National Liquor News December 2020

Page 1


vol. 39 no. 11 - December 2020

If you’re not reading

National Liquor News is the only independent, impartial, trade journal published in our industry today. In these tough times, more than ever, it’s critical to keep the lines of communication open and National Liquor News has both the readership and the journalistic integrity to achieve this.” CHRIS O’BRIEN G E N E R A L M A N AG E R , L I Q U O R B A R O N S

National Liquor News is a great source of information as it brings together all the stories and issues from across this great industry. It packages up special interest, consumer trends, new product innovation, and current affairs all into the one easy-to-read format.” ANDREW WILSMORE C E O , A LC O H O L B E V E R AG E S A U S T R A L I A

National Liquor News really is the fastest way to get your message across to the whole Australian liquor industry. It’s as important to our members as the Financial Review is to the business community. When you’re looking for answers on any liquor issue then it’s always the first port of call. Basically if it’s happening in the liquor industry then you can guarantee they are across it.” PETER PECK C E O , L I Q U O R S T O R E S AS S O C I AT I O N O F W E S T E R N A U S T R A L I A

then you’re not up to speed on the latest trends, NPD, new releases and best practice running a liquor store, but don’t take our word for it…we asked some of the industry what they think.

National Liquor News delivers multiple purpose for me. The topical content on market trends and industry news helps us all to keep in touch with important information and in some cases, validates our promotional plans. It’s also a great platform to read the thoughts and opinions of our industry leaders on various topics across the national market.” VA U G H A N P E T E R S N AT I O N A L T R A D E M A N AG E R , L I Q U O R L E G E N D S

We find National Liquor News to be a forum of valuable expertise between industry colleagues, inspiring each other in the journey to successful achievements. It is an effective medium to foster the co-operative’s mission with the publication’s extensive and esteemed following.” PA U L E S P O S I T O CEO, INDEPENDENT LIQUOR GROUP

S U B S C R I B E : A DV E R T I S E : Shane T Williams – E D I T O R I A L : Brydie Allen –

Editor’s note

Editor’s note


Welcome to the December issue of National

and more. Consumer tastes are looking for natural

Liquor News.

flavours a lot these days, so it’s certainly a topic

It’s almost time to say goodbye and good

to watch.

riddance to 2020, but even after the unique

Throughout the challenges of the pandemic

challenges the year has thrown at us, the industry

earlier this year, our wine tasting panel missed out

is far from standing still. There’s a cautious buzz

on scoring some favourite white varietals, so we’ve

in the air as people gear up for the festive season

caught up this month with a Riesling and Semillon

which will likely look different to what we’re used

tasting. There were so many exceptional and high

to, however is sure to still be exciting as pandemic

scoring wines that really impressed the panel.

restrictions continue to ease.

Also this month we have top insights from all

The shifts in consumer behaviour, especially

our regular contributors, including Retail Drinks

around Christmas, was a focus for our shopper

Australia, Alcohol Beverages Australia, Wine

insights contributors this month. Illuminera’s

Australia, DrinkWise and eLease Lawyers, along

Norrelle Goldring writes about the key findings

with the latest releases and news from suppliers.

of Project Hearth, a recent consumer study which

Hope you all stay safe and happy throughout

shed some light on how liquor shoppers are

this busy festive season. Remember, my inbox is

shifting to a new normal. Meanwhile, IRI’s Geoff

always open for your stories or feedback – I’d love

Baun makes some predictions about what 2020’s

to hear from you! Cheers,

COVID growth.


Elsewhere this issue, Brian Chase Olson dives into the wonderful world of natural flavours in the

Brydie Allen, Editor

drinks industry, from ginger to mango to berry

02 8586 6156 /

Top Reads ➤

8 Welcome to 4 Pines

36 Refined and unrefined

42 All about the imports

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Editor: Brydie Allen General Manager Sales – Liquor & Hospitality Group: Shane T. Williams Photographer: Shane O’Neill Group Art Director – Liquor and Hospitality: Kea Thorburn Graphic Design: Alyssa Coundouris Prepress: Tony Willson Production Manager: Jacqui Cooper

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Contents December 2020


Retail Focused

8 Cover Story: Welcome to

16 Australian Made Drinks:

4 Pines 10 News: The latest liquor

Supporting local producers 26 Retail Drinks Australia:

industry news for retailers

Legislative challenges

around Australia

plain to see

20 Marketplace: Connecting

27 Alcohol Beverages

brands with liquor retailers

Australia: Bringing

28 Wine Australia: Did someone say Chardonnay?

the industry together 31 Strikeforce: Cycling

29 DrinkWise: Healthy

COVID-19 growth

coping strategies for


the class of 2020

34 Shopper Insights:

30 Leasing: COVID-19 continues to impact leases 33 Industry Profile: Fisher reinvigorates Kirkton Estate 50 Retailer Profile: Shane Madden, Retail Liquor Specialists Group

I RI: Stocking up for Christmas Shifting to a new normal

Drinks 36 Natural Flavours: Refined and unrefined 42 Imported Wines: All about the imports 46 Wine Tasting Review: Riesling and Semillon

6 | National Liquor News

In-store January 2021

Cover Story

4 Pines

4 Pines Brewing Co. has unveiled its first-ever national campaign, introducing the country to the real people behind the brewery, beer and hospo venues.

The team behind 4 Pines Brewing Co. is excited to

having every beer of the campaign as 1% for the Planet

reveal their new national campaign that illustrates

beers, where one percent of all revenue from these

who they are; good people who make good beer for

lines goes to Take 3 For The Sea, Landcare Australia

everyone to enjoy.

and Organic Matters Foundation.

And it does so literally – every person featured

“Since day one, we’ve worked hard to make a

in the campaign, even the extras, are real 4 Pines

positive impact on the communities where we operate

characters. There’s Sarah, part-time beer whisperer

and tread lightly on the planet – we are proud to be

and full-time beer educator; Mitch, ex footy legend

one of the most sustainable breweries in Australia,”

and ‘lord of delivery’; Duan, resident ‘vibe consultant’

Atkinson said.

musician who’s been playing at 4 Pines venues for ten years; and ‘the green team’, who are shaping 4 Pines’ ‘Brewed Better’ sustainability goals.

“It felt natural to include our approach here as it’s in the DNA of the business and team.” The 4 Pines national campaign is set to be brought

Todd Atkinson, 4 Pines Chief Marketing Officer,

to life across TV, broadcast integration, digital and

said: “We have always done things ourselves and taken

out of home as we move into the warmest and busiest

a very hands on approach across hospitality, brewing

time of year. After all the challenges of 2020, it gives

and how we have taken our products to market – we

consumers a positive, interesting story behind the

have a very talented and passionate crew, so made

beer they’re sharing with their mates.

sense that we put them front and centre because it’s the real characters that makes 4 Pines special.”

Atkinson noted: “It’s been 12 and a half years of blood, sweat and beers! We are really happy with the

This will be the brewery’s first ever national

core range of products which we compliment with

campaign, an important milestone, so connecting to

+90 limited releases and our distribution is now truly

the core of what 4 Pines stands for was key.

national across an awesome bunch of retailers, pubs

One of the integral parts of the business is a commitment be ‘Brewed Better.’ This sustainability goal is reflected in 4 Pines being B-Corp certified, and 8 | National Liquor News

and clubs. “It’s crazy to think a post-surf chat down in Manly between Jaron and his dad in ‘06 would lead to this.”

“We have a very talented and passionate crew, so made sense that we put them front and centre because it’s the real characters that makes 4 Pines special.” Todd Atkinson Chief Marketing Office 4 Pines Brewing Co.

Liquor news straight to your inbox For the latest liquor retail news, subscribe to the National Liquor News e-newsletter

News The latest liquor industry

For retailers around the country

Shoppers look to locally made drinks A new national consumer study conducted by research firm Glow revealed that more than two-thirds of Australians are planning to consume more locally-made drinks this festive season. The short-term study captured rapid pace data on real-time consumer preferences in the drinks industry. Tim Clover, Glow CEO, said: “We have the tools to gather consumer information quickly. We wanted to find out what people would be drinking this summer… and if the pandemic would change preference. We thought Aussies would be pouring local beverages and the quick time survey said we were correct. “It is heartening to see that a majority of respondents (66 per cent) are planning to include local beverages in their Christmas drinks mix in the coming weeks.” A third of respondents also said they would

IBA appoints new board members at AGM

only consume locally-made alcohol over the

The Independent Brewers Association (IBA) held its annual general

respondents said they would be consuming a mix

meeting (AGM) this week, which saw two new full board member

of local and international alcohol.

appointments – Corinna Steeb from Prancing Pony Brewery and Clare Clouting from Gage Roads Brewing Co. Steeb and Clouting were elected by the membership for a three-

festive season. Meanwhile, 35.7 per cent of

“These results confirm what pundits have been predicting – a shift from global shopping to purchasing behaviours supporting home-grown

year term. The AGM also saw the nomination of two casual directors

and even hyper local producers which challenger

for one-year appointments, with the board asking Peter Philip from

brands and small businesses can leverage in the

Wayward Brewing Co to serve a final one-year term as Chairman and

coming months,” Clover said.

Jonny Latta from Nomad Brewing Co to continue to lead the Trade Marketing Group. IBA Treasurer, David Kitchen from Ballistic Brewing Co., said: “The last year has been a massive challenge for the association and every indie brewery out there. Now we need to shift our focus from survival to recovery and growth – there is a lot to do so I’m looking forward to helping to lead the organisation through the big list of priorities we have for the indie beer industry. “With our General Manager Kylie Lethbridge now in place and a cohesive and driven team, I really feel that the association is up to the challenges that 2020 has presented us.” Kitchen also noted the great skills and experience included in all four board appointments, and how they would help drive further success in the organisation.

10 | National Liquor News


Three new wines for Calabria’s portfolio Calabria Family Wines has welcomed three more Australian wine brands to its portfolio, acquired from Wingara Wine Group. Ownership of Deakin Estate, La La Land and Azahara was transferred from Wingara Wine Group in a brand only sale with the Calabria family. Both parties have agreed not to disclose the

The Wine Company begins east coast distribution of Rathbone Wine Group

financial details of the sale.

