Release that Witch Chapter 835
It took Roland a while to remember that Joint Chamber of Commerce was a supply and marketing cooperative organization formed under his leadership, whose main members were wealthy merchants from several big Fjords islands.
Although they had reached a basic mutual understanding last fall, the number of Chaos Drinks produced by Evelyn at that time had not been high enough to meet a wholesale's standard. As a consequence, each Chamber of Commerce had simply taken a few samples and had yet to officially put them on the market. This time, they came here to finalize the unfinished business.
Since the whole Western Region was preparing for the unification of the kingdom and that Roland was preoccupied with the upcoming winter attack and the desert mission plan, Joint Chamber of Commerce seemed to have, temporarily, slipped out of his mind. Now their arrival saved Roland trouble to look for them himself.
"Take them to the drawing room. I'll be right there," said Roland. After Barov replied a "yes" and withdrew, he turned to Nightingale and said, "Send for Tilly and Wendy here as well, for this is essentially the first collaboration between the Witch Union and the Sleeping Island."
All the merchants rose and bowed to Roland when he entered the drawing room.
It took Roland some time to match the faces with their names, except for his old acquaintance Margaret, Gammon and Marleen from Chamber of Commerce of Crescent Moon Bay. The others were Nibelung from Chamber of Commerce of Shallow Water Town and Atiyer from Chamber of Commerce of Sunset Island.
As soon as they sat down, Nibelung ventured, "Your Majesty, the samples we took last time caused a big stir among merchants on the island. Everybody fell in love with it after he tasted it. I assure you that Chaos Drinks will be the most successful and popular commodity in Fjords in the history of time once we start selling them!"
Atiyer chimed in. "And it isn't just a drink. For example, that fiery red spicy juice. Although it doesn't quench thirsts, it's a great sauce for steamed fish or barbeques. Besides, it can warm you up and refresh your spirit in a more efficient way than your white liquor. At least, white liquor will make you dizzy if you drink too much and it doesn't come in handy when you're on a ship, whereas that juice doesn't have such problems!"
Margaret nodded smilingly. "True. Not only merchants but many explorers are attracted to Chaos Drinks. A drink that can keep them warm without creating any side effects may save them in the event of a shipwreck."
Atiyer continued, "In this light, I suggest marking Chaos Drinks with various price tags. A drink with special functions like this should definitely have a higher price tag if we do a bit of marketing, not to mention that the number is limited."
Roland cast him an approving glance. Apparently, Atiyer had viewed the drink as some sort of energy drink. It was indeed true that successful merchants from Fjords were all good at sniffing out great potential business opportunities. They were able to notice the distinctive features of various Chaos Drinks just through a few samples. They knew selling them at different prices was the best way to reap profits.
Roland clapped his hands. "Since it has a good reception, we can move onto its sale according to the contract we signed earlier. I think none of you has objections to the pre-order price or the distribution for each district. However, you need to put a 30% deposit to pick up your orders. You should have brought sufficient gold royals, right?"
Since they had reached an agreement on the primary terms on Joint Chamber of Commerce last year, there were now not many details left. The main reason Roland sent for Tilly to witness the signature was to prove that he did not tamper with the commission rate. Since Tilly had promised to stay at Neverwinter and had agreed to send the witches on the Sleeping Island overtime to the Western Region, Roland felt it necessary to return something to demonstrate his sincerity.
Based on the "win-win contract" signed during the Months of Demons, it was agreed that 30% of both the deposit and final sale profits should go to City Hall, the Witch Union and the Sleeping Spell.
"Of course, Your Majesty." Nibelung grinned. "There's no cargo on my ship this time, but only shiny gold royals plus some masons and sailors."
"Then let's go check the goods out." Roland smiled.
The drink factory specially built for Evelyn was across the alcohol plant. In fact, the building looked more like a fully-guarded warehouse than a factory.
It did not take a lot of spaces. The first floor was only a little over 100 square meters. The building itself was constructed of concrete and bricks, windowless, with a solid iron gate posed as its sole entrance. Like an invaluable military base, the premises was guarded by the new recruits of the First Army.
After Roland led the merchants across the yard, into the building and down the basement along the staircases, they found themselves in a spacious room around three or four times bigger than the ground floor. Like a villa's wine cellar, the basement was segmented by neatly organized wooden wine racks. To avoid fire losses, no open flames or connected wires were allowed in here. They used skylight for the wine cellar's illumination. Because of this, the place was a little dim.
On each wooden rack rested two rows of wooden barrels, but not every barrel contained Chaos Drinks. Evelyn only produced one barrel of drinks every day and there were currently just 100-odd barrels in total, minus those consumed by Roland and distributed to the members of the Witch Union monthly.
Roland tapped the barrel, and the liquid in it produced a dull churning sound. "We can provide 20 barrels of Chaos Drinks per month. Each Chamber of Commerce will have five barrels on average. As long as our production remains the same, you'll get the same amount of products every time, no matter how long it takes you to sell them out. Whether you come to pick up your orders every three months or half a year, our stocks won't change. All the 100 barrels you can pick up this time are here on the wooden racks in the first row. Once you've checked the goods, I'll send men to deliver them to the dock area."
"You don't let us have a taste before the delivery?" Gammon was surprised.
"This isn't wine whose flavor grows mellower as time passes by." Roland shrugged. "Some Chaos Drinks do have a relatively long shelf life, but not every one of them does. Therefore, after the brewing is done, we have to first sterilize and preserve them.
"Like food, they'll go bad. The hotter, the faster. Sterilization can slow down the process. You don't need to know how it's done, but you ought to remember that once we open the wooden barrel, the drinks won't keep the taste as good as they initially do." Roland spread out his hands. "You can sell them as fast as you can or stock them. As long as you store them in shades and keep them cool, they should last for at least one or two months."
"But... as Atiyer has mentioned, each Chaos Drink is different. Some may be more popular than the others. If you don't let us taste them first, how are we going to choose the better ones?" Gammon questioned hesitatively. "Could you divide the drink in each barrel into four equal portions and then preserve them? In that case, we don't need to worry about which one we should pick."
Roland thought that would add Soraya and Lily's work by several times. He would certainly choose not to do something that consumed more industrial production resources but yielded no benefits. So he replied, "Sterilization isn't easy. If we divide the products into four portions, each Chamber of Commerce will have fewer stocks but more varieties of drinks, which would do no good to the sale. As to their flavors..." Roland paused for a second and then said, "The Northern Region and the Western Region have completely different needs for wines and drinks. The unpopular drinks here may be well received there. As merchants who transport goods to various places all the time, you should know it very well."
"Um, well..." Gammon was at a loss for words for a moment.
Roland secretly twitched his lips. He certainly would not allow them to taste the drinks, for he had already put a lot of efforts in the distribution of the products itself. Further, according to their contract, it was agreed that the drinks should be sold in barrels and that there were no specific terms stipulating the product quantity. If there were a few unpopular drinks that they were not willing to purchase, Neverwinter would suffer losses, because every barrel of drinks required the same amount of Evelyn's magic power.
"Anyway, the flavor isn't the point, but your selling method is. You should get most out of each drink and find your niche." Roland tapped the barrels again. "Well, come pick the Chaos Drinks you like."