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Australia’s Leading Liquor Industry Magazine

vol. 39 no. 1 - February 2020

The 2020 Annual Industry Leaders Forum



‘For 36 years National Liquor News has been the leading trade publication communicating news, trends and in depth features to educate and inform liquor retailers nationally.’

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Editor’s note


Editor’s note Happy New Year! I hope that you’ve all had

never been more proud to be a part of this industry.

PUBLISHED BY: Food and Beverage Media Pty Ltd A division of The Intermedia Group 41 Bridge Road GLEBE NSW Australia 2037 Tel: 02 9660 2113 Fax: 02 9660 4419 Publisher: Paul Wootton Editor: Deborah Jackson

a fantastic start to 2020. I know that it’s been a

If any of our readers have been affected and have

bit rocky for some with bushfires and drought

stories that you’d like to share that will help raise

affecting tourism to many regional and holiday

awareness and recovery, then please just drop me an

Journalist: Tam Allenby

destinations. And this has had a staggering

email on and I would

impact on what would normally be the busiest

be more than happy to share them for you.

General Manager Sales – Liquor & Hospitality Group: Shane T. Williams

trading period of the year.

As the first issue of 2020, we once again bring

But while it has been heartbreaking to hear the

our Industry Leaders Forum, where we’ve spoken

stories from the regions that have been the worst

to retailers and leaders from around the country

impacted, what has been incredibly inspiring is

to hear about the successes and challenges of 2019,

to see the way the industry has rallied together to

and to discuss what we can expect from the next 12

support each other during this time.

months. We’ve also gathered insights from Nielsen,

I’ve heard stories of wine regions setting up fruit registers so that wineries and growers can share grapes with other winemakers in need of support.

Roy Morgan, Euromonitor, IRI and much more to determine what will be on trend in 2020. I wish you all a successful and prosperous 2020!

I’m also sure that we’ve all heard about the Empty Esky campaign which has gone viral on social


media, encouraging tourism back to these bushfire


Journalist: Brydie Allen

Group Art Director – Liquor and Hospitality: Kea Thorburn Production Manager: Jacqui Cooper Subscription Rates 1yr (11 issues) for $70.00 (inc GST) 2yrs (22 issues)for $112.00 (inc GST) – Saving 20% 3yrs (33 issues) for $147.00 (inc GST) – Saving 30% To subscribe and to view other overseas rates visit or Call: 1800 651 422 (Mon – Fri 8:30-5pm AEST) Email:

affected areas. Further to this, there has been millions of dollars

Deborah Jackson, Editor

raised, warehouse space and trucks donated, and

02 8586 6206

water delivered – it has been truly inspiring, and I’ve


Top Reads ➤

Average Total Distribution: 10,119 AMAA/CAB Yearly Audit Period ending September 2019.

22 Climate Change: Weather vs Wine 98 The hidden threat to your brand 78 Are seasonal beers creating a trade hangover?

National Liquor News is proudly partnered with Retail Drinks Australia.

8 | National Liquor News

This publication is published by Food and Beverage Media Pty Ltd (the “Publisher”). Materials in this publication have been created by a variety of different entities and, to the extent permitted by law, the Publisher accepts no liability for materials created by others. All materials should be considered protected by Australian and international intellectual property laws. Unless you are authorised by law or the copyright owner to do so, you may not copy any of the materials. The mention of a product or service, person or company in this publication does not indicate the Publisher’s endorsement. The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Publisher, its agents, company officers or employees. Any use of the information contained in this publication is at the sole risk of the person using that information. The user should make independent enquiries as to the accuracy of the information before relying on that information. All express or implied terms, conditions, warranties, statements, assurances and representations in relation to the Publisher, its publications and its services are expressly excluded save for those conditions and warranties which must be implied under the laws of any State of Australia or the provisions of Division 2 of Part V of the Trade Practices Act 1974 and any statutory modification or re-enactment thereof. To the extent permitted by law, the Publisher will not be liable for any damages including special, exemplary, punitive or consequential damages (including but not limited to economic loss or loss of profit or revenue or loss of opportunity) or indirect loss or damage of any kind arising in contract, tort or otherwise, even if advised of the possibility of such loss of profits or damages. While we use our best endeavours to ensure accuracy of the materials we create, to the extent permitted by law, the Publisher excludes all liability for loss resulting from any inaccuracies or false or misleading statements that may appear in this publication. Copyright © 2020 - Food and Beverage Media Pty Ltd

Contents February 2020

News & Predictions 12 News: The latest liquor


Research, Insights & Associations

industry news for retailers


around the country

78 Shopper Insights: Seasonal

Predictions: Our features industry leaders predict

and limited release beers 80 Alcohol Beverages

2020’s trends

Retail, Wholesale & Suppliers 27


28 Australian Liquor Marketers 30


32 Australian Vintage Limited

Climate Change

Advertising Code 81 Alcohol Beverages Australia 82

Brewers Association of Australia


Cider Australia




Euromonitor: Hard Seltzers are going to be different


Bacardi-Martini Australia


Black Sheep Bottle Shops


Brown Family Wine Group




Bucket Boys


Campari Australia


Cape Byron Distillery




Crafty Buggers


De Bortoli




Good Drinks


Good Pair Days


Halewood Australia


Independent Liquor Group


Independent Liquor Retailers


Kollaras & Co




Liquor Barons


Liquor Legends


Liquor Marketing Group


Pernod Ricard


Porter’s Liquor

Year in Review


Nip of Courage



Thirsty Camel


Treasury Wine Estates


William Grant & Sons


Wines of the Loire Valley



10 | National Liquor News


Independent Brewers Association


IRI: Drinks trends and predictions


Liquor Stores Association of Western Australia

94 Nielsen: The rise of mindful drinking 95

New Zealand Wine


Retail Drinks Australia


Roy Morgan: Consumer distrust – the hidden threat to your brand


Shopper Intelligence: Putting shoppers at the heart of your business


Spirits & Cocktails Australia


StrikeForce: Research, plan and execute


Wine Australia

We recap the key stories that shaped the Australian liquor industry in 2019


Top scoring wines of 2019

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News The latest liquor industry

For retailers around the country

Concerns grow over Kimberley alcohol ban Western Australia’s Commissioner of Police, Chris Dawson, has submitted plans to restrict the sale of some types of alcohol by bottle shops in the Kimberley region, now being considered by the Director of Liquor Licensing. Dawson told WA Radio station 6PR that the proposal was now being put out for consultation.

Responses The Liquor Stores Association Western Australia (LSA WA) CEO Peter Peck said: “Moves like these by police are always of great concern. It’s a well-known fact that blanket restrictions do not work and in fact can harm a local economy which is the last thing small communities need right now.” The WA State Government said it understands this is a “challenging issue” with complexities relating to tourism and the local economy. Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan told the ABC “whatever steps are taken need to be compatible with a thriving tourism industry. “Whatever we do, it’s got be done in a sufficiently smart way, so that it doesn’t drive a massive trade in sly grogging, big social problems, and the organised crime problems that can come with that.”

Proposed alternatives

Longview celebrates 20th vintage in 2020 Longview in the Adelaide Hills is reaching its 20th vintage milestone in 2020. And

An alternative being looked at by LSA WA and AHA WA is a Banned Drinkers Register (BDR), with the LSA and AHA trial scheduled to begin early this year, and that there was a two-year timeframe for further discussions of a potential state-wide rollout on its success. LSA WA President Lou Spagnolo told National Liquor News: “On BDR we are

although they were lucky enough not to lose

rolling out the hardware to the Pilbara this quarter. We are confident it will

anything in the nearby Cudlee Creek fire last

have a significant impact on the targeted people. Moving forward it is hoped

year, Longview Director Mark Saturno says

the BDR will reduce the need for blanket restrictions.”

that vintage 2020 will be their leanest, after donating fruit to affected winemakers. “As far as quantity, it will be down, but as far as quality, I think you can expect some pretty elegant fruit being picked later in the year,” he said. After the harvest is done, Longview will be taking time to celebrate its 20-year achievement. “We like to get on with it and don’t make too much of a song and dance about things unnecessarily, but this time we think that it really is worth crowing about.” Along with the anniversary, 2020 also marks a shift in Longview’s winemaking, as Saturno describes “lots of changes afoot and lots of things in the wings”.

12 | National Liquor News


Ian Atherton to step down as Spirits Platform CEO Ian Atherton will be stepping down from his role as CEO of Spirits Platform in September and will take up the role of Chairman. Mungo Gilchrist, who has more than 35 years’ experience in consumer marketing businesses,

Tyrrell’s makes tough vintage decision Tyrell’s has made the decision to have a severely reduced 2020 vintage, with an estimated 80 per cent of crops lost to smoke taint.

will move into the role from Rémy Cointreau. Atherton said that the new appointment was not influenced by Rémy being around 45 per cent of Spirits Platform’s total business. “It was more that when we set up the business five years ago Mungo was very instrumental in

Managing Director and family patriarch, Bruce

helping us do that,” Atherton said. “He is a very

Tyrrell, has told National Liquor News that there is

pragmatic operator and I think he’ll be a good

no certainty over the remaining 20 per cent, which

leader of the business.”