The Wine Company, a subsidiary of the Tahbilk group of

distribution partnership with Red + White will remain in place.

companies, has been appointed as the exclusive east coast distributor for the Rathbone Wine Group. The Wine Company already distributed over 30 brands within its established business in VIC, NSW, QLD and the ACT, including major regional areas and far north Queensland. Rathbone Wine Group brands have now been added

Calabria’s Griffith winery in NSW will now produce all of the wines across each of these brand portfolios, and the current Calabria General Manager, Michael Calabria, said: “Each of these brands brings something new to the table for the team at Calabria and we are eager to welcome them to the family as we diversify and broaden our wine offering. “Deakin Estate, with over 50 years of winemaking history behind it, has achieved outstanding distribution, particularly in challenging

to this portfolio, including Yering Station and Yarrabank in

export markets where many haven’t. That can only happen with a

the Yarra Valley, Mount Langi Ghiran from the Grampians

good quality product and dedicated team behind it.

and Xanadu from Margaret River. Darren Rathbone, CEO and Winemaker for the

“Both La La Land and Azahara, while newer to market, are unique brands with well-established portfolios and market presence, both

Rathbone Wine Group, said: “The alignment across our

domestically and overseas. We look forward to relishing in La La Land’s

businesses in respect to family values, quality of wines,

dedication to emerging wine styles with our own Italian alternatives

commitment in building strong brands and a real passion

and celebrating Azahara’s effervescent flare and sophistication.”

for our customers makes for great synergy between our two companies. “We are genuinely excited about what the future holds, and look forward to working together in creating value for our customers and consumers alike.” Alister Purbrick, Chief Executive of the Tahbilk Group, said: “This is a very exciting opportunity and substantially strengthens our brand portfolio offer to the trade and we sincerely thank the Rathbone family for entrusting us with their brands’ future success.”

Did you know… The Wine Company distributes brands from Australia, New Zealand, France, Spain, Argentina and Italy.


Nip Of Courage National Brand Ambassador, Abby Roennfeldt

Nip of Courage establishes wholesale business Nip of Courage has announced an extension on its existing operations with the creation of Nip of Courage Wholesale, which will provide warehousing and logistics for a wide range of Australian craft spirits and a one stop shop for customers to support local distilleries. Founder Kathleen Davies said she hoped the new service will help improve the market share for Australian distillers, currently sitting at less than one per cent. “Australians are gradually gaining a greater ‘buy local’ mentality when it comes to produce, wine and beer,” Davies said. “Nip of Courage Wholesale aims to foster these same attitudes in the world of Aussie craft spirits, making it easier than ever to support Australian brands.” Nip of Courage Wholesale will be an extension of Nip of Courage’s existing operations and the formation of partnerships with a large number of Australian brands and distributors will create a greater buying power among Australian distilleries. Drop shipping solutions will also be made possible for online retailers who promote Australian craft spirits.

Quick fact Nip Of Courage has supported Australian craft distillers through its national distribution business for over seven years.

Nip of Courage Wholesale will provide one location for fulfillment, instead of requiring these retailers to cover shipping costs from around the country. The online wholesale portal will be launched officially in early 2021, streamlining the ordering process for on- and off-premise trade customers, with access to hundreds of lines all in the one place.

New TVCs from ALM to celebrate independents Australian Liquor Marketers (ALM) has released two new television commercials (TVC) for Cellarbrations and The Bottle-O. Collectively, the videos showcase the value independent

The ads are set to be broadcast in two bursts throughout the rest of the year over Free To Air TV channels, including during some of the highest rating shows. Gaudry said ALM is excited to

stores offer, while also individually celebrating the different

see the campaign and the brands come to life on screen, as they

brand identity of each banner.

continue with the group’s overarching goals and the broader

Josh Gaudry, ALM’s General Manager of Marketing, said: “We think it is important to build the appeal of our brands through things that matter most to shoppers and what they want from a retail experience. Our research told us simple things like being friendly and welcoming, knowledgeable and having a bit of fun are important.” “For Cellarbrations, shoppers told us that they perceive the brand to be a little bit of a step-up and a little bit more knowledgeable. We used these insights to develop the new communications platform of ‘That Calls for Cellarbrations’. “For The Bottle-O, it is all about showcasing the role of the local bottle shop owner in his local community. Not everyone understands that our stores are run by independent retailers, we think that is a message worth communicating.” 12 | National Liquor News

business purpose of ‘championing successful independents.’

G LU T E N F RE E | 4 . 5 % A BV | 9 5 C A L S


Top Newsletter reads ➤

Liquor Barons launches ‘Legit Locals’ campaign Liquor Barons has announced a new ‘Legit Locals’

The campaign features 25 different ‘legit locals’,

campaign which showcases the group’s local

as well as two dogs, a python, an owl and the

presence in Western Australia.

Liquor Barons unique brand mascot, The General.

Liquor Barons General Manager Chris O’Brien said:

Liquor Barons ran a competition on social

“We’re spending more than half a million dollars over

media to find some of the campaign’s talent, with

the summer on this clever, fully integrated campaign.

the winners joining retailers and well known local

This is a significant amount of money and very much

personalities to be the faces of the campaign.

in line with our strategy to maintain Liquor Barons as

“Our marketing team continues to have

the strongest retail liquor brand in the state.”

ustralian organic A wine recognised with world’s best F arrah’s Liquor Collective supports small producers ine Region W Spotlight: Great Southern

Sign up to our fortnightly Newsletter by going to this URL: subscribe-to-nln

great success engaging the WA community and

“Our planning and execution of this year’s

ndeavour Group E to move site of proposed Darwin Dan Murphy’s

reiterating our status as the only exclusively West

marketing activities have come to fruition with the

Aussie banner group in the industry. I’ve been

focus on amplifying our unique selling proposition;

particularly impressed with the level of reach

we’re a West Aussie liquor co-operative of family-

and engagement we have achieved through our

owned, independent, small businesses— and we

social channels on this campaign. We’ve got more

truly are Legit Locals.”

exciting phases to come over the next 12 months.”

Top: Liquor Barons mascot ‘The General’ with two Legit Locals. Below: Premier Mark McGowan with LSA WA President Lou Spagnolo and Small Business & Tourism Minister Paul Papalia

LSA WA sundowner event dubbed a great success Up to 250 people came together at a

brewing all winter, especially after the

sundowner event hosted by the Liquor

COVID restrictions we had to endure

Stores Association of WA, with industry

earlier in the year. The vibe was electric

members and corporate partners joining

and everyone was so happy to be mingling

keynote speaker WA Premier Mark

and getting a chance to be together.

McGowan and other parliamentarians. It was a welcome opportunity for the

“We were blessed with perfect weather on the night, and our corporate

industry to come together again after

partners and members were delighted

the state’s COVID peak earlier this year,

to get one on one time with the Premier

positive feedback and great results for

while also raising money for food rescue

Mark McGowan where they could offer

OzHarvest – the amount of money raised

service OzHarvest.

him some insight into their business and

would allow the service to deliver the

highlight their concerns and issues within

equivalent of 2,320 meals to vulnerable

the industry.”

community members.

Peter Peck, LSA WA CEO, said: “This event was a celebration that had been

14 | National Liquor News

After the event there was lots of

E M B R ACE YOU R CR E ATIVE S PI R IT Australian Botanical Eau De Vie Grape Spirit @feelsbotanical

Australian Made Drinks

Australian Seltzer Co Co-founders Simon Toohey and Mark Dorrell combined their passions of native foods and sparkling wine to create the first truly natural Australian Seltzer on the market. Simon, a 2019 and 2020 MasterChef contestant, led the product’s development combining real finger limes, lemon myrtle and wild ginger together with a 4.5 per cent ABV vodka base to deliver a refreshingly low calorie (61 calories) drink which can only be described as ‘Deliciously Australian.’ RRP: $22 (four-pack) Distributor: Allied Beverages

True blue

Locally made beverages to help shoppers support Australian producers.

16 | National Liquor News

Matso’s Hard Lemon Pressman’s Apple Cider The much-loved cider is favoured by Australians not only for its refreshing, crisp taste, but its support for local growers and their communities, with a commitment to using only Australian apples. It’s a fresh, light, thirst-quenching cider with crisp apple notes that pairs well with a summer cheese plate. Best served over ice, Pressman’s is the ultimate refreshment at 4.5 per cent ABV and is gluten free and vegan friendly. RRP: $19.99 (six-pack) Distributor: Coca-Cola Amatil

This sparkling alcoholic lemonade is bursting with fresh lemon aroma, has a dry and effervescent mouth feel and finishes crisp and tart. Made with Australian lemons and no artificial flavours or preservatives, its made with only half the sugar of lemon premix drinks, plus it’s vegan friendly and low in gluten too. You’ll see the natural Australian lemon pulp inside, so roll before opening to awaken the flavour. RRP: $19.99 (four-pack) Distributor: Good Drinks

Australian Made Drinks

Feels Botanical Bask

Australian Bitters A hand crafted, Australian made product produced in small batches in Sydney. Each small batch is crafted with care using hand selected natural botanical herbs and spices. This Aromatic Bitters is a versatile product and is made for mixing in cocktails or mocktails. Aromas of red wine fruitiness, cinnamon, clove and black pepper spice complement fruity, herbal and rooty bitterness with a lightly spicy finish. RRP: $20 Distributor: Coca-Cola Amatil

Feels Botanical is a unique range of Australian Eau De Vie Grape Spirits, each distilled and macerated with a unique combination of three sustainably sourced botanicals to create a harmony of flavour for a spectrum of moods and occasions. Enjoy over ice, with a mixer or as a twist on a classic cocktail. Distributor: Feels Botanical RRP: $75.00

Château Tanunda Grand Barossa Shiraz 2018 Château Tanunda’s most recognised wine steps into its grand, new-look proprietary bottle! With a reputation as one of the Barossa’s most famous Shiraz, having collected more than 20 Gold medals over the last 12 vintages, it all stems from high-quality grapes from select vineyards. Generous, plush, complex, lively with a surprisingly juicy finish to complete the package, are just a few words used to describe this exceptional wine. RRP: $25 Distributor: Crush Wine + Drinks

December 2020 | 17

Australian Made Drinks

Manly Spirits Lilly Pilly Pink Gin

Starward Two-Fold Australian Whisky Just like their hometown Melbourne, Starward whiskies are versatile and a little different, bringing together local ingredients and Australian red wine barrels, to make the epitome of a distinctly Australian spirit. Two-Fold is an awarded, approachable and proudly versatile whisky, made to be mixed, spritzed or shaken. A double grain spirit made from local barley and wheat and fully matured in red wine barrels from our famed Australian wine regions. RRP: $65.00 AUD Distributor: SouthTrade International

18 | National Liquor News

Crafted using the vibrant and succulent summer berries of the native Lilly Pilly and rambling edible pink flowers found tucked in the coastal dunes of the Northern Beaches, this fruity pink gin with its allnatural raspberry infused pink hue makes the perfect base for a summer cocktail. Now also available in convenient ready-to-drink Gin & Tonics, perfect for those summer BBQs and picnics. RRP: $80 or $28 per RTD four-pack Distributor: Manly Spirits Co.

