Erich Phillips is a self-starter and entrepreneur from Dallas, Texas, in the US. After many rewarding years working for non-profit organisations, he and his wife, Dana, began their expatriate lives 10 years ago in China.
It was in Ningbo, in east China’s Zhejiang province where he built a community centre and restaurant to help bridge the culture gap between the East and the West.
After moving to Cambodia, Phillips quickly found likeminded friends and started the first distributing craft brewery in the Kingdom.
Phillips believes in the “Third Place”, which is where we go after work or outside of our home. It’s the place where everyone knows your name.
“Working in the food and beverage industry has been enjoyable, and the most rewarding aspect has been in the creation of a community,” he says.
In addition to starting a brewery, Phillips also established the Craft Brewer’s Association of Cambodia, Botanico Restaurant, and Craft Beer Garden on St 144. Philipps is also the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia.
“From every challenge comes an opportunity. These days, we are challenged by social distancing. Though this fatigued topic is a part of our everyday vocabulary, Beer Bar Tuk Tuk is a new word for us in Phnom Penh.
“The Beer Bar Tuk Tuk idea is simple and brings the community joy to your doorstep, while respecting our need for physical distancing.
“Every evening, we donate a few beers to one of our regular clients. After which, we encourage them to ‘Pay it Forward’ or ‘Beer it Forward’ to another friend in the neighbourhood,” Phillips says.
The ‘Beer it Forward’ concept is also simple – if someone buys you a beer, be kind and pay it forward by purchasing a beer for another friend.
Phillips designed this business model to reward people who are working from home.
“Show your team some gratitude by organising the Beer Bar Tuk Tuk to visit their house – with a thank-you card from you.
“You can happily call your friends and tell them that ‘Beer Bar Tuk Tuk is on their way’ and ‘I bought you a beer’, our staff then move to your friend’s house to gift them a cold Cerevisia Craft Beer on draft,” he says.
The Beer Bar Tuk Tuk serves draft craft beers, including Craft Brewery American Pale Ale, Centurion India Pale Ale, Great Glen Blonde Ale and Khmer Honey Blonde from Cerevisia Brewery, a rich nose with tonnes of honey and malt.
A glass of 330ml beer costs $3 while a case of 24 bottled beers goes for $36.
According to the owner, Cerevisia Craft Brewery has received recognition from National Geographic, Beer Advocate, and several regional publications.
“We bring locally crafted fresh draft beer to your door. For those who participate in ‘Beer it Forward’. This is a way to bring a bit more joy to your community. All you do is call our Beer Bar Tuk Tuk,” he says.
Locally crafted beer is brought to your door step. Also, ‘Beer it Forward’ is a way for you to gift a beer to a friend and ‘Pay it Forward’.
Once you call, the Beer Bar Tuk Tuk staff will visit your home/location. You then have a chance to fill out a card with your message after they arrive. Tell them your friends’ contact details, they will then deliver your gifted beer and note to your friends.
“Many of us need a community. Beer Bar Tuk Tuk’s efforts answer that need for connectivity but still play within the rules of physical distancing.
“Social distancing doesn’t mean you have to drink alone. Beer it forward. Get your beer and buy your friend one too and we’ll deliver it. Raise a glass and lift your spirits,” Phillips says.
While some countries have restricted alcohol consumption, others say drinking moderately can be a stress reliever and a necessary restorative.
In Phnom Penh, two Beer Bar Tuk Tuks were on the road over the Khmer New Year holiday.
“The out-pouring of support for our crazy idea has been overwhelming and we appreciate it. This idea started as a way to share a beer with friends, in this socially distancing world we find ourselves in.
“Thank you for embracing this idea . . . we appreciate you as part of our community! Continue to ‘Pay It Forward’!,” says Phillips.
The Beer Bar Tuk Tuk opens from 5-9pm from Monday to Friday, and from 12-9pm on weekends.
For details, visit Beer Bar Tuk Tuk Facebook page at Beerbartuktuk, Botanico, Cerevisia Craft Brewery, or Craft Beer Garden & BBQ or email: [email protected] or call 078 300 551.