia-Pacific and Matty client creative partner.

“I’ve been involved with my local bowlo at Bondi for a few years now as a volunteer director and member of our pennants team," says Matty. bowlo beer

"During this time. I’ve seen small clubs struggle to stay alive due to COVID-19, declining revenues and dwindling membership bases. Sadly, some have been sold off or folded.

"When Alex and I started talking over a beer, we realised we wanted to celebrate the value of the local clubs, the sense of community they provide, and to help this iconic Aussie identity stay alive."

They decided to create a good beer and help bowling clubs survive. They hope the brand will grow to have a footprint in every bowling club in Australia.

“It is as much about enjoying a beer as it is about making a difference," says Matty.

"Between us we have a bunch of experience building and growing brands, but it's even better to make one of our own. It’s also been great learning about the other parts of the beer industry, and it’s something we’ve enjoyed doing together with Bowlo Draught." 

Bowlo Beer is 100% Australian owned and made from all Australian ingredients, has 4.2% alcohol volume, and is described as approachable and refreshing. 

The founders of Bowlo Beer have, since losing their jobs, returned to the media and advertising industry, Matty part-time at Cummins&Partners and Alex with consulting gigs. 

But they've ensured they have enough time to push ahead with their beer. 

Alex: "Ive been doing less and less of that in the last couple of months as we have been accelerating and getting close to launch. Bowlo Beer is very much my priority and how I spend 90% of my time at the moment."

Matty: "We think we're creating something that hasn't really been done before. It's 100% Australian owned and independent and brewed for a sport and a culture that doesn't really get a lot of love in mainstream circles.

"We brewed it with real love and genuine intent. We certainly hope that clubs and bowlers, the people who live within the local communities, resonate with what we're trying to do here, which is to keep the spirit of bowling clubs alive.

"They're not making new bowling clubs. They tend to disappear, pretty frequently actually. We think that's a little bit of a travesty because they are one of the more wonderful Australian institutions."

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