Arktika Premium Vodka

Bond 7 Australian Blended Whisky Proudly Australian made and owned, and honouring traditional ‘bottled in bond’ aging and bottling methods, Bond Seven upholds form by delivering an exceptional blended whisky. Uniquely Australian, Bond Seven hand selects and combines the finest local malt and grain whiskies available. As a result, it is an approachable, aromatic whisky with hints of peat and fruit and 37 per cent ABV. RRP: $39.99 Distributor: Edgemill Group

Proudly Australian made and owned, and inspired by tales of Arctic exploration, Arktika pays homage to its Russian predecessors. However, Arkita Premium Vodka is distinctly Australian, exhibiting a unique hint of spicy sweetness and more importantly a silky-smooth taste. Charcoal filtered and triple distilled, Arktika Premium Vodka can be enjoyed neat, chilled or over ice. RRP: $38.99 Distributor: Edgemill Group

Australian Made Drinks

Mr Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur Adelaide Hills Distillery 78 Degrees Classic Gin Produced in small batches from a grape base spirit, 78 Degrees Classic Gin is vapour distilled using an unique column and basket distillation method, to retain delicate flavours and aromas. A complex and savoury gin vapour infused with 12 specifically selected botanicals, it is pungently aromatic and displaying resinous, citrus and floral notes with underlying spice. Best served with tonic and a twist of lemon. RRP: $74.99 Distributor: SouthTrade International

Mr Black is a bittersweet blend of specialty Arabica coffees and Australian wheat vodka. Each bottle is made by hand at the coffee roastery and distillery just north of Sydney. With more real coffee and less sugar than old-world liqueurs, Mr Black is crafted to bittersweet perfection. Drink over ice or shake up the ultimate Espresso Martini. RRP: $55.99 Distributor: SouthTrade International

Never Never Triple Juniper Gin The bold and fearless flavour of Triple Juniper Gin made by Adelaide’s Never Never Distilling Co is what has landed it as their signature, and a highly awarded gin. The unique triple distillation process uncovers the bright and earthy qualities of juniper, and eight other botanicals lift the bright, fresh and floral characters of the juniper berry. Such emphasis on flavour means this gin builds the best G&Ts and classic cocktails. RRP: $62.00 Distributor: Proof & Company

Shot at Taylor’s Rooftop at the Republic Hotel, Sydney

December 2020 | 19

Marketplace Connecting brands and retailers New Australian spirit range from Feels Botanical Feels Botanical is a new grain-free, gluten-free Eau de Viebased spirit range, distilled with a collection of sustainably sourced botanicals that help complement a spectrum of moods and occasions. Founders Blake Vanderfield-Kramer and Steve Pillemer created the brand in response to what they called a “tectonic shift” in Australia’s alcohol industry as consumers seek out more natural, authentic, discoverable and mindful offerings. Vanderfield-Kramer said: “We have specifically selected Eau

Serving tip The best way to serve an Aperol Spritz is in a large wine glass with ice.

De Vie for its superior quality, flavour profile and mouthfeel. “The unique and rich history of Eau De Vie, together with its ability to accentuate the complex flavours of our native botanicals, delivers a rare experience and satisfies consumers’ appetites for discovery and quality.”

Aperol announces first ready-to-serve product

with its own trifecta of carefully selected botanicals. There’s

Campari has announced the release of a new Aperol

plum and horny goat weed; Bask – Hemp, Quandong and

Spritz Ready to Serve product, the first of its kind for

Kakadu plum; and Revel – coffee, ginseng and Illawarra plum.

the Aperol brand. The product launch is highly anticipated by both

Each of the four products in the range has been blended Vivify – turmeric, coconut and ginger; Rouse – rose, Davidson

Pillemer said: “Feels Botanical exists to ignite a creative energy and consciousness in people utilising nature and a

consumers and the trade. Available to order from

progressive approach towards ancient apothecary wisdom to

January 1, 2021, it brings the classic Italian Aperitivo

provide a holistic drinking experience and a creative platform

into a portable and convenient format, perfect for a

that is expressive, inclusive and unadulterated.”

range of occasions. The Aperol Spritz Ready to Serve product will be sold in three packs of 175ml bottles at nine per cent ABV. It will embody the iconic orange and subtle herb flavour profile of Aperol, balanced nicely with the freshness and fragrance of sparkling wine. The timing of the launch means it will be available just in time for the Australia Day occasion, as consumers look for beverages to complement an array of events both at home and out of home, from picnics to BBQs and more. The Aperol Spritz Ready to Serve product is also well aligned to meet current consumer trends around these daytime events, which sees shoppers look for light and refreshing drinks to share with friends and food.

20 | National Liquor News


Fever-Tree launches first soda range Fever-Tree is adding three naturally flavoured, low-calorie sodas to its range of premium mixers, designed for mixing sophisticated yet simple spritzes and refreshing long drinks. The Soda Collection launches with three flavours – Pink Grapefruit, Lime & Yuzu and Italian Blood Orange – each of which have less than 40 calories and are crafted with premium ingredients to elevate classic mixed drink serves. Trish Brew, Fever-Tree Australia Brand Ambassador commented: “Australians are looking to lighter, healthier drinks over summer, and at the same time, we’re seeing a resurgence of simple, fuss-free drinks, in the bar and at home. Enter Fever-Tree flavoured sodas, elevating popular serves to create delicious and sophisticated low-calorie drinks.” the new sodas feature naturally and sustainably sourced

Villa Maria launches New Zealand’s first wine-based seltzer

ingredients, from Sicilian Blood Oranges from the south

New Zealand’s Villa Maria Estate, owners of the Villa Maria,

of Mount Etna, to Tahitian Limes from Mexico to aromatic

Leftfield and Vidal brands, has launched the first ever wine-

Japanese Yuzu. Each carefully selected ingredient makes the

based seltzer from the country, called LF Wine Seltzers.

True to Fever-Tree’s core focus on the finest quality flavours,

sodas the perfect complement to any mixed drink.

Products in the line are crafted using premium Leftfield

Fever-Tree has also created signature serves for the new sodas,

wines, sparkling water and local natural botanicals. There

which showcases their versatility and unrivalled taste. They include:

are three flavours, all with 68 calories per can – Yuzu, Mint

• The Ultimate Vodka, Lime & Soda: 50mL premium vodka,

and Cucumber with Sauvignon Blanc, Pear and Ginger with

200mL Lime & Yuzu Soda, served over lots of fresh ice and garnished with a wedge of lime. • Italian Blood Orange Spritz: 50mL premium vodka or Italian aperitif, 200mL Italian Blood Orange Soda, served over lots of fresh ice and garnished with a slice of blood orange. • Pink Grapefruit Paloma: 50mL premium tequila or mezcal,

Pinot Gris, and Strawberry and Hibiscus with Rosé. The development of LF Wine Seltzers was driven by the continued expansion of the RTD category thanks to the booming global seltzer market. “More and more consumers are seeking lighter drinking choices, but rather than simply creating another ‘me too’

200mL Pink Grapefruit Soda, served over lots of fresh ice and

product it was hugely important for us to craft something

garnished with a wedge of grapefruit.

beyond the status quo,” said Villa Maria’s Head of Marketing and Communications, Sarah Szegota. “By working closely with our Leftfield winemaker Richard Painter we’ve developed a seltzer that offers an elevated taste experience, so drinkers get both our internationally celebrated wines with sparkling water and delicious, natural flavours all sourced from New Zealand.” Szegota said the team is looking forward to launching the New Zealand first across major export markets, including in Australia from January 2021. “There are very few wine-based seltzers overseas but, notwithstanding that, we’re confident LF Seltzer will compete with the traditional spirit-based options because of its unique proposition and genuinely exceptional taste,” said Szegota. December 2020 | 21


Did you know? Hawkesbury Brewing Co. uses its proprietary Clear Beer technology to create Ginger Yowie.

Ginger Yowie brings new drinkers to the category Hawkesbury Brewing Co has been working with ginger for a long

style ginger beers, Ginger Yowie is brewed on a clear beer base

time across its portfolio of drinks. But it’s the incredible reception

which gives the perfect foundation to add the natural flavours,”

of the Ginger Yowie product which has drawn the greatest

Weaving said.

success, being an alcoholic ginger beer RTD that is affordable, refreshing and flavoursome, without too much sugar. Paul Weaving, Business Development Director at Drink Craft, the

“Ginger Yowie is really the natural evolution of our capabilities and expertise… it has definitely brought new drinkers into the category. We know that consumers are increasingly conscious of

distributor of Hawkesbury Brewing Co, said that the process and

balancing their alcohol consumption with a healthy lifestyle and

ideal behind the creation of Ginger Yowie contributes to its success.

Ginger Yowie really hits that sweet spot. We also redesigned our

“As a proudly Australian independent brewer, our first instinct

packaging over the winter and this has been a great hit, evoking

is always to source Australian ingredients. The process in which

some Australian nostalgia and a bit of fun with cans which really

we brew Ginger Yowie is also important. Unlike non-beer or RTD

pop on the shelf.”

New wine and vegan announcement from Zonte’s Footstep McLaren Vale winery Zonte’s Footstep

alongside the exciting news about the

has announced the release of a

vegan change.

special new wine, while also declaring

“Starting from the 2020 vintage, all

this to be the ‘year of the vegan’ by

of Zonte’s Footstep wines are vegan

committing to make all its wines vegan

friendly. Not just our organic wines

from the 2020 vintage onwards.

but all our 2020 vintage wines,” said

The recently released Shiraz Cabernet Super Trooper is a special

Vigneron and Co-owner, Brad Rey. “We made the move, not because

blend of Shiraz and Cabernet which

it’s trendy, but rather because we can

takes its name from the ‘Troopie’, the

and I couldn’t think of a single reason

ever reliable outback vehicle that is

why we shouldn’t. At Zonte’s Footstep

illustrated on its bottle. It’s intended

we believe in inclusion not exclusion.

to be an Aussie classic, so consumers

Good wine should be able to be

never have to choose between favourite

enjoyed by everyone. Being made from

local red varieties.

grapes, wine is something that people

Zonte’s Footstep has also released its 2020 vintage of four organic wines,

22 | National Liquor News

who chose a plant-based diet should be able to choose freely.”


Brewed with the goodness of ancient grains to deliver uncompromising taste, it’s no wonder O’Brien is Australia’s most awarded range of gluten free craft beers.


New hard sodas and spritzes from Honeysuckle Distillery Honeysuckle Distillery, a new drinks brand co-founded by

Honeysuckle’s hard sodas come in two flavours – lime and

former Treasury Wine Estates executive Phil Henderson, has just

berry - while the spritz range offers more complex flavour

launched out of Victoria with two distinct RTD ranges.

combinations through its products, including Paradise Gin Spritz

The brand launches with what they’ve called a ‘hard soda’ range and a spritz range, each tapping into what the hard

(gin, blood orange and cinnamon), Splendid Gin Citrus (gin and yuzu) and Tropical Vodka Crush (vodka, mango and coconut).

seltzer movement offers to consumers.

All products come in 330ml cans, with the sodas measuring

Henderson said: “The name ‘hard soda’ was an easy move

4.4 per cent ABV and the spritzes measuring 4.8 per cent

for us to ensure our drinks demonstrated its proud Australian

ABV. They are natural, gluten free and preservative free,

heritage. In a busy market, we wanted to connect with our local

designed to have a lower sugar content to offer refreshment

credentials and create a new wave of Aussie hard soda fans.”

at any hour.