More Newsletter reads Hunter Valley 2020 vintage challenging but not doomed

Devastation in the Adelaide Hills will be felt for years

The hard work and determination behind Last Man Standing beer

Spirits Platform opens WA office

Last chance to make ACCC submission on Asahi-CUB deal

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

will continue to be tested. “Smoke taint is a very inexact science,” he explained. “It might not be there now but in 12

Kaufland announces surprise Australia exit

months’ time it can come back.”

Hypermarket Kaufland has announced it will exit the

Impacts across the Hunter

Australian market, after the

The impact of smoke taint is not universal

approval of multiple stores,

across the region. The Hunter Valley is a large

a distribution centre and a

geographical area and there were many factors

headquarters, and investing

to consider when making the decision including

more than $500 million.

proximity to the fires, elevation of vineyards, and days in contact with fresh smoke. Across the Hunter, winemakers and growers

The reason for the withdrawal was described as unrelated

are still assessing their grapes, and the region

to local factors and Frank

has come together to share the results of their

Schumann, acting CEO of

individual testing to get a broader view.

Kaufland International said the company wants to concentrate on business

Winemakers and grape growers across the region are very proud of the Hunter’s reputation and will not make wines that could damage that standing. In a statement, Tyrrell’s said: “As with any other

back in Europe, where they: “see a great deal of growth potential.” Kaufland’s 200 Australian staff were told the news on the same day it was announced publicly. What is yet to be known is what will happen to the sites where construction has already begun, including

year, any wine that we do bottle from the 2020

the distribution centre in Mickleham which has had significant work

vintage will only be of a standard that the family

undertaken since last June.

deem befitting of our 162-year legacy.” February 2020 | 13

News The latest liquor industry

For retailers around the country

Stone & Wood tops GABS Hottest 100 Stone & Wood’s Pacific Ale has taken out the top spot in the GABS Hottest 100 for 2019. The 12th year of the poll saw 35,500 beer lovers place over 177,000 votes, nominating more than 2,500 beers from 290 breweries. Craig Williams, GABS Festival Event Director and organiser of the poll said Stone & Wood’s Pacific Ale has been the Hottest 100’s most outstanding performer since it debuted under its original name in 2009, with this it’s fourth time at the top. He said: “To me, it’s a testament both to the beer’s quality and consistency, but importantly to the community and lifestyle they’ve built around the brand.” Taking up second place was previous two-time winner Balter XPA and third place for the third year in a row was BentSpoke Crankshaft. Other honourable mentions include Feral’s Biggie Ale, climbing 93 places from last year’s results, and Queensland breweries, which was the most featured state in the list.

The Mount Pleasant vineyard

Administrators look to recapitalise or sell McWilliams McWilliams Wines Group has appointed voluntary

“We are seeking expressions of interest to recapitalise or

administrators who are now looking at recapitalising the

acquire the Group to take this heritage brand forward in the

business, or finding a buyer for the group.

future both locally and globally.”

KMPG partners Gayle Dickerson, Tim Mableson and Ryan

Jim Brayne, Chairman of McWilliams Wine Group, said the

Eagle were appointed after McWilliams said a number of

group will now work with the administrators to find a positive

factors caused a decline in business performance.

outcome for the business.

Dickerson, Restructuring Services Partner, KPMG Australia said: “We are in the initial phase of the administration process where our priority is to undertake an immediate assessment of the business and its operations. “The company will continue to operate as normal and we are working with the McWilliams family with the support of

“We have not made the decision to enter into voluntary administration lightly,” Brayne said. “We will work closely with the administrator during the process in order to strengthen the prospects of a positive outcome for all involved.” The McWilliams portfolio includes McWilliams and

its employees while we work hard to try to preserve one of

Mount Pleasant and the company is also the sole

Australia’s oldest winemakers.”

Australian distributor for Champagne Taittinger, Mateus,

Speaking about plans for McWilliams, Dickerson added:

14 | National Liquor News

Henkell and Mionetto.


Banned Drinkers Register rollout set The Banned Drinkers Register (BDR) trial in the Pilbara

Wine Origins Alliance urges US not to put tariffs on wine

region of Western Australia is set to rollout in the first

The Wine Origins

quarter of 2020.

Alliance (WOA), made

The Australian Hotels Association (AHA WA), Liquor

up of 28 organisations

Stores Association of Western Australia (LSA WA) and

from 11 countries,

Tourism, Liquor and Racing Minister Paul Papalia have

including Australia,

met with community stakeholders for consultative

is urging the US

meetings ahead of the rollout.

Government not to impose tariffs on wine.

How it works

The US trade war

Scanning technology in all takeaway licensed premises

has imposed tariffs on

would cross check customer photo identification with

imports, impacting the

the BDR and if the machine turns red, the customer

spirits industry, but this

would be denied the purchase.

is the first time wine may be affected.

Banned drinkers include drunk drivers and domestic

In a letter to the US Trade Representative Ambassador Robert

violence abusers, whose details would be shared

Lighthizer, the WOA said: “Instead of putting tariffs on unrelated

with rehabilitation agencies if flagged trying to

products, like wine and sparkling wine, the US and EU should

purchase alcohol.

increase their efforts to resolve these serious trade-related problems between them so the unrelated trade in wine products is

How it will help

not unintentionally harmed.”

AHA WA CEO Bradley Woods said: “With technology rapidly changing how we work, live and interact with each other, the BDR has the potential to be at the frontier of harm minimisation for alcohol fuelled antisocial behaviour, particularly in WA’s regional and remote communities.” LSA WA CEO Peter Peck said there’s no other system in place to both identify and rehabilitate problem drinkers. “It’s encouraging to see [the government], listening to industry and making a decision for the benefit of the entire community. We know that blanket alcohol restrictions don’t work. We know penalising many for the sake of a few bad

Endeavour Drinks to take Shorty’s national

apples isn’t the way to solve these issues.”

Endeavour Drinks has acquired a majority interest in Shorty’s Liquor in a strategic move to enter the growing business to business channel where they are currently unrepresented. Shorty’s Liquor is a leading drinks retailer servicing corporate customers and on-premise venues in Sydney. The strategic partnership will see Endeavour Drinks work alongside Shorty’s founder, David Short, to support an expansion into Melbourne, Brisbane and other capital cities over the coming years. David Short will continue to lead the business within the broader Endeavour Group. Endeavour Drinks Managing Director Steve Donohue, said: “Developing

Liquor Minister Paul Papalia with Pilbara MP Kevin Michel and local licensee Sharon Guilford

new growth avenues is a key priority for Endeavour Drinks as we work to connect everyone with a drinks experience they’ll love.” February 2020 | 15

2020 Trend Predictions

Industry leaders predict 2020 trends

Our featured leaders highlight their 2020 trend predictions across beer, wine, spirits and total retail. From convenience and sustainability to health and wellbeing and capturing those ‘Instagrammable’ moments – these are the trends that will shape the liquor industry this year.

“Like most in spirits I see premium continuing to grow over mainstream; with gin and local craft spirits to further power along in 2020. Premium mixer brands like Fever Tree will continue to play a pivotal role in elevating the simple mixed drinks experience; not only for gin but also expanding into dark spirits outside of traditional cola. Lower ABV and lighter spritz style drinks will also continue taking share from the more traditional categories of beer and wine. One area outside the usual I see emerging next year will be brands that bring the energy back into socialising and not take themselves too seriously. A growing group of consumers are becoming bored of every brand having a ‘big authentic story’ and looking to connect with brands that as Cyndi Lauper famously said ‘just wanna have fun.’ Did someone say FIREBALL.”

Ray Noble, Managing Director, SouthTrade International

“The health and wellness and premiumisation trends will see people drinking less in quantity but higher quality products. The effects of this fire season will be reflected in heightened consumer expectations of businesses’ sustainability efforts which will increasingly be considered in their


purchasing decisions.”

Darren De Bortoli, Managing Director, De Bortoli

“Consumers are broadening their taste for bolder flavours with an

“Consumers will always want to try something new and

increasing appreciation for the craft behind the liquid as seen across

exciting. They are happy to pay a little bit more for very

Single Malt Scotch and Super Premium Bourbons. An overarching

high-quality product, but I also think consumers are becoming

theme, which has found its way to liquor, is health and wellbeing.

more discerning. They don’t want to pay double the price for

More health-conscious drinkers have contributed to the rise of

something that’s half the quality.”

healthier mixers, soda water (Highballs) and no sugar alternatives.”

Hugh Roxburgh, Founder, Crafty Buggers/

Andy Kim, VP, Interim MD, Finance Director at Brown-Forman

Buckley’s Rye Whisky

16 | National Liquor News

2020 Trend Predictions

“Consumers are always looking for better quality, particularly because we are more educated

“I can see that consumers will continue to choose

and knowledgeable than ever

quality over quantity and will have a further vested

before, with information at our

interest in purchasing products that have a strong

fingertips in an instant.”

purpose and sense of locality.”

