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Client Stories: An Interview with Bar Buoy

8th Jul 2024

If you’re new here, my Client Stories blog is a quarterly ongoing series on sharing my talented client’s stories online. I have a regular chat with my loveliest clients and feature their business story along with the photos from our shoot together.

July’s Client Story features Bar Buoy Cocktails who I’ve worked with for years now since the very beginning of their cocktail making journey. And, I couldn’t think of anything more fitting before summer, to share our many cocktail shoots on the beach with you!

Together we’ve built a collection of gorgeous imagery to reflect their brand and ethos over the years. Their delicious cocktails are ready to shake awake and made in small batches! I’ve had a good chat with Ria, Co-founder of Bar Buoy, and asked her to tell me little more about the business herself and husband Tim have created and plans for 2024…



Cocktail photoshoot for Bar Buoy Cocktails Photoshoot for Founders, Tim and Ria Ball, of Bar Buoy Cocktails



When and why did you decide to start Bar Buoy cocktails?

Our story began with a beach, a sunset and a flask full of a carefully crafted Margarita that we shared with friends.  The feedback was unanimously good and the question was soon asked, “why don’t you bottle it?” So we did!  

We started out very small scale and basically ran the business as a side hustle to our day jobs.  But before long we realised the potential and decided to commit full-time.  Now we have two employees and a production facility in Exmouth as well as numerous on-trade and retail customers alongside our online business. 


How many cocktails have you made since the start? (roughly)

Ooh that’s got me reaching for my calculator!   And after a few sums I can confirm that we’ve made over 125,000 cocktails to date!  Going forward if I was ever asked again I’ll be able to give an exact answer as we’ve recently starting using new production software which tracks the volume we produce in hectolitres.   


What’s the best thing about your job, or working together?

We both said the other day that running Bar Buoy is our favourite job to date!    I’m not sure if it’s the adrenaline and pace of the business, or the food and drink industry as a whole but it constantly feels exciting and there is definitely not a dull day.   It’s also really different (and satisfying!) having a product based business rather than both of our previous businesses which were service based. 



Beach Drinks Photoshoot for Bar Buoy Cocktails



Tell us a little about your favourite cocktail.

I think I can safely answer for us both and say that we LOVE a Margarita. 


What does a typical day at Bar Buoy HQ look like for you?

I’m not sure there is ever a typical day but a typical week would involve our team meeting first thing on a Monday morning to plan what needs to happen when.  Then Tuesday – Thursday would usually involve sales meetings / marketing initiatives / supplier visits / customer training and checking in with Toby our Production Supervisor to ensure everything is running smoothly at HQ and orders are on track.   There’s also normally at least one evening networking event too.  

By Friday we’re often pretty exhausted but we do have a habit of starting the weekend with a cocktail – a thought that keeps us going on the longer days! 


Which photoshoot has been your favourite?

I think the beach shoot at sunset has to be up there.  But I’m loving the recent “on location” shoots at different properties around Devon too.  They are providing a real mix of content which is invaluable. 



Beach Photoshoot for Bar Buoy Cocktails Brand Photoshoot for Bar Buoy Cocktails



What’s been a highlight in your business journey so far?

That’s a hard one.    I’m so proud of everything we’ve achieved so far but none of it has been easy and it’s taken a lot of hard work behind the scenes so I’d say it’s been more about the ‘milestones’ we’ve achieved rather than ‘highlights’.  And as the business changes so do the milestones that matter the most. 


What does the next year hold for Bar Buoy?

We have a lot going on in the pipeline but most excitingly we’re about to launch some ready-to-drink cans which will be game changers for beach life and sunsets. 


You can find Bar Buoy on Instagram and shop their cocktails from their online shop or in farm shops and stockists around the South West!

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