Master of Mixes makes home cocktails easy One of the biggest drinks movements to

Master of Mixes is the expert of home

come out of Australia’s lockdown during

cocktail solutions, with a huge portfolio

the COVID-19 pandemic was the home

of single-step cocktail mixers to craft

cocktail trend, as consumers stepped out

delicious drinks in seconds. Consumers

of their comfort zones and experimented

can simply add a spirit to the non-

with cocktails to attempt to recreate the

alcoholic mix to create a traditional

on-premise experience.

cocktail, or they can get creative with

Since then, thirst for cocktails at home has only grown, as consumers realise the possibilities of what they

more ingredients through a range of recipes on offer. The market leader for cocktail solutions in

can create. Classic cocktails such as

Australia, Master of Mixes sources the finest

Margaritas and Daiquiris are some of

ingredients to build premium drinks. The

the most popular, replicating their on-

brand scours the earth for the top quality

premise success at home.

fruit, carefully combining the juice and puree

As restrictions ease and life becomes even busier towards the festive season,

with cane sugar and filtered water. Each one litre bottle can make

consumers are looking for easier ways to

upwards of 12 cocktails (depending on

craft this experience, and this is where

the recipe) and with a RRP of $12.99, its

they look to Master of Mixes, distributed

an affordable option for shoppers to bring

by SouthTrade International.

cocktails into the home.

24 | National Liquor News

Hot tip Cocktail mix solutions like Master of Mixes helps increase non-alcoholic basket size to drive incremental average weight of purchase.


Fast facts Since it was founded in Australia in 2012, Capi has built its portfolio to now include 19 mixers, fruit sodas and waters.

Capi launches new campaign and gift packs Premium water and mixer brand Capi is rolling out a new outdoor and digital campaign to raise brand awareness. The ‘Clearly, Australian’ campaign will highlight the Capi bottle shape and also showcase the brand’s heritage of being 100 per cent Australian family owned and locally produced. “We are beyond thrilled to roll out our first outdoor campaign

Off the back of this campaign, Capi teamed up with 13 local spirits producers to produce ‘Better Together’ highball gift packs, giving consumers an easy option to buy a spirit and premium mixer while supporting local businesses. “We wanted to create an activation that supports and brings together our local spirits community by sharing the

in some time. With increased visibility of the brand across

stories of our local distilleries to a wider audience and

Australia we are excited to get our story and products in front of

providing consumers with a fun way to celebrate Summer

consumers to increase awareness of supporting local beverage

with some exciting new perfect serves,” said Capi Brand &

brands,” said Capi CEO, Emma Evans.

Innovation Director, Thurman Wise.

Matso’s unveils new look for flavoured beers Ahead of Matso’s 21st birthday in 2021, the WA brewery has

“For retailers, the new look from Matso’s will help grab

unveiled a new look for their flavoured beer family, which

the attention of consumers, while visually highlighting what

includes the Ginger Beer, Mango Beer and Chilli Ginger Beer.

Matso’s has always been about - extraordinary drinks to help

Inspired by the local area, the move was made to better

you escape the ordinary.”

position the brand for exponential growth in one of Australia’s fastest growing craft categories. Matso’s Ginger Beer alone is growing at a rate of 44 per cent, reflecting the sheer demand for the category. Matso’s Brand Lead, James Purcell, said this growth and the refreshed packaging will also benefit retailers. “Matso’s refreshed new look means our core range of flavoured beers now look just as extraordinary as they taste. Taking inspiration from our tropical home in Broome, the fresh new look across Matso’s Ginger Beer, Mango Beer and Chilli Ginger Beer instantly grabs the eye, making it really pop in the fridge, or on the shelf,” Purcell said.

December 2020 | 25

Retail Drinks Australia

Legislative challenges plain to see in New South Wales Liquor Bill The recently passed NSW bill shows the importance of advocating for the industry to government, writes Michael Waters, CEO of Retail Drinks Australia.

For industry associations, having a thorough

challenges involved in advocating on behalf of

understanding of the various political processes

industry with so much unpredictability at play.

and dynamics involved in passing legislation is key

For the retail liquor industry, the Bill introduces a

to securing positive policy outcomes. Unless there

comprehensive regulatory framework for same-day

is proper consultation with industry to ensure the

alcohol deliveries which is largely consistent with the

right balance is struck between good regulation and

Retail Drinks Online Alcohol Sale and Delivery Code

the freedom to operate responsibly, legislation can

of Conduct, launched in 2019. As a result of Retail

be poorly crafted and result in regulatory overreach

Drinks’ advocacy, a number of these unconsulted

and significant unintended consequences. Carelessly

amendments, including the provision of quarterly

thought out and rushed legislation, if passed, can

alcohol sales data, were either altered or removed

mean the difference between entire industries being

from the final version of the Bill.

viable or not.

Separately to the regulatory framework on same-

The recently passed Liquor Amendment (24-Hour)

day alcohol deliveries, the Bill also creates a new

Economy Bill in NSW is a useful case study in the often

Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA) framework

unpredictable and politicised nature of lawmaking. The

considering factors such as density in the assessment

Bill, originally introduced and passed in the Legislative

and granting of liquor licences. Whilst this framework

Assembly in late September, was then subject to an

was retained in the final version of the Bill, Retail

array of hastily put together amendments from the

Drinks also successfully ensured that the CIA

Opposition and minor parties in the Legislative Council.

framework will undertake a comprehensive review in

In some cases, the amendments were completely

12 months to ensure it is meeting intended objectives.

outside the scope of the Bill’s original consultation

This was committed to by the Minister in Hansard

process which had occurred many months beforehand.

who also thanked Retail Drinks for its contribution

The lack of a government majority in the Legislative

to the Bill on behalf of its members.

Council, combined with the tactical withdrawal of

Whilst NSW is the latest jurisdiction to legislate

support from other minor parties, meant that the

wide-reaching reforms to its Liquor Act, many of

Government was effectively railroaded into having to

the other Australian states and territories are not far

accept these amendments, regardless of whether they

behind, with significant reviews set to be debated over

represented good policy or not.

the coming months. Again, the individual legislative

Whilst not all of these eleventh-hour amendments

dynamics in each of these states and territories, and the

were successfully passed in the Legislative Council,

influence of various stakeholders in these debates, will

the passage of this Bill highlights the significant

be critical in determining the final outcomes achieved.

26 | National Liquor News

“The passage of this Bill highlights the significant challenges involved in advocating on behalf of industry with so much unpredictability at play.” Michael Waters CEO Retail Drinks Australia

Alcohol Beverages Australia

Bringing the industry together through adversity Different sectors of the industry have banded together to tackle the challenges of the year and move into the festive season on a positive note, writes Andrew Wilsmore, CEO of Alcohol Beverages Australia. What a year this has been for the industry we all love.

Product innovation was hampered, but did not stop

We are certainly not Robinson Crusoe in the

altogether. New products continue to be launched,

challenges COVID-19 has presented the world,

and now into summer we are watching closely to see

but I think what stands out most for me is how our

if Australia can follow the US hard seltzer trend with

industry banded together to help each other out and

strong marketing and promotional support being

lend a hand to the communities of which we are all

rolled out.

an integral part.

We also lent a hand to community health efforts,

We were been heartbroken by the closure of our

and with some uncharacteristic nimbleness from

hospitality venues during lockdowns and the nearly

regulators with approval processes, we swung into

500,000 jobs and livelihoods that were lost at the

producing much needed hand sanitiser.

height of restrictions. While there was an uptick in

DrinkWise also played a crucial role by rolling

packaged retail sales, it was never going to be enough

out a number of partnership campaigns with State

to cover the complete loss of on-premise venues and

Governments and by launching their acclaimed

the closure of tasting rooms. Despite the challenge this

Bounce Back podcast series about staying resilient,

presented to overall revenues, our producers initiated

strong and positive in difficult circumstances.

a range of programs to support the sector, both the

It’s the crucial festive trading period for everyone,

venues directly or with other initiatives to help bar

and I certainly believe that with so many Australians

and hospitality staff.

unable to leave the country this year (yet hopefully

And our retail venues kept our growers and

able to cross state borders) that it should translate

producers going by moving fast to create COVID-

into many occasions in which our products will

safe venues for consumers to shop at, accelerating

be enjoyed responsibly. I never thought I’d say the

investment and capacity to support home delivery, and

term, but I also hope we will be allowed vertical

initiating self-regulatory programs so that knee-jerk

consumption again!

purchase restrictions (such as those briefly instigated in Western Australia) did not spread further.

Here at ABA we wish you all the best for Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

“I think what stands out most for me is how our industry banded together to help each other out and lend a hand to the communities of which we are all an integral part.” Andrew Wilsmore CEO Alcohol Beverages Australia

December 2020 | 27

Wine Australia

Did someone say Chardonnay? Chardonnay is an important part of the Australian wine sector, but often doesn’t get the attention it deserves, writes Sandy Hathaway, Senior Analyst at Wine Australia.

Chardonnay does not always get the attention it

grown from the Granite Belt (Queensland) in the north

deserves. Red wine, particularly Shiraz, has tended

to Tasmania in the south, and from Margaret River

to dominate recent stories of Australian wine, while

(WA) in the west to Hastings River (NSW) in the east.

Sauvignon Blanc has overshadowed other white wines on the domestic market for many years.

Chardonnay in the domestic market

Chardonnay has been described by wine writer

Chardonnay is the fifth largest variety/wine style by

Jancis Robinson as ‘the most famous vine variety of

value sold in the Australian off-trade retail market,

all’ because it has almost no synonyms and therefore

with retail sales of over $325 million in 2019–20 (IRI

its name is widely recognised worldwide. It is the fifth

MarketEdge – July 2020).

most planted wine grape variety in the world, with

The average value for Australian Chardonnay in

201,649 hectares of plantings worldwide in 2016.

the year ending 5 July 2020 was $15.85 per 750 ml.

Australia has approximately 10 per cent of the world’s

The largest price segment for off-trade Chardonnay

Chardonnay plantings and is the third largest grower

is from $6.00–$9.99, but the strongest growing price

of the variety after France and the USA.

segments were the higher price segments with $30– $49.99 growing by 15 per cent in the year ending July

Chardonnay production in Australia

2020 (IRI MarketEdge).

Chardonnay is extremely important to the Australian

In the on-trade, Chardonnay has the largest share

wine sector. It is the second most planted variety

of white wine by-the-bottle listings on menus and

in Australia and the largest white. The crush of

wine lists, with a slightly higher percentage than

Chardonnay in Australia grew from 1000 tonnes in

Sauvignon Blanc (20 per cent compared with 19 per

1979 to 28,000 tonnes in 1989 and reached a peak of

cent) – according to Wine Business Solutions.

428,000 tonnes in 2008.

The region with the most listings in 2019 was

In 2020, Chardonnay accounted for 42 per cent

Margaret River, with 15.2 per cent, followed by Yarra

of the crush of white grapes and its crush of 285,000

Valley with 11.4 per cent. Both grew their share

tonnes was more than the next four white varieties

slightly compared with the year before. The top four

put together.

Australian GI regions by average bottle listing price:

Chardonnay is an extremely versatile variety that thrives in a range of climatic conditions. In Australia it is 28 | National Liquor News

Tasmania ($85.54), Margaret River ($80.21), Yarra Valley ($78.92) and Mornington Peninsula ($72.02).