John Kollaras, Managing

Eddie Brook, Co-founder, Cape Byron Distillery

Director, Kollaras & Co

“Convenience will continue to play a huge role as the lives of consumers get busier which contributes to the growth of emerging channels, particularly in e-commerce and in innovation in the RTD space. We can already see this reflected on the great reception of our recent launch of Bombay and Tonic ready to drink.” Mauricio Vergara, Managing Director, Bacardi-Martini Australia

“A positive for independent retail liquor is the consumer trend towards convenience… This trend, and retailers who harness it, will derive greater growth than the overall market in 2020.”

Gavin Saunders, CEO, Liquor Marketing Group


“Consumers, particularly the younger audiences, have a stronger focus on health and wellbeing, which is driving innovation in our new product development. In line with the health and wellbeing trend, delivering engaging and memorable brand experiences is critical with a younger demographic.”

Bryan Fry, CEO, Pernod Ricard Winemakers

February 2020 | 17

2020 Trend Predictions

“The rise in consumer focus around health and moderation will see the lighter in and alcohol free category expand dramatically. Additionally, the heightened discussions around sustainability will be a key consideration for the industry going forward.” Peter Neilson, Managing Director ANZ, Treasury Wine Estates

“Discovery and experimentation are key drivers of millennial and luxury consumer choices. We see that shoppers are increasingly seeking out unique and interesting products, not only for their own exploratory needs… But for those ‘Instagrammable’ moments.”

John Kollaras, Managing Director, Kollaras & Co

“There is no doubt there is a love affair at present for all things pink. Extending out from this more and more forms of category blur, for example Squealing Pig Rosé Gin. Beyond the pink and


into the category blur is VB Tea, Baileys Strawberry Ice Cream and other examples of where the brand or the

“I think consumer awareness around independent beer will

product sits outside their

continue to grow. It’s clear, not only in the beer market but

normal category place.”

throughout food and beverage more generally, that people

Jason Bowyer, Buying

want to know and understand where products come from.”

Director for Wines and

Aaron Heary, Chief Strategy Officer and Chief

Sparkling, Aldi Australia

Operating Officer, Good Drinks

18 | National Liquor News

2020 Trend Predictions

“Craft is still driving growth in the overall beer category with consumers aged 20 to 39 continuing to favour quality over quantity. While Pale Ale still represents 50 per cent of craft beer, consumers are shifting into emerging styles and brands. IPAs and Summer Ales are continuing to show good growth and we expect that to continue into 2020. Emerging flavours like Gose will gain further traction in the coming summer.”

Scott Hadley, Chief Commercial Officer, Asahi Premium Beverages

“Continued growth of savoury reds such as Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, Sangiovese and Grenache. I think Grenache is the most exciting wine for the Australian industry in the near future.”

“Premium spirits will continue to drive accelerated spirits category growth. Consumers will continue to trade up to more premium propositions both across the on and off-premise.” Colin Rochester, General Manager

“Many of the current trends will no doubt continue into 2020, with the likes of wine in

ANZ, William Grant & Sons

can at the fore. With expanding palates comes the opportunity to explore emerging varietals, while conversely the ever-popular varietals of Rosé and Prosecco show no signs of slowing down.”

Peter Neilson, Managing Director ANZ, Treasury Wine Estates February 2020 | 19


Nick Waterman, Managing Director, Yalumba

2020 Trend Predictions

“The flavoured gin trends are there for all to see and we expect significant growth in this area next year with our belief Whitley Neill will continue to drive this category as it has done in other markets already. In Australia this may also be driven by the Spritz movement which we see continuing to grow and we are also very excited to see the Gin and Soda movement grow.” Lawrence Williamson, Managing Director, Halewood Australia

“Whilst we know that the ‘better for me’ category will continue to grow, we will also see popular categories become “Craft is still driving growth in the overall beer category with consumers aged 20 to 39 continuing to favour quality over quantity. While Pale Ale still represents 50 per cent of

is traditional Bourbon drinkers, who are beginning

show good growth and we expect that to continue

to experiment with

into 2020. Emerging flavours like Gose will gain further

Rye Whiskies.”

Asahi Premium Beverages

“Rosé continues to be a key driver of growth across the wine market. Looking


free sector, where we have recently introduced McGuigan Zero.” Jeff Howlett, General Manager Australia and New Zealand, Australian Vintage Limited

20 | National Liquor News

A perfect example of this

and brands. IPAs and Summer Ales are continuing to

traction in the coming summer.”

about the opportunities in the alcohol-

adapt to market trends.

craft beer, consumers are shifting into emerging styles

Scott Hadley, Chief Commercial Officer,

forward to 2020, we are also excited

more dominant as they

John Kollaras, Managing Director, Kollaras & Co

2020 Trend Predictions

“...lighter styles both in taste and alcohol content we see as an emerging consumer trend. We currently have many wine varieties that are lower in alcohol with Moscato and Cienna and are working hard both in the winery and the vineyard to develop techniques that create lighter dry styles with flavour.” Dean Carroll, CEO, Brown Family Wine Group

“Local spirit interest will continue and become more exciting as a number

“The trend of

of gin and vodka distillers start to

convenience will continue to grow

“There will be further

Simon Durrant,

online purchasing and

innovation in product

Managing Director, Campari

with improvements

and packaging.

in technology and

Brand experience

logistical service it will

will be important.

“I think we will be seeing the trend

see people ordering

We will work closely

of low ABV drinks continuing and a

wine ‘on demand’. This

with partners to

greater showcase of spirits utilising

convenience is also

offer both appealing

native flavours. In the next year we

leading to dining in

product and relevant

will be seeing some new innovative

the home and therefore


Australian whiskies hitting the

consuming wine

Cam Pearce,

market and this will be a great

at home.”

Director Marketing

exciting dynamic to the Australian

Nick Waterman,

and Innovation,

whisky market offering.”

Managing Director,


Eddie Brook, Co-founder,


Cape Byron Distillery

February 2020 | 21


produce local brown spirits.”

Climate Change

Weather vs Wine: How climate change is impacting Australia’s wine industry

Brydie Allen investigates the impact that climate change is having on Australia’s grape and wine community and discovers research being developed to help mitigate against its effects.






wine through these severe weather incidents. In fact,

Meteorology (BOM) recorded in its annual climate

winemakers and grape growers across the country

statement that 2019 was the country’s hottest and

have been battling the effects of climate change for

driest year on record. Temperatures were around

years, and it’s only getting harder.

two degrees higher than average, national rainfall was 40 per cent lower than average, heatwaves and

Vintage compression

drought were widespread and the fire danger index

One common impact of climate change to our wine

was the highest in recorded history.

industry is that higher temperatures are causing

At the turn of the New Year and decade, these effects

grapes of all varieties to ripen earlier.

of climate change were all too fresh in our minds,

Wine Australia CEO, Andreas Clark, said:

with weather conditions fuelling an unprecedented

“Within Australia, climate change has been most

bushfire crisis. Several people lost their lives, a billion

evident in changes to the timing of grape ripening,

animals perished, thousands of homes were lost and

which has resulted in average harvest dates very

millions of hectares burned, including up to 30 per

slowly moving forward year-by-year.

cent of vineyards in the Adelaide Hills.

“The changes to the timing of grape ripening

In other wine regions close to fire grounds, grapes

has also created what is referred to as ‘compressed

being infected by smoke taint has also become a

vintages’, whereby red and white grape varieties are

fear. Meanwhile, other parts of the country became

ready to pick at the same time, which places greater

threatened by flash floods, giant hailstone storms

pressure on vineyard and winery infrastructure.”

and even a tropical cyclone. But climate change isn’t just impacting Australia’s 22 | National Liquor News

This vintage compression or compaction is something that the Barossa Grape and Wine

“Retailers and the drinks industry are part of our community and with their support grape growers and winemakers can continue to innovate and be global leaders in mitigating the effects of climate change,” Andreas Clark, CEO, Wine Australia

Climate Change

Association has been seeing over time, as Viticultural

The current bushfire crisis

Development Officer Nicki Robins describes.

In recent years, scientists and firefighting experts have warned of

“There’s more of that now because we are

worsening fire seasons, so with unprecedented conditions sparking earlier

experiencing hotter, drier, summers,” Robins said.

and more ferocious fires than we’ve ever seen, that’s what started in

“The fruit ripens more quickly and that can mean that

September 2019 and continues around the country today.

Cabernet is being picked at the same time as Shiraz,

Fires and smoke have most heavily affected the wine regions of the

which could be picked at the same time as Riesling.

Adelaide Hills, Kangaroo Island, NSW Southern Highlands and Hunter

When it was cooler and not as dry, the harvesting of

Valley. Vineyards, infrastructure and equipment have been damaged or

those varieties would be more spread out.”

destroyed, while related extreme heat and smoke has damaged large

Earlier ripening has been contributing to vintage compression for years, with multiple sources

amounts of grapes. “Recovery will take a long time, and we must also be better prepared

recording that harvest times of today are up to three

for the next crisis that will come,” Battaglene said. “The bushfire season

weeks earlier than they were around 20 years ago.

is still in its early days, so we have a long way before we get through the

One of these sources is Professor Snow Barlow of

current situation.”

the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences

In many areas, the damage is still being assessed and it may take years

at the University of Melbourne, who has been

to understand how much has been lost. But Clark said: “fortunately not all

working in climate change research since the early

vineyards in these areas are fire damaged.”

