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It appears not everyone is stoked on Fred Flasks

March 02, 2015 Fred Flasks

Aussie Company Wants You To Sneak Alcohol Into Festivals & Gigs

A Melbourne-based start-up company is encouraging Australian music lovers to sneak alcohol into festivals, licensed venues and sporting events in response to what they see as excessive alcohol prices.

Fred Flask Pty Ltd is currently selling disposable pocket hip flasks, called ‘Fred Flasks’, around Australia and have embarked on a social media advertising campaign — despite objections from festival organisers and the government. The marketing line says punters will “save cash” and give them the “Freedom to drink what you want, anytime, any place, anywhere.”

“Not only did I lose my flask and its content, the flask was a 21st birthday present with my name and Happy Birthday engraved in it.”

Co-Founder and CEO of the business Jake McKeon told theMusic.com.au today that the idea was first formed a couple of years ago, but not knowing how to set up a company the idea was shelved until last year.

“It started when I was actually caught with my aluminium flask heading into BDO [Big Day Out],” McKeon told theMusic.com.au. “Not only did I lose my flask and its content, the flask was a 21st birthday present with my name and Happy Birthday engraved in it. Security picked it up with a metal scanner.

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“The reason why I took a flask with me is because I was already paying nearly $200 for the ticket, I didn’t want to have to spend north of $10 a drink at the festival.”

Launched in May last year, the company have almost sold out of their initial 30,000 units with almost 4,000 customers serviced.

Not everyone is enthusiastic about the approach however, and concerns have been raised over the lack of RSA messaging around their advertising and the implications of smuggling alcohol into licensed venues and areas.

A spokesperson for the Federal Assistant Minister for Health, Senator Fiona Nash, told theMusic.com.au today that they’re not supportive of the product, but it was up to Facebook to monitor the advertising on the platform.

“The Coalition Government encourages the responsible consumption of alcohol,” said the spokesperson.

“The States and Territories are responsible for liquor licensing and supply of alcohol. ‘Smuggling’ alcohol into licensed events is likely to breach the conditions of that event.”

As well as the federal authorities, individual event promoters have expressed their displeasure at the concept.

‘”Smuggling’ alcohol into licensed events is likely to breach the conditions of that event.”

“We have received emails from two-three event organisers expressing their displeasure at our product, however our response is always pretty straight forward,” McKeon said. “Flasks have been around for a long time, we’re simply offering an alternative to aluminium flasks. We feel that by offering our flasks, we are allowing people who may not be able to afford going to events (with the price of drinks), to actually go out, attend festivals and have a good time.”

McKeon says that binge drinking is not driving the Fred Flask concept and that the product may even discourage the use of illicit drugs, which have become a key target for authorities in the past 24 months.

“The reason for Fred Flasks wasn’t exclusively about overpriced drinks,” he said, “it was the lack of alternatives — or safe alternatives.

“Illicit drugs are cheaper and pre-drinking yourself drunk isn’t a great idea for a ten-hour festival. When you think about the price of water at festivals, we think water filled Fred Flasks provide value for the punter there too.”

Regardless of any resistance from the industry or authorities, Fred Flasks are pushing ahead. In the next six weeks they expect to be merchandising the product in store fronts and hope to secure country-wide contracts with liquor chain stores by the end of the year. In the longer term, they have retail space like convenience stores in their sights.

“If we can make our flasks accessible on shopfronts around Australia, then maybe we can force a stop to the overly inflated price of alcohol.”

Fred Flasks can be purchased online at www.fredflasks.com

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Originally Published as “Aussie Company Wants You To Sneak Alcohol Into Festivals & Gigs” by Scott Fitzsimons for themusic.com.au