“In 2020, Chardonnay accounted for 42 per cent of the crush of white grapes and its crush of 285,000 tonnes was more than the next four white varieties put together.” Sandy Hathaway Senior Analyst Wine Australia


Healthy coping strategies for the class of 2020 The recently launched You Got This campaign from DrinkWise provides messages of support for struggling Year 12 students, writes Simon Strahan, DrinkWise CEO. COVID-19 has resulted in increased stress and

David Hurley, as well as other politicians, sports stars,

anxiety for many Australians. Recognising that this

media personalities and many others.

increased stress may lead to some in our community

Hosted at the videos and

increasing their alcohol consumption, DrinkWise

commentary are also featured across social media, print

created a series of initiatives aimed at building

and online news, television and radio, reaching Year 12s

resilience and encouraging the use of support services

across Australia as they prepared for and sat their exams.

for those who are struggling.

Many of those who provided a video have also

Our resilience podcast, Bounce Back, featured well-

shared them across their social media profiles,

known Australians discussing challenges they have

substantially increasing the reach of the message

faced and how they overcame adversity. As the final

and prompting Australians to share the videos with

guest of the series, professional mentor and leadership

anyone they know who may be struggling.

coach Ben Crowe brought together the common

You Got This is supported by Headspace, Beyond

themes of Bounce Back in a compelling mixture of

Blue, ReachOut, Kids Helpline and My Mirror. Direct

insights and anecdotes. Ben highlighted that the path

links to these services are included on the You Got

to achieving happiness and confidence is underpinned

This website, so that accessing help and support is

by being genuine and embracing vulnerability and

encouraged and easily accessible.

imperfection – a very relevant message for 2020.

Connecting with Year 12s now – and highlighting

The podcast was downloaded over 65,000 times and

the benefits of reaching out for help and support

reached 16 million people (cumulative).

(instead of poor coping strategies such as alcohol,

DrinkWise has also recently launched You Got This, to provide messages of support for Year 12 students. Understanding the difficulties faced by Year

drugs and smoking) – is designed to reduce related harms during their young adult years.

“Highlighting the benefits of reaching out for help and support (instead of poor coping strategies such as alcohol, drugs and smoking) – is designed to reduce related harms during their young adult years.” Simon Strahan CEO DrinkWise

12s this year – confined to home-schooling, missing friends and facing the cancellation of important events including formals and graduations – and the potential for some students to seek undesirable coping strategies, DrinkWise commissioned research of more than 500 students nationally. The research provided insights into how Year 12s are coping with the significant challenges of 2020, indicating that 48 per cent are not dealing with their problems well, 41 per cent are worried about their mental health and 37 per cent don’t feel optimistic about the future. Many well-known Australians generously volunteered video messages of support, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, actress Cate Blanchett, Australian Test Cricket Captain Tim Paine, Governor-General of Australia the Honourable December 2020 | 29


COVID-19 continues to impact leases With restrictions still in place in varying levels across the country, it’s important to understand how COVID-19 continues to impact leases, writes Marianna Idas, Principle Solicitor at eLease Lawyers. The Government continues to impose restrictions

If the tenant is eligible for further relief, then the

that hinder businesses from operating to their

tenant should follow these five steps:

full potential, and landlords and tenants need to

1. Ask the landlord to negotiate;

understand their rights and obligations under their

2. Share information to show they are eligible for rent

lease and the COVID Legislation.

relief, namely that they are entitled to JobKeeper;

The NSW Government recently announced that

3. Either the tenant or the landlord to make an offer

the Retail and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19)

to try and resolve the matter (dependent on the

Regulation (NSW COVID Regulation) is extended until 31 December 2020. Although other States and Territories have also extended expiry dates, it is

State or Territory); 4. Once an offer is made, the other party may accept it or counter offer/negotiate further;

necessary for the parties to check the specific expiry

5. Record the agreement. If possible, record the

dates for the jurisdiction that their commercial or

agreement in writing and have it registered on the

retail premises are located.

certificate of title for the land. The reason to have it

Please note that this extension does not necessarily

registered (dependent on the State or Territory) is

mean any prior agreements with the landlord will

that if the property is later sold, then the property’s

automatically continue. If the tenant wishes to seek

purchaser will have notice of the agreement and

further rent relief, then they must approach the

continue to be bound by such agreement.

landlord to negotiate and re-establish their right to

If you cannot reach an agreement directly with the

rent relief for the additional period.

“Landlords and tenants need to understand their rights and obligations under their lease and the COVID Legislation.”

landlord, seek specialist legal advice from a lawyer

Marianna Idas

If the tenant approaches the landlord for further

who specialises in leases. They can assist in resolving

Principle Solicitor eLease Lawyers

rent relief, they must respond within a reasonable time.

your matter and obtaining the best possible outcome

The eligibility criteria for further relief requires

for your situation and if necessary represent you in

the tenant’s lease to satisfy all of the following points: • It is a retail shop lease or commercial lease used for carrying on a business. • It was current and binding on the tenant on 28 May 2020. • The tenant under the lease is a small and medium enterprise (SME entity) that carried on a business (or non-profit activity) in the current financial year and had a turnover that was: o less than $50 million for the 2019–20 financial year, and/or o likely to be less than $50 million for the 2020–21 financial year. • The tenant under the lease is eligible for, but not necessarily enrolled in, the JobKeeper Payment scheme. 30 | National Liquor News



Cycling COVID-19 growth Retailers have experienced great bouts of growth during this year’s on-premise lockdown, creating a challenge around cycling that growth into 2021, writes Stephen Wilson, Category and Insights Manager at Strikeforce.

With Stage Four lockdown restrictions finally relaxed in Victoria just in time for the busiest trading period of the year, we are hoping for a bumper sales season for our industry. All efforts over the next few weeks will be focused

with family and friends over a beer or wine. Retailers that tap into that sentiment will be rewarded with incremental sales. Here are some suggestions to assist in effectively chasing down elevated growth as the first few quarters

on maximising sales and playing our part in boosting

of 2021 cycle through.

national economic performance.

• Tactical and highly visible sampling programs

Off-premise growth driven by the closure of pubs,

driving increased household penetration.

clubs and cafes will start to wane as drinkers get more

• Create new consumption occasions and entice

comfortable with gravitating back to more crowded

drinkers to buy into your proposition to drive trial

environments, now that infection rates appear to be

and increase basket size.

under control and venues can open under COVID

• Tactical and highly visible in-store display activity.

safe conditions.

• Over and above incremental displays to increase

But what about cycling the artificially inflated growth driven by COVID in 2021? The burning questions being asked by all liquor suppliers will be: ‘What was the impact of COVID

visibility away from the fixture or fridge. • Increase distribution through targeted campaigns focused on identified opportunities across the independent store network.

induced panic buying in the categories we play in?’

• Exploit a fully integrated category solution

and ‘How will we chase down this growth number

maximising space with a comprehensive space

when the same period cycles through in 2021?’

management plan.

The key to meeting the growth challenge is to

• Maintain optimal stock levels to eliminate lost sales.

amplify brand presence in bricks and mortar stores

• Understand and influence shopper behaviour.

to compliment your online platform.

• Benchmark and track results allowing for strategic

The significance of online sales can no longer be

decision making as required.

ignored with the news that Coles online sales grew

These are just a sample of activities that should be

80 per cent for the first quarter FY21 driven by

undertaken to meet the challenge of cycling elevated

behavioural change, particularly in Victoria where

growth driven by COVID.

Stage Four restrictions and the desire to reduce

While there is no guarantee of matching or

exposure to possible infection played a significant role.

exceeding artificially high growth targets these

Off-premise retailing will provide growth

activities and activations will form an integral part

opportunities in 2021 with a strong desire to reconnect

of a well-constructed growth strategy.

“All efforts over the next few weeks will be focused on maximising sales and playing our part in boosting national economic performance.” Stephen Wilson Category and Insights Manager Strikeforce

December 2020 | 31


Stocking up for Christmas Consumers have already started stocking up for Christmas and the pandemic will influence how they do so, writes Geoff Baun, Senior Consultant at IRI. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, as the saying

guests at Christmas parties. This leads to strong

goes. Q4 or ‘the golden quarter’ is a time when retailers

increases in premium beer, sparkling wines and glass

load up on stock and consumers splurge on goods for

spirits with Baileys always a very strong performer.

themselves, loved ones and entertaining. This is no

IRI data shows that when comparing Q4 sales against

more apparent than in the liquor sector which each

the average from Q1 to Q3 for 2018 and 2019, sales

year sees a dramatic increase in sales particularly in

are up anywhere from 35 per cent for premium beer,

the six weeks leading up to Christmas.

over 85 per cent for sparkling wine, 35 per cent for

Consumers spend a lot at Christmas. Compared

glass spirits and in excess of 100 per cent for Baileys.

to 20-30 years ago, when Christmas was mainly a

But as we all too aware of 2020 has been anything

domestic and family affair, they are now more likely

but normal. I am not suggesting that we won’t see

to enjoy entertainment and meals outside the home

a traditional increase in the liquor sector as usual,

with neighbours, friends and work colleagues as part

however, with unemployment and underemployment

of a range of Christmas occasions both before the day

sky rocketing many consumers purse strings will be

and afterwards. Christmas dinner with the family is

pulled noticeably tighter. This likely led to more savvy

still the lynchpin of the festivities, but is now only one

and prepared shoppers starting to stockpile as early

of several occasions.

as October during promotions, to ease the financial

The festive season and its increased entertaining

burden of entertaining for large groups.

requires careful planning for most consumers. This

Another key trend to keep a close eye out for this

often begins in mid-November as savvy shoppers

year will be a noticeable shift to online purchases

start stocking up on all their entertaining essentials,

particularly involving cases of wine or large beer

particularly when premium products are on

orders. With people avoiding crowded stores, this

promotion. This particular time of the year is when

will further fuel the shift to online liquor purchasing

‘premium’ offerings really do flourish as consumers

which was already gaining momentum before

care about the image they are portraying to their


32 | National Liquor News

“This particular time of the year is when ‘premium’ offerings really do flourish.” Geoff Baun Senior Consultant IRI

Fisher reignites Kirkton Estate Daryl Fisher from Fisher Fine Wines has re-launched the old Kirkton Estate label from the Hunter Valley in honour of some of the first vineyards planted from cuttings brought to Australian by James Busby in the 1830s. To mark the occasion, Fisher hosted a small group from the trade for dinner and to try four brackets of Hunter reds from the 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s. The group included the likes of Giuseppe Minissale (Porter’s Liquor), David Reberger (Kemenys Wine and Liquor), Tom Iliffe (Lock Stock and Bottle), Frank Pappas (Mr Liquor), Rory O’Carroll (Thirroul Cellars) and Paul Creighton (Select Cellars). Bruce Tyrell was also on hand to talk though some of the earlier vintages. The majority of wines were all standing up very well which is a testament to the longevity of Hunter Shiraz. The new Kirkton Estate range includes a Hunter Shiraz, Chardonnay and Semillon, distributed by Fisher Fine Wines.