80s. For the past 20 years, Professor Barlow has

Throughout all the devastation though, the industry has rallied together

been particularly focused on how climate change is

to do what they can to help. Countless suppliers and retailers have raised

impacting the Australian wine industry.

funds and awareness, while the wine industry itself has donated profits,

Thanks to meticulously kept records from

products and grapes to support the relief and recovery effort.

winemakers in most regions around the country, Professor Barlow and his team have been able to track the changing harvest dates and sugar contents of grapes for up to 100-years in some cases.

Prue Henschke assesses the damage to the Lenswood vineyard

The collection of this data, as well as anecdotal evidence along the way from the makers, allowed the researchers to create a sort of database that shows the changes in maturity times for grapes. From that, Professor Barlow told National Liquor News: “On average, Australian winemakers over the last 25 years have harvested about a day earlier every year.” With harvest times pushed closer together, there’s a logistical and resource allocation nightmare created, which may make winemakers consider harvesting earlier or later than usual. But if the sugar contents that Professor Barlow studied is not correct at the time of harvest, the wine’s taste will be affected. Tony Battaglene, Australian Grape and Wine Chief Executive, described the impacts on the wine itself in a recent presentation. He said picking unripe grapes results in “high acidity, low sugar and bitter, unripe flavours,” while picking overripe grapes results in “low acidity, high alcohol content and cooked flavours”. Clark says: “The Australian grape and wine community has been proactive in its approach towards adapting to and mitigating against climate change.” February 2020 | 23

Climate Change

One of the approaches is a research partnership with Wine Australia and CSIRO. Doctor Christopher Davies is the Team Leader and Senior Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO Agriculture and Food, Waite Campus, in South Australia, and said one of the main goals of the partnership is to alleviate the impacts of climate change created vintage compression. Dr Davies and his team split their time between vineyards and the lab, using technology and science to understand what happens inside the berries. “We’re trying to understand more exactly the mechanisms that control ripening and the onset of ripening, so that we can understand what’s happening due to climate change, and how we can manipulate ripening to try and solve some of those problems.”

The CSIRO researchers split their time between vineyards and the lab

An example of the techniques coming from

are trying other ways to protect against climate change, and as Clark said: “It is an integral part

this research is the use of synthetic plant growth

of vineyard management.”

regulators, sprayed on the vines to delay the

For example, Professor Barlow said from

ripening process.

his research he’s found growers planting new

As Dr Davies explains, plant growth regulators

vineyards in non-traditional directions that will

are substances which are involved in coordinating

provide less direct sunlight throughout the day.

processes in plants, such as berry development

Robins said that Barossa growers are making

and ripening. The CSIRO team has been able to

sure they’re using effective canopy management

create man-made copies of one of these regulators

and pruning techniques.

that is involved in growth, called auxins.

Long term weather impacts

“[Their levels are] normally high early – so in little berries they’re really high, but the systems inside the berries make them decrease as they grow. When they get to a certain level, then the block in ripening is released and so they ripen,” Dr Davies said. The auxins can be sprayed before ripening has begun, to delay the process up to two weeks. Parts of vineyards can be treated and delayed while the rest of the vineyard is processed at the natural timeline. “In theory it could help with the both the logistics of intake and improve the quality because you can control the time when you pick better,” Dr Davies described. Unfortunately, although auxins are already registered and used in pears and apples, they’re not yet available for use on grapes. In the meantime, growers and winemakers 24 | National Liquor News

The current widespread drought, which some

A word from the editor The conversation around climate change has never been more important, so in 2020 National Liquor News will host a series of roundtable discussions to keep the conversation going and help raise awareness on how our industry is suffering. If you would like to be a part of the conversation, I’d love to hear from you on Cheers, Deb Jackson

refer to as the worst in living memory, is greatly impacting the whole liquor industry in Australia and wine is no exception. Years of limited rainfall means that water is increasingly becoming scarce and a more valuable than ever commodity for all growers. With supply more and more limited, water management and irrigation techniques need to be extremely efficient and effective. Clark said the Australian wine industry’s approach in this regard is ahead of other industries and countries. “Australian viticulture has been at the forefront of smarter water management and we continue to invest in R&D to optimise irrigation and develop rootstocks that exclude sodium and chlorine and are water efficient,” Clark said.

Climate Change

The ongoing drought has pushed for adapted approaches to everything from water and irrigation management, to soil health and mulching. Integrated strategies like this are something that Barossa Grape and Wine Association advocates for.

as well as increase the fire risk to unprecedented levels, as we’ve so recently seen. However,




conditions are characterised by more than just heat. “It’s not only the high temperature but the

“What we try and do is talk to growers about

predicted increased range of effects,” Dr Davies said.

smoothing out the ebbs and flows of vintage

“This year, for example, we had a quite unseasonably

variation,” said Robins. “We’re really focused

cool period in flowering, and if you get cool periods

on things like improving soil health including

around flowering it can actually inhibit flowering

under-vine mulch and mid-row cover, good

and so yield can be quite low.”

irrigation management, and effective canopy management techniques.”

How you can help

But the only way you can manage water is if you

For the past few months we’ve seen many incredible

have access to it in the first place. Professor Barlow

acts of support from across the whole drinks industry

highlighted that there are many producers that don’t

to help those impacted by the bushfire crisis. The stories

have public irrigation schemes nearby which makes

coming from devastated areas of the wine industry all

accessing enough water very difficult. Each year this

encourage us to keep buying their products.

problem gets harder.

Australia’s wine industry knows that the

“Water becomes a problem for many of those

challenges presented by climate change are the new

producers, and it’s a big problem this year… they’re

normal. As it gets harder to manage, it’s important

really struggling,” Professor Barlow said.

we continue supporting producers in the best way

“People expect perhaps the yields to be down this year, mainly because many of these vineyards just don’t have enough water. If you take it forward 20 years, we think those problems are going to be worse, much worse.”

that retailers can – stocking local wines. Clark said that: “Australian wineries are open for business and we need your support. “Retailers and the drinks industry are part of our community and with their support grape

On top of the drought, unpredictable weather

growers and winemakers can continue to innovate

conditions and events are becoming more common.

and be global leaders in mitigating the effects of

Harsh heatwaves and strong winds can damage vines,

climate change.”

“We’re trying to understand more exactly the mechanisms that control ripening and the onset of ripening, so that we can understand what’s happening due to climate change, and how we can manipulate ripening to try and solve some of those problems,” Dr Christopher Davies, CSIRO

Inside the CSIRO research lab

February 2020 | 25

Suppliers, Retail & Wholesale From health and wellness to supporting local and excelling in convenience, we’ve spoken to leaders from right across the liquor industry and have discovered all the answers that will help set you and your business up for a successful 2020.

26 | National Liquor News


Aldi leverages double digit growth Aldi’s Australian liquor range is growing at a rate above the market average and Jason Bowyer, the Buying Director for Wines and Sparkling, predicts this momentum will continue in 2020.

Jason Bowyer Buying Director for Wines and Sparkling Aldi

In 2019, Aldi had its strongest award-winning year to date, with a trophy for beer, six gold medals for spirits, and more than


150 medals and three trophies for wine. According to Buying Director for Wines and Sparkling, Jason Bowyer, the international accolades continue to challenge perceptions about the link between price and quality. “We are really proud of the year Aldi had in 2019. Led by a strong year of stellar awards, our most to date, our alcohol range continues to wow our customers on value and quality,” Bowyer said. “Our $6.99 One Road South Australian Heathcote Shiraz 2018 won gold at the Great Australian Shiraz Challenge for the third year in a row. Quite incredible that a wine we retail for $6.99 consistently trumps wines many times its price.” Aldi’s liquor range is also showing “above market” double digit growth, says Bowyer. “We do not believe there is another national retailer seeing the levels of growth we are seeing. Our performance over the last five years has been very strong, so to continue experiencing compelling

“Drought, fires, higher temperatures and a lack of water are all contributing to a level of uncertainty within the industry. It is important that we work with our partners in finding solutions that are not only good for the customer, but also the supplier and us, the retailer.”

organic growth outside store growth is testament that we are dragging more shoppers our way,” Bowyer says. Continuing to leverage the opportunities provided by this growth

Another trend that Aldi will focus on in 2020 is that of the mindful shopper, with consumers increasingly making buying

is a focus for Aldi in 2020, as it aims to deliver quality products at

decisions based on product origins, ingredients, production

scale to customers. Rather than attracting new customers to the store,

techniques and sustainability. In this sphere, organic, biodynamic,

Bowyer said the goal is to drive existing shoppers and “convert more

vegan and low/no alcohol products will do exceptionally well.

of them to do their liquor shopping with Aldi”.

The key to success

Mindfulness about the environment is also being applied to other areas of the business, with Aldi working to create the best solutions for all parties involved in transactions in-store.