Trade lunch at Tintilla Estate

The wines tasted on the night included: 1973

Chateau Francois Pokolbin Hunter Shiraz Vat 22


Rothbury Estate Black Label Hunter Shiraz


Brokenwood Hermitage Hunter Shiraz


Lindeman’s Hunter River Shiraz


Petersons Hermitage Hunter Shiraz


Tulloch Hector Shiraz


Mount Pleasant Rosehill Shiraz


Tyrrells Vat 9 Shiraz


Brokenwood Graveyard Shiraz

2000 Mount Pleasant Maurice O’Shea Shiraz 2004 Tyrrells Vat 9 Shiraz 2005 Tintilla Patriarch Shiraz

Shopper Insights

Liquor shoppers shifting to a new COVID normal Shoppers are premiumising, supporting local and looking to reduce indulgence, according to the results of a new study into liquor consumption habits, writes Norrelle Goldring of Illuminera.

Resulting from the bushfires and the COVID-19

or well-known brands, the result of the psychology

pandemic, there’s been a number of changes to consumer

of sticking to the familiar, tried and tested during

behaviour this year, including in liquor consumption

times of uncertainty.

and purchase. Below I’ve summarised the key findings

Working from home and the resulting increase in

from Project Hearth, an Illuminera consumer study

home liquor consumption for some, combined with the

that involved consumption diaries, focus groups, and

desire to reduce public contact through fewer shopping

a survey of 2,200 people in late October.

trips, means that one in eight of our Project Hearth consumers are buying more items per liquor store trip.

Buying bigger, better and local

We have observed across all of our studies this year

The COVID-19 pandemic has had mixed impacts on

a consumer desire to support local businesses, with

consumers, creating something of a two-speed economy

consumers saying they are shopping at local stores 30

– those negatively financially impacted looking to save

per cent more often. Shopping is becoming hyperlocal,

money wherever possible, and those less impacted with

with more people supporting high street and local

dollars they’re itching to spend that would normally

retailers and Australian and local brands, even if this is

have gone on travel, leisure and entertainment.

more expensive. So liquor stores have an opportunity

This is evident in the more than one in ten of our Project Hearth consumers buying more premium

to hyper-localise their range and promotions of craft beer, whiskies, gin and wine for instance.

liquor brands and product variants than they did pre-

34 | National Liquor News

COVID with 47 per cent now ‘likely’ to buy more

Are we past peak alcohol consumption?

premium versions. Yet conversely, 19 per cent are

A number of parallels between snacking and liquor

buying more private label and retailer brands and

consumption were observed with regard to the

more than half (54 per cent) are buying more familiar

consumption ‘bell curve’.

Shopper Insights

often than weekly. And future alcohol consumption intentions see nearly one in four looking to decrease their consumption, albeit that 75 per cent expect it to remain at the same level. One in eight consumers said the biggest downside of COVID has been drinking too much alcohol, although for context - one in four said it was snacking too much, and one in five said it was snacking more indulgently. We would expect this increased shift to healthier options to play out as a significant uptick in the nascent hard seltzer and hard kombucha categories, as well as in low and no alcohol wines and beers, even during the traditionally indulgent festive season.

A quieter festive season, outdoors A number of studies we’ve run recently, including Project Hearth, all point to more summer gatherings outdoors in public spaces than in previous years due to a degree of continuing consumer caution. Consumers also plan to reduce both how many events they host at home and the number of guests at each

“We have observed across all of our studies this year a consumer desire to support local businesses, with consumers saying they are shopping at local stores 30 per cent more often.” Norrelle Goldring Executive Director Illuminera Australia

of these events, compared to prior years. This means the BYO occasion for picnics and similar is likely to be increased this year. Retailers can capitalise on this, for example by promoting snacks, cheese, charcuterie, Of our Project Hearth sample of 2200 people, 21 per cent said alcohol consumption had increased

and ice. One in seven consumers also want to explore more restaurants; this likewise may involve BYO.

compared to pre-COVID, 16 per cent said it had

Looking further ahead, one of the key determinants

decreased, and 63 per cent said it remained the same.

of the continuation of COVID behaviours will be the

This was very similar to salty snacks and confectionery,

extent to which people return to some sort of work

both similar ‘treat’ categories.

commute. Nearly half (46 per cent) of our sample of

Earlier in the pandemic, as a result of working

2,200 people, as of late October, were now working

from home, consumers were snacking not only more

from home somewhere between occasionally and all

frequently but more indulgently out of boredom and

the time, versus 30 per cent pre-COVID. This can be

needing a break but also as a treat and reward for not

expected to continue as many consumers may not

being able to go anywhere. However in the past few

return to the ‘office’ on a full time basis.

months, in a bid to lose the resulting ‘COVID kilos’ and because many now realise working from home in some fashion is likely to become permanent, consumers are now seeking out healthier snacking options. This shift to healthier habits means it appears we have passed peak COVID liquor consumption. Whilst one in four said they were currently (as of late October) drinking more alcohol than preCOVID, one in five said they are now drinking less. This aligns with the just over one in four drinking daily or more often, but the one in five drinking less

About Norrelle Goldring and Illuminera Norrelle Goldring is Executive Director of Illuminera Australia, part of the fastgrowing APAC analytics, research, strategy and activation-based Illuminera Group of companies. Find more information at

December 2020 | 35

Natural Drink Flavours

As the ‘better for you’ movement continues to rise, natural flavours in alcoholic beverages and spirit mixers are getting their time in the sun with more variety and premium offerings than ever. Brian Chase Olson discovers what new and natural flavours will stand out on bottle shop shelves this summer.

Refined & unrefined 36 | National Liquor News

Natural Drink Flavours

Is it time to start thinking about our 2021 resolutions yet? If you’re like me (or most people) your 2021 plan might revolve around getting to the gym more or drinking less booze than the year before. The ‘no drinking for the next year’ trend embodies the ideals of a New Year’s resolution more than the ‘better for you’ trend and consumers have latched onto it with conscious conviction when it comes to the alcoholic beverages they choose to consume. According to a Nielsen report called The Rise of Mindful Drinking in Australia published in October 2019: “rising popularity of Dry January, Dry July, lowcarb beer, alcohol-free spirits and hard kombucha in Australia suggests that ‘mindful drinking’ is the latest health-craze among Aussie consumers” and these “consumers are increasingly seeking options that are better for their own health.” The need for

“We want drinks that are real and authentic. That said, we don’t want to sacrifice on taste and flavour to do so.” – James Purcell, Brand Lead, Matso’s

products in this space has given producers plenty of motivation to innovate the industry to meet this health-conscious demand. “More and more of us are conscious of what we’re putting into our body – and that’s a good thing! We’re

“Many of us have some nostalgic connection to ginger beer. It’s also incredibly refreshing and well suited to Australia’s climate – there’s nothing better on a hot day than an ice-cold ginger beer.”

looking for options that are lower sugar, lower calorie,

Matso’s Ginger Beer is driving growth in the

vegan friendly and with no artificial flavours or

Australian craft beer category, growing at 44 per cent,

preservatives,” said James Purcell, Matso’s Brand Lead.

and has become Australia’s largest independent ginger

“We want drinks that are real and authentic. That said, we don’t want to sacrifice on taste and flavour to do so.”

beer brand according to Purcell. “There are people that love ginger beer and it’s their regular drink of choice. Other consumers are more

Natural flavours and infusions span the entire

traditional beer drinkers, and they enjoy a ginger

drinks category, with multiple products across beers,

beer as a nice break or change-up. And then there are

ciders, tonics, and the wave of seltzers coming to

drinkers who are moving away from ciders or the RTD

market coining their cans and cartons with the

fridge, but they still want something refreshing and

‘naturally flavoured’ label. As summer heats up, we’re

sparkling that’s full of amazing flavour,” Purcell said.

taking a look at all the refined in quality, yet unrefined

For Ginger Yowie, a ginger beer from Hawkesbury

in process, natural flavours hitting bottle shop shelves

Brewing Co., the process behind infusing the classic

this season.

ginger flavour is of equal importance to the source of the flavour itself, which is why the product is gaining

Classic & fresh ginger

traction with a wide array of drinkers.

An increasingly popular flavour taking over the drinks

“Unlike non-beer or RTD style ginger beers, Ginger

industry is the herbaceous and spicy root plant -

Yowie is brewed on a clear beer base which gives the

ginger. While a popular seasoning for the at-home

perfect foundation to add the natural flavours to

stir fry, it has found a cult-like following in alcoholic

create an alcoholic ginger beer which scores high on

ginger beer and other fizzy sodas.

refreshment and flavour but with way less sugar than

“I think there are a few reasons behind the growth

you will find in most ginger beers,” said Paul Weaving,

in the ginger beer category. It’s a flavour that most of

Business Development Director at Drink Craft, the

us are familiar with and love,” Purcell said.

distributor of Hawkesbury Brewing Co. December 2020 | 37

Natural Drink Flavours

More than lemon and lime Some natural flavours (and naturally flavoured

When it comes to ginger-based brews, the

And as more brands come to market with options

priority of authentic flavours over artificial

for curated cocktails, the need to innovate and

sweeteners as well as the use of locally-sourced

stand out is more important than ever.

ingredients makes ginger a natural flavour standout in the drinks category.

“Just like in food as we have seen a surge in farm to table, restaurants calling out producers,

“Australian consumers now have local

local sourcing and a push back on preservatives

Australian flavoured drinks options, so especially

- drinks [are] no different,” said Emma Evans,

this year, you can support local independent

CEO of Capi.

producers while also enjoying a natural, fruit flavoured drink,” said Purcell.

“Yes, you could add a slice of lemon to a glass of water and call that natural but we live in a fast-

“It’s even more refreshing to see local

paced consumer world. People want ‘on the go’,

consumers shopping more consciously, for

they like new, they like to experiment and you

themselves and their own benefit, but also for

can have so much fun with natural elements. Why

the benefit of Australian producers and suppliers.”

take a short cut or add in something that doesn’t have a name, but is called flavour?”

Exotic mixers

Capi has a wide range of exotic, naturally

Producers of cocktail mixers and non-alcoholic

flavoured sodas, tonics and colas that include

drinks have gone far from basic when it comes to

flavours like Blood Orange, Cucumber & Green

enhancing bubbly beverages with natural flavours.

Tea, and the popular Yuzu citrus fruit using premium quality, 100 per cent natural ingredients. “There is a conscious effort to try to reduce sugar consumption with smart beverage choices. Consumers are more educated, reading labels and calling suppliers out. They want transparency and they want natural. If not natural, then what?” said Evans. The focus on what’s on the label continues in the mixer space with the team from Nexba who released five new ‘Naturally Sugar-Free’ Iced Tea and Tonic drinks, in addition to adding a Mango flavour to its best-selling Kombucha range just in time for summer.

38 | National Liquor News

products) to keep an eye out for this summer:

Fever-Tree Italian Blood Orange Soda Sicilian blood oranges blended with bergamot, mandarin and quinine. Recommended to be served in a spritz or delicious high ball cocktail.