One way to encourage this conversion is by tailoring the offering

Bowyer said: “Drought, fires, higher temperatures and a lack

and marketing to consumer trends in the drinks market. Aldi sees

of water are all contributing to a level of uncertainty within the

a number of key trends emerging that will impact all categories.

industry. It is important that we work with our partners in finding

“How, when and what consumers are drinking is definitely changing. Consumers’ repertoire of products is far broader than ever before and they are chasing refreshment, occasion and the

solutions that are not only good for the customer, but also the supplier and us, the retailer. “We work incredibly hard with our great pool of business

visual element to how and what they drink, often drinking across

partners to bring our customers what they deserve – great

categories,” said Bowyer.

quality products at everyday low prices. Working with us is

“There is a move to lighter and fresher styles of drinks across

easy; shopping with us is even easier. We work hard to keep the

the beer, wine and spirits space. In wine, that is Prosecco, Pinot

customer’s trust. They know when they come to Aldi they will be

Grigio, rosé, Gamay, Grenache and Tempranillo.”

getting a good value product every time.

February 2020 | 27

Australian Liquor Marketers

ALM continues fighting for independents With new CEO Chris Baddock taking the helm in 2019, ALM is set to continue championing successful independents in 2020.

Chris Baddock CEO, ALM

Porters Liquor North Narrabeen

At the 2019 Independent Brands Australia (IBA) trade workshop, Australian Liquor Marketers (ALM) CEO Chris Baddock encouraged attendees “to think about our purpose – championing successful


independents, our passion – independents are worth fighting for and finally our partnership as it’s the only way we can achieve together”. This core theme is also symbolic of ALM’s actions and attitudes over the past year, despite it being full of change and transformation. Baddock said these values will be the driver for the organisation in 2020 as well. He said there is an “absolute focus on enabling our retail partners to service their customers through the best store in town, efficient and effective supply chain, a fair retail price for all, building

Big data and AI at ALM

a robust omni-channel and building long term partnerships with

One of the positives that using big data and AI has had for

suppliers, retailers, contract customers and across the network”.

ALM, is: “An ability to build an assortment of products in

In pushing for this, several opportunities will be available to ALM, including some that are challenging. Baddock said that the goal is to always ensure that retailers can

our promotional programs which cater for a broad range of customer needs,” said Baddock. “This assortment is designed around the customers’

“service their customers’ needs and do this better than anyone else

requirements which gives us the ability to build profitability

by using their localised services to the communities they work,

into the program. As consumers repertoire’s grow and their

live and shop in”.

desire for more localised and craft brands increases we need

Throughout Baddock’s transition into his role as CEO in

data to help us foresee emerging trends, big data and AI helps

2019, he has learned about the best ways that ALM can help their

us do this. We will also use data to help build a more focused

retailers, by reflecting on the past.

core retail program which drills down to store needs.”

“All retailers have been very welcoming, helping me get to know the business, sharing their experiences, their needs and at times sharing the history of ALM with the good and the less than

sustainability of the industry. One of the ways that ALM and their retailers may be working

good to enable me to respect the past and think of ways in which

together for innovation in 2020 could be in the online sphere,

we can embrace the future.

with Baddock hinting to “watch this space”.

“This has been a great experience, the independent channel is

“We have some very exciting plans which will be shared with the

vibrant and well positioned to capture the ever increasing need

market during the year. We are working with retailers first, asking

for convenience. The ability of our retailers to move quickly to

them for input to ensure together we deliver a platform which is right

cater for convenient shopping experiences amazes me... This

for today and can also grow as technology changes,” Baddock said.

makes me determined to build programs which enable retailers to keep on innovating.” In line with ALM’s passion to fight for independent retailers,

Regardless of how the industry changes in 2020, what will remain for ALM is the same desire to champion successful independents. As Baddock said: “Doing this for family businesses excites the

they are also campaigning alongside industry bodies to ensure

team and I, as we say independents are worth fighting for – now

responsible retailing of drinks. Innovation around sociability

that’s something that gets me jumping out of bed and embracing

and moderation will prove key in this regard to maintain the

the day.”

28 | National Liquor News




Asahi Premium Beverages


Another stellar year for Asahi Premium Beverages Asahi Premium Beverages’ Chief Commercial Officer Scott Hadley discusses the brands, awards and exciting acquisitions that made last year such a successful one for Asahi.

Asahi Premium Beverages (APB) enjoyed another stellar year in 2019, with its brands performing well in the marketplace and

Scott Hadley Chief Commercial Officer Asahi Premium Beverages

Beacon, when asked about APB’s major beer plays of last year. But given the multitude of craft breweries in Australia, why

receiving a multitude of industry awards and accolades along the

did APB choose Green Beacon in particular? “In essence Green

way. For Scott Hadley, APB’s Chief Commercial Officer, highlights

Beacon gives us a broader footprint in the very fragmented craft

included the return of Somersby to growth thanks to the launch

beer market,” explains Hadley. “Importantly the brand has a very

of Somersby Watermelon and Lower Carb; the strong first year

high-quality reputation and with its presence in Queensland gives

performance of Goat Lager; and the September launch of Two Suns,

our business a fantastic platform to further expand our craft beer

APB’s newest beer brand.

presence in north eastern Australia.”

“Geoff Day, a veteran of Australian brewing, teamed up with Yosuke Tajika one of our talented Japanese brewers, to create this

Quality over quantity

highly refreshing full flavoured beer,” Hadley told National Liquor

In terms of wider beer trends, Hadley says craft options are still

News. “Combining Australian malt and wheat using Asahi Japan’s

driving growth in the overall beer category, particularly among

state of the art brewing techniques, we have been delighted with

consumers aged 20 to 39 who are “continuing to favour quality

the initial feedback on this true ‘collaboration’ beer.”

over quantity”. He also has some predictions about what beer

Of course, one of the major industry stories of last year was the proposed merger between Asahi and Carlton & United Breweries

styles to look out for over the coming 12 months. “While Pale Ale still represents 50 per cent of craft beer,

(CUB), but given the sensitive nature of the deal – and the fact

consumers are shifting into emerging styles and brands. IPAs and

that it may not be approved by the ACCC until March – Hadley

Summer Ales are continuing to show good growth and we expect

focuses on another acquisition, that of Queensland’s Green

that to continue into 2020. Emerging flavours like Gose will gain

“As an industry we need to keep lifting the bar ourselves and ensuring that we are all promoting and marketing our products responsibly. This is vital if we want to continue to be able to operate without further heavy regulations being imposed.”

further traction in the coming summer.” Given APB’s diverse portfolio and the strength of its staff – both factors which contributed to APB being named Off-Premise Supplier of the Year for the third year running at the 2019 ALIAs – Hadley is very optimistic about the company’s future, although he does foresee some challenges, mainly in the form of regulation. “APB is also facing the same issues that the entire industry is facing – greater regulation and tighter restrictions which impact the way in which we sell and market alcohol products,” he says. “This will continue, and we need to be innovative to find ways to adapt to these changes while maintaining high levels of responsibility.” He continues: “As an industry we need to keep lifting the bar ourselves and ensuring that we are all promoting and marketing our products responsibly. This is vital if we want to continue to be able to operate without further heavy regulations being imposed. “While most of the industry do the right thing, the whole industry is tarnished when others are making and selling products which appeal to minors or are marketed in an irresponsible way. It’s about us all doing the right thing.”

30 | National Liquor News


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Australian Vintage Limited


AVL positions for global growth 2019 was a year of growth for Australian Vintage Limited both in Australia and internationally. And with an exciting pipeline of innovation in the works, that growth momentum looks set to continue into 2020.

Jeff Howlett General Manager ANZ Australian Vintage Limited

The Tempus Two tasting room in the Hunter Valley

Strong showings from Australian Vintage Limited’s (AVL) four core brands – McGuigan, Tempus Two, Nepenthe and the Barossa Valley Wine Company – made for a successful year for AVL, despite some challenges faced along the way. Jeff Howlett (GM Australia and New Zealand) explains, it was these core brands that drove a successful international expansion, showing a combined global growth of 10 per cent. However, success wasn’t only found overseas. “In Australia, we saw gains with McGuigan up eight per cent and Nepenthe by six per cent, which is a great result,” Howlett says. “Last year, Tempus Two was also Australia’s fastest-growing wine brand. In September, we launched a prominent abovethe-line advertising campaign, ‘Distinctively Bold’, which has accelerated the brand’s momentum further, positioning it well for continued growth in the year ahead.” AVL’s success is made all the more impressive when

“The wine category has to focus on introducing new products and consumption rituals to unlock new entrants and occasions to ensure long-term growth. Being market driven and agile is critical.”

considering the tough conditions in the vineyard; in May, the company revealed that both crush and yield numbers were down, the weather having played havoc with the year’s harvest. Howlett says: “Some of our vineyards were impacted by frost towards the end of 2018, followed by extreme heat in January and

AVL’s new CEO Craig Garvin brought with him a vision to, in Howlett’s words, “accelerate our focus and investment behind the key brand portfolio”. “Given the rapidly changing retail and consumer environment

February. These conditions pose a challenge to viticultural teams

we operate in, it will be increasingly important for us to embrace

and we are using a number of initiatives in the vineyards.

market, consumer and shopper insights to capitalise on emerging

“We are fortunate to have a highly talented team of

trends and opportunities,” Howlett says.

winemakers, who have been nurtured and mentored by Neil

Looking to 2020, Howlett points to a focus on sustainable

McGuigan, and use their skill to ensure wine quality does not

winemaking practices and innovation as key priorities for AVL.

suffer whatever mother nature throws at us.”