Lust Liquor Mango Passionfruit Seltzer Lust Liquor brings together natural Kensington mango and passionfruit - tropical, bright and ideal for summer drinking.

Fellr Watermelon Seltzer Ripe summer fruit with a grown-up edge. Crafted from a clear, refreshing alcohol base blended with natural flavours and sparkling water.

Matso’s Mango Beer Summer celebrations continue with a hint of ripe mango with a dry finish. Very easy drinking and sessionable. Best served ice cold.








Refresh your flavoured alcoholic drinks range with Matso's range of extraordinary, tropical inspired drinks.








*Available to licensees, managers and decision makers connected to On and Off premise liquor licenses only.

For more information contact your Good Drinks representative or

Natural Drink Flavours

“You only have to scan the supermarket aisles on a Saturday afternoon now and you’ll be amazed at how many people are now reading the ingredients on food and drink labels,” said Drew Bilbe, Nexba Co-founder. “We’re really excited to be able to bring our ‘Naturally Sugar-Free’ philosophy to the mixers category with our new Nexba Tonic Water range. We know that 65 per cent of consumers are seeking natural beverage options to mix with – that volume is staggering and [shows] how ripe the mixers market is for disruption. The future of the category will be natural alternatives that take both health and taste considerations into account in equal measure,” Bilbe said. The new Nexba Naturally Sugar-Free Tonic flavours include a Classic variety; Pear, Jasmine and Hirami Lemon; and Lime, Cucumber and Mint. The Iced Tea range features one litre bottles of a Watermelon flavour and Limoncello Orange flavour. When it comes to naturally flavoured mixers, it’s hard to pass the significant growth of Fever-Tree which in November expanded its range with three new naturally flavoured, low calorie sodas. The new flavour range includes Pink Grapefruit, Lime and Yuzu, and Italian Blood Orange using “naturally sourced ingredients from around the world” according to its Australian distributor, SouthTrade International. “It takes time and passion and the company will not release the flavours till they are perfectly balanced,” said Mirabel Miranda, Fever-Tree brand manager at

Market reception

SouthTrade International.

For some of the newer naturally

Matso’s has recently added

flavoured products on the market,

new naturally flavoured RTDs

the response has been incredible,

Hard Berry and Hard Melon

leading to brands increasing their

following the incredible

offering and ramping up production

success of Hard Lemon.

to keep up with demand.

Meanwhile, Lust Liquor this

For example, Skora said Fellr has: “been doubling production sizes every month and keeping up with the ever-increasing demand has

year built on its vodka soda line with hard seltzer, and have more core and limited edition flavours coming too.

been intense! This is a testament

Rowell said: “The consumer

to investment in premium flavours

reception of our products

to ensure we have the best

has been very positive

product and ensure we get that

and exciting. Our range is

word of mouth referral after

experiencing significant

people try our drinks.”

traction and success in market.”

40 | National Liquor News

“[The new low calorie sodas are] a perfect mixer for the long spritz drinks for summer.”

Natural Drink Flavours

The seltzer wave Even as new categories come into the market, natural flavours play a prominent feature in marketing their point of difference, and it’s clearly a strong selling proposition for the many new seltzer brands coming into Australia this summer. “No sugar is the biggest growth category in

Naturally good retailing Purcell had a great tip for retailers

“Because the ‘better for

Australia right now,” said Nick Cogger, CEO of

about getting the most out of the

you’ consumer exists in most

Torquay Beverage Company.

natural drinks trend: “The best way to

categories, it can be harder

capitalise on the natural flavoured

to capture everyone, without

Seltzer in September this year in two flavours - Mango

drinks trend is, where space permits,

a clearly marked destination

+ Pineapple, and Peach. The team worked about nine

creating a destination in your store

instore. And even if space is

where these shoppers can browse a

an issue, try and communicate

cross-category range of ‘better for

the benefits on shelf using visual

you’ drinks.

cues and POS.”

Torquay Beverage Company launched NoSh Boozy

months to develop the flavours, collaborating with dedicated flavour houses to land just the right flavour profile for their new seltzer range. “With a flavour like pineapple, each flavour house would have 20 different options you could choose

“We could have cut costs by getting off-the-

from. [For] pineapple specifically, we went through

shelf flavours, but knowing there would be many

40 different samples to try and find one that tasted

competitors hitting the market simultaneously, we

like a pineapple crush drink, rather than a pineapple

decided to spare no expense sourcing the best flavours

lolly,” Cogger said.

to create beverages that taste as close to their real fruit

Another Australian brand emerging in the seltzer

as possible.”

space is Fellr, developed and launched in May this

The development of flavours is crucial for seltzer

year by former Pernod Ricard pair Andy Skora and

brands as it continues to become flooded with both

Will Morgan.

local and international players.

“For Fellr, we wanted to appeal to a broad

“The perfect taste will never be created quickly. It

audience, with a product line that catered to many

takes many sample batches and headaches before you

different tastebuds. We ended up launching with our

get the profile perfect,” said Nick Rowell, Director and

flavours Lime & Soda, Dry & Lime and Watermelon,”

Co-founder of Lust Liquor.

the pair said.

“Consumers want cleaner beverages that they can

“From the outset, we wanted to prioritise flavour

feel good about. Liquor suppliers are innovating to

and spare no expense in developing the best, [natural]

keep up with the health-conscious market, which is

tasting products on the market.

creating a promising and diverse category.”

December 2020 | 41

Imported Wine

All about the

imports Shoppers want to explore and learn about wine from all over the world, but they need help to do that.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic closed borders,

Wines, noted, this builds interest in more consumers

exploring wine regions across the world was an

who want to explore new wine experiences.

experience that many Australians loved. Each country

“Customers come in three categories: those that

has something different to offer, with countless

know about imported wines, those that want to know

varietals, styles and terroirs to sip and swirl through.

more about imported wines (especially old world

Of course, things are different now. There have

Europe) and those who have heard about imported

been no holidays to Champagne, to Tuscany, to

wines and want to be sophisticated but really have

California, nor any region outside Australian borders.

very little knowledge,” Stubbs said.

And while that is certainly disappointing for avid

“When a customer is shopping for imported wines,

wine travellers, it has also helped force opportunities

they are often looking at an area or region, mainly

for wine consumers to be creative and bring all kinds

because over the last few decades travel has become

of experiences into the home like never before.

more affordable to allow more experiences of overseas

Key to fostering the spirit of exploration for wine consumers is the imported wine sector, which quite literally provides a taste of another world.

holidays... Imported wines let them relive the good times. “And once the door to new experiences with wine and food is open, people are more willing to experiment.” The opening of this door encourages consumers

Above: Kirkpatrick Estate, image courtesy of New Zealand Wine

42 | National Liquor News

What consumers look for

to not only look at one particular country of origin

There are many types of imported wine shoppers

for wine, but also sample from all over the world.

looking for multiple things that the sector can offer. As

Wine Intelligence notes this is one way that interest

Andrew Stubbs, Manager of Vine, Providore of Fine

remains piqued.

Ben Luker, Wine Intelligence Country Manager for Australia and New Zealand, told National Liquor News: “There is great opportunity for wine from any destination, as specific country or region of origin is playing a lesser role than in previous years. As long as brand owners are effective in their marketing mix, there is no reason why imports can’t succeed in the Australian market.” However, this doesn’t mean that shoppers ignore the country of origin when buying imported wines. Tim Evans, National Business Manager for Imports at Negociants Australia, said consumers are often driven in their wine explorations by where a wine comes from, as evident in recent sales trends. In terms of what has been popular, Evans said: “It’s more the indigenous grapes. In Italy, certainly its the Sangiovese and Nebbiolo, showcasing Tuscany and Piedmont for example. “If you go across into France, we’re seeing a great interest in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, which follows some of the trends we’ve been seeing domestically as well. So customers are supporting some of those countries and regions that specialise in those grape varietals.”

“The aromatic profile is very different from Australian wines which permits consumers to

As Stubbs pointed out, imported wine shoppers

discover new styles of wines. On the imported side,

either have or want to have more wine knowledge,

there is a large range of options going from the big

so they are looking for ways they can authentically

bold reds that we can find in Bordeaux, the Napa

explore the roots of the varietals they know and love,

Valley or Argentina, to the lighter style ones produced

as well as exploring new styles to experiment with.

in Burgundy, Loire Valley or Barolo for instance.

This is why Guillaume Bladocha, APAC Export

“As for rosé or sparkling, I think the country

Director for Barton & Guestier, the oldest wine

of origin often forms the central criteria to the

merchant in Bordeaux, said: “imported wines can

consumer’s selection. A Provence, a Champagne, a

appeal to all generations of Australian shoppers.

French sparkling or a Prosecco are key categories that are almost considered as brands.”

A commitment to capitalise The biggest opportunity to capitalise on imported wines lies in the crux of what draws many customers to the sector - knowledge. It’s important to do your research

Quick facts • Imported wine accounts for approximately 18 per cent of wine in the Australian market, equating to around 100 million litres per year. • The biggest importer of wine into the Australian market is New Zealand, followed by France and Italy.

in all areas, and understand that you’ll need to invest in not only bringing the wines to your store, but making sure your staff are properly equipped to know how to assist customers on their imported wine journey. “To capitalise on imported wines takes time and money and there’s no point going in unless you are committed both in product and staff knowledge - without both you have nothing...This is all about knowledge, knowledge and more knowledge!” Stubbs said. December 2020 | 43

Imported Wine

Bladocha agreed and said that while most retailers who stock imported wines were doing a great job, he would suggest keeping in mind the importance of knowledge. “Help the Australian shopper have an easy understanding of the imported wine with a shelf label clearly stating the country/region of origin as well as the varietal(s) of the wine,” Bladocha suggested. “Another way to offer a premium service to clients would be to provide extra training to the staff. We have noticed that after every single training we have conducted to the sales team of our partners, the staff feel much more comfortable in pitching our wines to their clients as they now understand the region of origin, the tasting profile, how to pair it with food,… the list goes on.” Evans noted this as well, and said this doesn’t mean retailers are on their own or don’t have an easy entry point to get into the sector. “I think it’s important for retailers to be confident in what they are representing and what they have on the shelf. And that’s really our role as distributor, to educate our customer and that transcends down the line,” Evans said. “Everyone has different tastes but it’s just that

“Once the door to new experiences with wine and food is open, people are more willing to experiment.” – Andrew Stubbs, Manager, Vine, Providore of Fine Wine

experimentation, that story and that little bit of

The COVID challenge

knowledge that helps point people in the right

COVID-19 has affected all areas of Australian


business, and the importation of wine is not immune. As with other industries, supply chains have been impacted by the pandemic, making it even more challenging to import wine into Australia. But that shouldn’t put the sector in the ‘too hard’ basket. Evans said imported wines bring something unique to the local drinks market, and so are something worth investing in. “There’s definitely a lot of complexity around imports, but it certainly makes the world of wine quite an interesting place,” Evans said.