He predicts that rosé and alcohol-free products – such as AVL’s

Looking ahead Another milestone for AVL in 2019 was the resignation of Neil

recently launched McGuigan Zero – and new and emerging grape varietals as the trends likely to shape the year ahead. “We are working on an exciting pipeline of innovation,

McGuigan as CEO in late July, after nine years in the role. While

bringing new varietals to market, such as an Australian Malbec,”

he continues to be involved with AVL as the company’s Technical

he reveals.

Advisor, McGuigan’s impact on the business was extensive. “Neil has created a huge legacy in the global wine industry and

“The wine category has to focus on introducing new products and consumption rituals to unlock new entrants and occasions

helped lead AVL’s transition to a branded business,” says Howlett.

to ensure long-term growth. Being market driven and agile is

“During his tenure, we have achieved an outstanding reputation

critical. We have some of the country’s best winemaking assets,

for our wine quality.”

enabling us to deliver market-leading products.”

32 | National Liquor News

Selling experiences, not bottles: Bacardi-Martini Australia Bacardi-Martini Australia continues to kick goals, and its four core brands of Grey Goose, Bombay Sapphire, Bacardi and Patrón are some of the most recognisable in the marketplace. So, what’s behind this success?

“I don’t see Bacardi as a company that sells bottles.” These words from Bacardi-Martini Australia’s (BMA) Managing Director Mauricio Vergara go a long way in capturing the company’s forward-thinking ethos. Instead of just selling bottles, Vergara says, BMA excels at capturing experiences.

Mauricio Vergara Managing Director Bacardi-Martini Australia

“In today’s world, the consumers’ needs and expectations are changing faster than ever and consumers expect brands to deliver on these needs fast and keep surprising and delighting them.”

“I like to think more about us as a company that seeks to provide exceptional experiences to our consumers by being present

how their needs evolve so we can deliver the most relevant

in the moments that matter the most to them, all the way from

innovation and find better ways to engage with them,” he says.

an exceptional event to a romantic dinner at home or enjoying watching their favourite sports team play as they have a great time

A collaborative approach

with friends,” he says. “Many of these experiences start when a

“In today’s world, the consumers’ needs and expectations are

consumer is planning to shop for their favourite spirits brand.”

changing faster than ever and consumers expect brands to deliver

Leading the charge for BMA in the retail market are its four iconic brands: Grey Goose, Bombay Sapphire, Bacardi Rum and

on these needs fast and keep surprising and delighting them.” As a supplier, Vergara says that one way of achieving this is

Patrón Tequila, which are all experiencing growth in what is a

by working closely and collaborating with retail partners in the

very competitive premium spirits environment.

off-premise and sharing insights about consumer behaviour with

“Success for these brands comes from putting consumers at the heart of everything we do, providing them with meaningful and relevant experiences that are part of their lifestyle.” Vergara summarises the key trends of the moment as

one another. “Our retail partners have a huge amount of data and knowledge about how consumers shop, what their preferences are, the occasions they shop for and what are they looking for,” he says. “As

premiumisation, convenience and the “better for you” trend, with

brand owners and suppliers, we have a very deep understanding

consumers reaching for lower sugar and lower calorie options.

of the consumer trends, how consumer needs are evolving and a

Of course, these consumer tastes and expectations are constantly shifting, and staying on top of them is what Vergara sees as the

global view of how the international trends may impact Australia. “Sharing these insights and finding ways to partner with the

biggest challenge for BMA in the years ahead. “Our biggest concern is

common objective of delivering better products and experiences

always to stay in touch with what consumers want and understanding

to the shoppers and consumers will result in continuing to drive growth for the spirits category.” As for the future? Well, Vergara says BMA will continue to do what they do best: delivering “outstanding drinks and experiences to consumers in line with our purpose of inspiring consumers to celebrate moments that matter, one drink at a time. “We’ll continue to work hand in hand with our retail partners to deliver exceptional drinks and continue to play a leading role in the premiumisation of the spirits industry,” he adds. “Consumers are drinking less but better and Bacardi-Martini is perfectly positioned to satisfy the increasing demand and consumers preference for carefully crafted, high quality, premium spirits.”

February 2020 | 33


Bacardi-Martini Australia

Black Sheep Bottle Shops

Keeping ahead of the curve This month we caught up with Lyal Midgley, Owner/Director of Black Sheep Bottle Shops, which has five outlets in Queensland.

have is that I can decide and implement something very swiftly, whereas I’m sure the big companies would find it harder to action something quickly. Power costs are a real


challenge, as in some cases our electricity bill is as dear as our rent (compared to the old days when power costs were reasonable). We put solar in where we can, but only a few landlords are accommodating. Q: What is the philosophy

of craft beer breweries as they

behind Black Sheep?

emerged and took risks to delete

be the buying power and pricing

LM: We are proudly family

many mainstream beers in order

strategy of the big boys and staying

Q: Where was your first job in liquor?

owned (by the Midgley, Lockyer

to fit in plenty of craft. With wine

in the same ballpark as them price

LM: I bought my first pub in Longreach as a 23-year-old in 1989. Moved in upstairs with my wife and kids and loved it from day one.

and Nightingale families). We

ranging we try and avoid some

wise. I have noticed in recent years

strive to offer the best possible

of the biggest companies who in

a positive sentiment from a large

variety and range of products

our view are too embedded in the

portion of the public wanting to

with a focus on boutique wines,

major retail groups.

support the independents which is

The Quick Fire Round

An obvious challenge would

craft beers and artisan spirits.

We put lots of thought and

Our wines cover all bases from

effort into creating a more artisan

Q: What are the biggest

organic and biodynamic, small

fit out of our stores with lots of

issues facing liquor retailers?

wineries from all Australian, New

timber and chandeliers, etc. We

LM: The delivery and online sales

Zealand and other international

are proactive in seeking a product

model is going to be increasingly

new world regions, plus of course

if we think it will be positive

challenging, but human resources

a range of Old World wines from

for our group. A good recent

is probably the biggest challenge

most European countries.

example of this is when Bleasdale

overall. Your best employee is

Excellent, friendly,

recently took out the prestigious

probably your greatest asset, but

knowledgeable and courteous

Jimmy Watson Trophy with Wild

conversely your worst employee

service would be the other

Fig Shiraz Grenache Mourvèdre

can do you untold amounts

cornerstone of our philosophy

– we then immediately cut a

of damage, when we are in an

Q: Favourite tipple?

to succeed in a very competitive

large commitment deal with our

industry that is so reliant on

LM: A family creation and favourite is ‘The Beautiful’ – Bombay Sapphire, ice, a couple of fingers of tonic and a light splash of fresh orange.

retail environment.

supplier of Bleasdale wines, that

customer service and relatively

Q: How do you set your stores

enabled us to be the only retailer

slim dollar margins. I have been

apart from competitors?

in Queensland to get access to

lucky to have some fantastic long-

LM: We work hard at keeping

the wine.

term staff that have been amazing

fresh, always looking to stay ahead

Q: What are the benefits of

for the business, but bad previous

of the curve where possible. For

being independent?

staff have cost me a lot of money

example, we sought out a lot

LM: The biggest advantage I

as well.

Q: Footy team you support? LM: All Queensland teams especially the Broncos.

Q: Favourite holiday destination? LM: Kingscliffe.

34 | National Liquor News

very encouraging.

Brown Family Wine Group is on the up Dean Carroll, CEO of Brown Family Wine Group, details a strong year for the company in 2019 – and anticipates where future growth may be found both domestically and internationally.

Dean Carroll CEO Brown Family Wine Group

When asked about his 2019 highlights, Brown Family Wine Group (BFWG) CEO Dean Carroll has a long list to share. The company celebrated its 130th year in 2019, and by continuing to grow in sales; domestically, multiple brands across the BFWG portfolio are growing ahead of the market – including the Devil’s Corner brand (which “continues to lead the Tasmanian wine charge”) and the Innocent Bystander label – and BFWG was even recognised as the country’s ‘Leading Wine Supplier’ in the annual Advantage Trade Benchmark Survey. “All areas of our business impact this result and our peoples’ commitment to delivering what is of value through efficiency, insights and focus on quality is outstanding,” Carroll says. BFWG also experienced success at the 2019 ALIAs, taking home best Australian/International Sparkling for its Brown Brothers Prosecco. Carroll says that this category is “still a strong growth category with considerably more potential,” because “Sparkling is often about celebration and Prosecco has

“As regions get warmer and drier our ability to find wine varieties and areas that prosper in that environment will be a key focus.”

transcended that by creating appeal for the everyday. “If you look at it purely as a sparkling wine, we are only just

“Slowing overall consumption remains a threat both to us

reaching 10 per cent of the Sparkling Category where in the UK for

and the industry,” he says. “The constant increase in costs many

instance it exceeds 50 per cent,” Carroll explains. “Yet as we believe it

associated with resources and the impact of climate change

also attracts the White Wine, Cider and White Spirit consumer then

continue to pressure us. For example, our insurance bill has been

the opportunity remains substantial for Prosecco in upcoming years.”

driven up 233 per cent in the last two years as regional areas

One major trend that emerged even further in 2019 was canned wine, and BFWG is well represented in the category with four products: Innocent Bystander Moscato, Brown Brothers

are seen as higher risk in increasingly dry climates and building materials once considered acceptable are now seen as less so.” Carroll is also concerned about the impact climate change will

Prosecco Spritz, Brown Brothers Moscato One, and Brown

have on limited resources such as water, and the knock-on effects of

Brothers Moscato Rosé One.

this both for his company and the wine industry at large.

“We continue to work with retailers to test execution and

Export will be an increasing focus for BFWG heading into the

availability of ‘Wine in a Can’ in-store with some retailers choosing

future, and in particular, export to the Asian market. “Our focus

a dedicated ‘Wine in a Can’ bay and others merchandising the

is in Asia through its proximity and our wine style match to the

products next to the core 750ml bottle to highlight the choice

emerging opportunity with Asian wine consumers,” says Carroll.

of pack format options available within the brands/products,”

But it’s not just a case of getting BFWG wines in as many markets

he explains. “We are helping to educate consumers via serving

as possible.

suggestions on back of pack and point of sale.” In terms of future challenges, Carroll describes them as “many

“For a business our size with finite resources, doing this in many countries is uneconomical so we focus on a small number

and varied”, stretching from declining consumption to changing

of priority markets and seek to overinvest to understand and

environmental conditions.

deliver to those customers.”

February 2020 | 35


Brown Family Wine Group



Brown-Forman: Riding the wave of quality drinks Brown-Forman continues to benefit from the ongoing trend of premiumisation – with consumers choosing to drink less but drink better.

When you think of Brown-Forman, you probably think of whiskey – and it’s no surprise to learn that leading brands like Jack Daniel’s continue to be the shining lights in the company’s portfolio. However, white spirits – and in particular, tequila and gin – have experienced a resurgence in recent years, and with BrownForman well represented in these categories, strong results are being posted beyond whiskey. “As we look outside of the whisk(e)y category and consider

Andy Kim Vice President, Interim Managing Director & Finance Director, Brown-Forman

“We have focused on building the advocacy and awareness of our brands, through tastings, trainings and increasing our presence at whisky shows. This has served these brands well and we will continue to build on this approach over the coming months and years.” Building successful brands

tequila, El Jimador and Herradura are both seeing high double-

The acquisition of the BenRiach distillery three years ago was a

digit growth,” says Vice President, Interim Managing Director,

significant moment in Brown-Forman’s history, and reflected a

and Finance Director at Brown-Forman Andy Kim. “Our white

renewed consumer interest in single malt Scotch. As the fourth

spirits portfolio is complemented this year with the recent

largest growth contributor to the glass spirits category in 2019,

purchase of Fords Gin. This is the first gin in the Brown-Forman

single malts are on the rise, and Kim says Brown-Forman “couldn’t

portfolio, with Australia being the first Brown-Forman global

be happier” with how the BenRiach portfolio (which also includes

market to assume direct distribution in late 2019.

Glendronach and Glenglassaugh) has performed, collectively tripling

“Gin continues to be the fastest growing category in spirits, so it is a wonderful time to introduce this premium gin into the marketplace.” Of course, brown liquor – and in particular American whiskey – is still central to Brown-Forman’s success. Beyond Jack Daniel’s, which was the focus of an above-the-line media campaign across

in size since the brands were acquired. What’s behind this success? “At Brown-Forman, our mission is to enrich the experience of life, in our own way, by responsibly building beverage alcohol brands that thrive and endure for generations.” Dark spirit RTDs are another growth category, and Brown-

Australia in 2019, Gentleman Jack and Woodford Reserve are also

Forman is capitalising on this with its Jack Daniel’s range of

on an “outstanding” growth trajectory.

premixes. Jack Daniel’s and Cola continues to be a hit (and is “still

“Gentleman Jack, which has seen low double-digit growth

the most consumed RTD flavour by far,” says Kim), but higher

over the year, continues to help drive category growth in Super

ABV propositions such as Jack Daniel’s Double Jack have also

Premium North American Whiskey. Furthermore, our premium

experienced big growth.

Kentucky Bourbon, Woodford Reserve, has had a phenomenal year, with double-digit growth.”

“The Jack Daniel’s Double Jack brand is a pioneer of the high ABV segment and a main driver of the category’s current and continued success,” says Kim. “With the success of our Double Jack & Cola variant, we launched our first flavour extension, Double Jack and Dry, in August last year. This product has been delivering positive results and has helped us to continue the momentum of this powerful brand.” Looking ahead, Kim expects the premiumisation trend to show no signs of slowing. “More consumers are drinking less but choosing higher quality drinking experiences and premium products. This change in drinking habits is evidenced by the dollar growth of premium options across all alcohol categories outperforming volume growth significantly.”

36 | National Liquor News

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Bucket Boys


Keeping a finger on the pulse of liquor retail Bucket Boys has opened its third retail location in Sydney stocking all the craft beer, wine and spirits they’ve been known for since 2016.

The western Sydney suburb of Penrith got a great Christmas present last year, their own Bucket Boys retail store. Opening its doors on High Street the weekend before Christmas, the Penrith

tap, so it’s a nice little community here.” Bucket Boys has come to really value community connections and has even

Johnathan Hepner Co-Founder Bucket Boys

accessibility to a wide range of consumers from the west to the city. With so much evolution and expansion

evolved its business goals in line with that

in a short amount of time, Bucket Boys

over the years.

aren’t slowing down now. The new Penrith

location is the third store in the Bucket

Hepner said that when he and Co-

Boys portfolio, which also includes two

founder Clint Elvin first teamed up to

neighbour High Street Social to redo their

bars. It’s been a relatively quick expansion,

create Marrickville’s Bucket Boys: “we

bottle list and provide four rotating taps.

with the original Marrickville store

were trying to create a place where we

Hepner also said there’s always more

opening in 2016, followed by the Darling

would have a selection that was kind of

plans in the works, even if nothing is set in

Square store and a pop-up co-op at

unrivalled in Sydney. So, it was all about

stone just yet.

Oxford Tavern last year.

finding weird and wonderful beers.”

What makes the Bucket Boys story unique is that each store at each location retains an individuality despite them all being under the same name. Co-founder Johnathan Hepner told National Liquor News that this contributes to Bucket Boys’ success. “Each location has to have something unique about it, to make people want to visit, and also it’s got to fit the area and fit the location,” Hepner said. For the new Penrith location, Hepner

“Our new thing for 2020 is going to be searching out alternative revenue streams, so we’re doing some research into same day and two-hour shipping with couriers so people can order online and do things faster.”

store has already partnered with its

In the meantime, the focus is to keep their finger on the pulse so they can continue chasing success in the evercompetitive retail environment. “The main thing for us is trying to figure out how to navigate what’s kind of a pretty hard and harsh retail climate these days. It’s rough trying to figure out what our customers want and how to get them to come in-store as opposed to visiting the big box retailers,” Hepner said.

But now? “We’ve put more of a focus

“Our new thing for 2020 is going to be

on building a community and supporting

searching out alternative revenue streams, so

said: “It’s right next door to all the BYO

local breweries, as opposed to just getting

we’re doing some research into same day and

restaurants and to High Street Social.

the coolest stuff.”

two-hour shipping with couriers so people

There’s kind of a built in social network

This aim also helped them choose

can order online and do things faster.”

already, so you can come and get beers

their store locations as they expanded.

and drink them while you have food, you

As it stands now, the Bucket Boys make a

stocking all the craft beer, wine and spirits

can go over next door and have things on

triangle with their stores, spread to give

they’ve been known for since 2016.

38 | National Liquor News

Bucket Boys Penrith store is open now,

Campari Australia


Campari Australia turns challenges into opportunities Changing lifestyles and consumer habits will provide Campari Australia with innovative opportunities this year.

Simon Durrant Managing Director Campari Australia & New Zealand

Campari Australia’s Managing Director Simon Durrant described 2019 as an exciting year for the company. Aperol and the Negroni cocktail both celebrated 100 years, art and cocktails were fused with Sydney Contemporary, the Australian Open sponsorship continued, and Matthew McConaughey came to Australia with Wild Turkey. These highlights do not come without challenges, but the hurdles of last year and the year ahead are looked at in a positive light, as they present significant opportunities for the Campari portfolio. “The challenge this year has been keeping up with the


phenomenal growth of a highly competitive industry and the


introduction of increasingly diverse craft products,” Durrant said.