44 | National Liquor News

@ L F S E LT Z E R



4.8% <1g ALC/VOL




New Zealand’s first Wine Seltzer, crafted with premium Leftfield wines, sparkling water and locally-sourced natural botanicals. Launching January 2021. For more information contact your House of Fine Wine customer manager or phone 1800 845 526

Wine Tasting Review

Riesling and Semillon In the last tasting of the year, the National Liquor News panel caught up on missed varieties, sampling a range of Riesling and Semillon varieties. Here are their highest scoring wines across three price brackets.

The Panel ➤

Panels Picks

C hristine Ricketts, Wine Educator, Endeavour Group Geoff Bollom, Retailer, Fennell Bay Cellars M ichael Park, Wine Merchant, Dan Murphy’s Kingsford M ark Bradstreet, Key Account Manager, Joval Wine Group Nigel Burton, CEO, Burton Premium Wines A ndy Young, Editor, The Shout & Bars and Clubs

Audrey Wilkinson

Bird in Hand


The Ridge Semillon


Mackenzie William


1896 Riesling

Region: Hunter Valley

The System 95-100 Classic: an exceptional wine 90-94 Outstanding: a wine of remarkable character 85-89 Very good: a wine with impressive qualities

46 | National Liquor News

VIN: 2011 LUC: $41.93

Region: Clare Valley

Region: Eden Valley

Distributed by: Agnew Wines

VIN: 2020 LUC: $16.98

VIN: 2020 LUC: $14.20

Distributed by: Bird in Hand

Distributed by:

“This is just everything you want in a Semillon. It’s fresh, vibrant and youthful beyond its years.” – Mark Bradstreet

Brockenchack Wines

“Surprising with its sweetness, but so balanced – yum!” - Christine Ricketts

“Delicious, grapey sweetness meets sherbert zest. Long, juicy and great potential.” – Michael Park

Wine Tasting Review

LUC over $20 Castle Rock Estate

Pewsey Vale 1961

Porongurup A&W

Block Riesling

Reserve Riesling

Region: Eden Valley

Region: Great Southern

VIN: 2018 LUC: $20.70

VIN: 2017 LUC: $22.58

Distributed by:

Distributed by: NSW: IS Wine;

Samuel Smith & Son

VIC: Prime Wines; WA: Fine Wine Wholesalers

“Long and layered. Balancing acidity.” – Christine Ricketts

“Nice lemon aromas for this well-structured wine that’s already displaying it will age wonderfully.” – Andy Young

Petaluma Hanlin

Peter Lehmann

Hill Riesling

Wigan Riesling

Region: Clare Valley

Region: Eden Valley

VIN: 2020 LUC: $28.05

VIN: 2013 LUC: $31.50

Distributed by:

Distributed by: Casella

Accolade Wines

Family Brands

“Long and pretty. Lovely!” – Michael Park

“Crisp, dry wine with lemon and lime citrus aromas and balanced fruit palate.” – Andy Young

“Most wines were of a high standard showing great wine making talent.” Geoff Bollom Retailer Fennell Bay Cellars

Food Pairing Mesh

Eddystone Point



Region: Eden Valley

Region: Tasmania

VIN: 2019 LUC: $20.32

VIN: 2019 LUC: $21.78

Distributed by:

Distributed by:

Negociants Australia

Accolade Wines

“Dry and restrained. Tight acid but billows out on the finish.” – Christine Ricketts

“Pineapple on nose, slight sweetness. Balanced fruit.” – Nigel Burton

“ These wines are crying out for seafood – oysters, prawns or cray. For the veggos, a summer citrus salad.” – Mark Bradstreet “ For Riesling – King George Whiting, pan fried.” – Christine Ricketts “ Oysters for Riesling and soft creamy cheese for Semillon.” – Nigel Burton “ Spicy Thai curry.” – Michael Park

December 2020 | 47

Wine Tasting Review

LUC $15-$20 James Estate

Kilikanoon Mort’s

Reserve Semillon

Block Watervale

Region: Hunter Valley

“Strong group of Rieslings showing varietal characters.” Nigel Burton CEO Burton Premium Wines


VIN: 2016 LUC: $15.75

Region: Clare Valley

Distributed by:

VIN: 2019 LUC: $16.12

James Estate Wines

Distributed by: Kilikanoon Wines

“Really interesting, developed flavour. Savoury and complex.” – Michael Park

“Juicy and concentrated. Builds complex flavours to finish. Long and juicy.” – Michael Park

Andrew Thomas


Joe’s Block Semillon


Region: Barossa

Region: Adelaide Hills

VIN: 2020 LUC: $19.35

VIN: 2020 LUC: $16.99

Distributed by:

Distributed by:

Sydney/ACT/VIC: Vinous;

Bleasdale Vineyards

QLD/SA: Pure Wine Co.; Rest of NSW/National: Thomas Wines

Editor’s Picks ➤

0 Heggies Vineyard 9 Estate Riesling 2019, Eden Valley, LUC $16.99 (Samuel Smith & Son) 9 Pooles Rock Single 8 Vineyard Semillon 2017, Hunter Valley, LUC $29.03, (Agnew Wines) 9 Andrew Thomas Cellar 8 Reserve Braemore Semillon 2013, Hunter Valley, LUC $43.00 Sydney/ACT/VIC: Vinous; QLD/SA: Pure Wine Co.; Rest of NSW/National: Thomas Wines 7 Jacob’s Creek Classic 8 Riesling 2020, South Australia, LUC $7.34 (Pernod Ricard)

48 | National Liquor News

“Mid-weight nose, fruity grapefruit, lemon characters. Pleasing finish.” – Nigel Burton

“Delicate, but closed. Shows real potential. Soft and refined.” – Michael Park

Brand’s Laira Old


Station Riesling

The Dry Dam

Region: Coonawarra

Region: McLaren Vale/

VIN: 2019 LUC: $15.48

Adelaide Hills/Clare Valley

Distributed by: Casella

VIN: 2020 LUC: $15.05

Family Brands

Distributed by: NSW/ACT: Young & Rashleigh; QLD: The

“Pleasant and balanced. Very flavoursome.” – Christine Ricketts

Wine Tradition; VIC: The Wine Company; SA: Empire Liquor; WA: Off The Vine

“Very pleasant with a good balance and a lingering finish.” – Christine Ricketts

Wine Tasting Review

LUC $15 and under Grant Burge Thorn

Peter Lehmann

Eden Valley Riesling

Portrait Riesling

Region: Eden Valley

Region: Eden Valley

VIN: 2018 LUC: $11.84

VIN: 2020 LUC: $14.19

Distributed by:

Distributed by: Casella

Accolade Wines

Family Brands

“Lemon on nose, rich fruit balance, acid long finish.” – Nigel Burton

“Lemon strong nose, lighter on finish. Balanced acid.” – Nigel Burton

Riesling facts ➤

T he Riesling grape originates from Germany, dating back to the 1400s. A ustralia has the world’s fourth biggest planting of Riesling vines by acreage. R iesling is especially expressive of terroir, showing a transparency of flavour reflective of the place of origin.

Semillon facts Andrew Thomas

Calabria Three

Synergy Semillon

Bridges Reserve

Region: Hunter Valley


VIN: 2020 LUC: $13.98

Region: Australia

Distributed by: Vinous

VIN: 2012 LUC: $11.60

Sydney/ACT/VIC: Vinous;

Distributed by: Calabria

QLD/SA: Pure Wine Co.;

Family Wines

Rest of NSW/National: Thomas Wines

“Balanced and showing lovely flavours. Very easy to drink.” – Christine Ricketts

S emillon vines first came to Australia in the early 19th Century. F or a long time Semillon was mislabelled as Riesling in Australia. S emillon is said to cellar well, often getting better over time.

“Nose is all buttery toast with a side of marmalade. Palate is soft and gentle with a butterscotch finish. A delight.” – Mark Bradstreet

Jacob’s Creek


Barossa Signature



Region: Hunter Valley

Region: Barossa

VIN: 2019 LUC: $14.57

VIN: 2018 LUC: $12.52

Distributed by: NSW:

Distributed by:

Cuttings Wine Merchants;

Pernod Ricard

Margan Wines

“More forward and some developing notes but nicely balanced. Pleasant finish.” – Christine Ricketts

“For a young Sem, this is great! Crisp, dry, good fruit.” – Geoff Bollo

“No real kerosene character in many of the Rieslings, just great, fresh fruit.” Michael Park Wine Merchant Dan Murphy’s Kingsford

December 2020 | 49

Retailer Profile

Tailoring the retail approach With a group of 11 stores, Shane Madden, General Manager of Retail Liquor Specialists Group, describes the importance of building individual businesses for long term success. Tamworth store to win NSW Retailer of the Year at the IBA Five Star Awards last year. When asked about his secret to success and standing apart from competitors, Madden noted that “there’s no silver bullet.” “It’s simply keep trying, keep measuring, keep communicating with stakeholders, building those relationships and getting an understanding of what people really want or need - it changes frequently and if you are not able to sit down with a supplier or team member and understand how everyone’s needs can be accommodated, then that relationship is not working and needs change of some kind,” he said. Being connected to IBA banners also helps carve out the identity of each of the Retail Liquor Specialists

“Keep trying, keep measuring, keep communicating with stakeholders, building those relationships and getting an understanding of what people really want or need.” Shane Madden General Manager Retail Liquor Specialists Group

Shane Madden is no stranger to the bottle shop game, as General Manager of Retail Liquor Specialists Group.

“IBA gives us a very strong backbone to build our

The group has 11 stores across regional NSW and

business around. It’s not the whole strategy, you still

the ACT under Independent Brands Australia’s (IBA)

need to know who your customers are and what they

Cellarbrations and The Bottle-O banners. Despite

expect from you, but in our case Cellarbrations and

similarities, Madden appreciates the importance of

The Bottle-O fit what and who we want to be, they

tailoring the approach to each specific store, making

have some very exciting plans for the future, and give

sure it works for the local customers and communities.

us some security in what is a very competitive market

Madden said the philosophy behind all stores

place,” Madden said.

is: “Quite simply, to build long term profitable

In terms of what that future holds, Madden has his

businesses. We are not looking to trade in and out

eye on the hard seltzer category and will also be taking

of stores regularly, we believe in the towns we are

extra care to make sure the in store teams are taking

located and want to be there for the long term building

care of themselves after a challenging year.

relationships with our customers.

“COVID has certainly been a challenge…

“We obviously look for synergies between stores

unfortunately what we don’t recognise enough is the

and scale where we can but that’s a lot harder than

impact it’s had on front line retailers and their staff,”

it used to be, so being able to customise strategy to

Madden said.

a specific store is essential. Our back of house team

“Anxiety and stress has been at an all-time high,

work extremely hard to provide the appropriate tools

but our staff have continued to turn up to work when

for our store managers.”

it would have been very easy for them to stay home. I

This kind of strategy works well for the Retail Liquor Specialists Group, and helped its Cellarbrations 50 | National Liquor News

Group stores.

am very grateful for that and I think they all deserve an extra thank you for what has been a very tough year.”

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