To maintain a competitive edge, Durrant said Campari Australia will focus on the immensely popular Aperitivo and Bourbon categories, but also lesser known yet exciting brands. He said: “Investment in innovation will continue in 2020, so we can continue refining our products and ensuring we cater to all tastes.” Campari Australia knows that consumer preferences are changing


“This is an opportunity for innovation and for drinks companies to promote existing, undiscovered brands which meet consumers’ evolving criteria,” said Durrant. “Campari’s portfolio is well suited to creating premium drinking experiences in this area through low ABV drinks such as Aperol, Riccadonna and Cinzano. The low ABV trend

premiumisation and lifestyle factors are strongly influencing

complements the emergence of quality single serve ready to drink

consumers right now, as they opt for a ‘less but better’ approach.

options, such as Campari Soda and the Wild Turkey range.” Durrant sees that a rising consumer interest in cocktail culture

“Firstly, our people. Within the industry, they remain a critical

has not only contributed to spirits category growth, but also to increased confidence to explore the category. “Looking ahead, there is scope for single serve pre-batch

driver of success. It is paramount that we attract, retain

cocktails to ensure consumers can inform themselves on the

and develop the very best talent within our industry and

strength of their cocktail.”

from external industries. By welcoming people with diverse backgrounds, we will benefit from new perspectives to old problems and innovative, diverse thinking, resulting in better financial returns. “This year, Campari Australia launched three diversity

Campari Australia plans to look at how it can minimise its impact on the environment using sustainable practices. “All businesses, irrespective of the industry, have an obligation to be socially responsible, including being environmentally conscious. Beyond this social obligation,

and inclusion streams and our Camparistas will continue to

consumers, investors and employees are actively supporting and

develop, brainstorm and implement initiatives in this space.

informing themselves about brands which act responsibly and in

While we are already seeing significant progression in inclusive

the best interests of the environment.”

leadership, this is an area in which the industry will need to continue improving in 2020.”

2020 will also see Campari Australia keep its focus on reducing water, gas and electricity consumption, to decrease its environmental footprint in manufacturing.

40 | National Liquor News



as drinking trends reflect, and they are angled to capitalise. Both

What the industry should focus on in 2020



Cape Byron Distillery


Cape Byron Distillery’s passion for sustainability Nestled in rainforest of the Byron Bay hinterland, Co-founder Eddie Brook is focusing on the sustainable growth of Cape Byron Distillery.

Eddie Brook Co-founder Cape Byron Distillery

Eddie Brook and Jim McEwan

It was a big year of growth and rapid development at Cape Byron Distillery in 2019, according to Co-founder Eddie Brook. The company expanded from 15 to 26 employees, production volume doubled from the previous year and more export countries were brought on board. It also marked a new chapter for the distillery with the start of its whisky program, with renowned distiller and industry legend Jim McEwan. Given all of this, Cape Byron Distillery was extremely pleased with the results of 2019 as a whole, and are looking to 2020 for more sustainable growth and development in the business. “In mid-2020 we will see our new sustainable rainforest whisky

The excise tax

warehouse coming online which will give us the ability to increase

Brook said the excise tax is a major factor impacting the

our storage capacity,” Brook said. “To match this added storage

future of the industry, and should be debated in 2020.

capacity, we will be increasing our production ability with a new

“Two times each year the tax is increased and most

much larger second still which will give us the ability for a six-fold

Australian suppliers would not pass this on due to push back

increase in distillation.”

from customers. As a result the only choice is to absorb the

One of the predicted challenges of this surrounds the Brookie’s Slow Gin, made with the native Davidson plum of which supply is limited. Describing the issue, Brook said: “In the last 12 months we

margin and reducing the opportunity for Australian producers to reinvest in the growth of their business,” Brook said. “We saw the increase in the excise refund scheme for craft distilleries however we are still a long way away from the

consumed 12 tonne of Davidson plum, and in the coming 12

level of support that strong industries such as the Australian

months we will be needing 24 tonne. The supply of this is purely

wine industry receives. The premium spirit industry of Australia

down to building strong relationships with the native food growers

is growing at a strong pace and we need the government to

in Australia and working closely with them so they can scale up.”

aid the longevity of our industry.”

Positive interactions with the land like this are especially important to Cape Byron Distillery, given the Brook family’s background in farming. In 2019 they released Mac, a macadamia and

rainforest and macadamia farm) so we will be able to cultivate

wattle seed liqueur, which (like the original Brookie’s Gin products)

some new future botanicals and native ingredients.”

was made using ingredients from the local area and Brookfarm itself. Brook said this is an ideal that will be continued into 2020,

Throughout any growth, changes or new products that Cape Byron Distillery sees this year, one thing they will remain

as they explore the use of more “cool and tasty” local and native

committed to is sustainability. Growing up surrounded by family-

ingredients in future releases.

planted rainforest, Brook said it’s important for drinks producers

“We are blessed with an abundance of incredible native Australian produce in the Northern Rivers and we get excited

to better the environment and their community. He said: “I believe as an industry we should look at some

about showcasing native Australian produce and flavours in

benchmarks to achieve for energy usage and moving to clean

spirits that consumers have never tried,” Brook said.

energy, waste minimisation, putting pressure back through our

“As a side family project, we will be investing in the production of our own native food orchard (secondary to our current 42 | National Liquor News

supply chain for more sustainable and recycled materials, in an attempt to have a positive impact on our environment.”

Where the art of winemaking meets the science of discovery. At Tamar Ridge, our rewards don’t come in the form of Nobel Prizes for science or artworks hung in the National Gallery. Our reward is the wine itself. And our biggest incentive is to continue producing some of the most elegant and exciting Pinot Noir in the world.



Coopers embrace a ‘can’ do attitude Coopers has had another year of solid growth, thanks to further product developments. Director Marketing and Innovation, Cam Pearce, reflected on what role this will play into 2020.

Coopers had a great year in 2019, recording solid growth that saw

Cam Pearce Director Marketing and Innovation Coopers

its total beer sales rise by two per cent since the previous financial

2019 in a nutshell

year. Like the year before, new releases were largely responsible

Pearce said that “2019 was a solid year” for Coopers, with

for such growth, both in product and format.

thanks to some key areas summarised below.

Cam Pearce, Director Marketing and Innovation at Coopers,

Can expansion: Coopers now has released eight products

said a significant expansion into the can format has proved vital

in cans, thanks to great success it’s had with the format. “The

for both Coopers’ bottom line and interest in the brand.

introduction of cans has reinvigorated interest in Coopers’

“The introduction of Coopers Original Pale Ale in cans has played a significant role in this success with the new format being

range of ales.” Malting plant: The malting plant that opened in late 2017

positively received by retailers and consumers. Importantly,

is now operating at full capacity and normal profitability after

its introduction had minimal impact on bottle sales and

high barley prices impacted it in 2018. “In March, Coopers’

reinvigorated interest in our highest volume product,” Pearce said.

new malting plant was named equal best in the world by an

“Pale Ale’s introduction in cans in 2018 strongly boosted interest in the product and led the way for the expansion of our can portfolio… Cans now comprise an important component in our sales and is an area that is expected to grow.” With such success in a bolstered range of cans, the immediate focus

international jury drawn from members of the global brewing supply chain.” Brewing talent: Seven more employees have earned international qualifications through the UK’s Institute of Brewing and Distilling. “This brought the number of qualified brewers at

for Coopers in 2020 will be to consolidate their product portfolio, with

Coopers to 13, making it arguably the most technically qualified

Pearce identifying the need to investigate new opportunities.

brewery in Australia per litre of beer produced.”

“Product development will also be a major area of work, given the growing interest in new beer styles and flavours. For example, the introduction of XPA has been a great success for us and shows how Coopers is staying ahead in an increasingly competitive brewing environment,” Pearce said “Obtaining sales growth in the current Australian beer market is a significant challenge. Total beer volume in Australia has been declining for a number of years.”

Another area of opportunity is surrounding seasonal releases, with an extra special seasonal brew planned for Coopers this year. Pearce said: “Coopers releases Vintage Ale each year which provides an annual focus on the ability of our brewers, led by Dr Tim Cooper who is our Chief Brewer as well as our Managing Director. “In 2020, we will celebrate the 20th release of Vintage Ale and will be looking at something special to mark the occasion.” But while everything seems to be positive at Coopers, there’s one major issue that the brewery thinks the industry should be focused on in 2020. “Excise on beer remains a key topic,” said Pearce. “Tax now makes up almost 42 per cent of the cost of an average carton of beer. Australian beer drinkers pay $2.23 in tax per litre of packaged beer, the fourth highest rate in the world.” Compare that to a rate of 12 cents a litre in Germany or even $1.18 in New Zealand, along with the fact the rate is indexed twice yearly with GST added, and it’s easy to see the issue for Australian brewers like Coopers.

44 | National Liquor News

Bold, fearless and full of character The man behind the freshly launched Buckley’s Rye Whisky from Crafty Buggers, Hugh Roxburgh, said they’re all about doing things differently, just like the character that inspired the whisky’s name.

Crafty Buggers Founder, Hugh Roxburgh, held the very first

Hugh Roxburgh Founder Crafty Buggers

What should the industry focus on in 2020?

bottle of Buckley’s Rye Whisky in his hands in 2019. The whisky is the debut offering from the company and Roxburgh said this was undoubtedly the main highlight of the year. It was a five year journey to get to that point though, and

“I think brands need to

Roxburgh said the biggest challenges are yet to come.

stand for something. I think

“It feels like all the work to date was like getting to Everest base

consumers are becoming

camp. That was the easy part. Now I realise the huge challenge

more discerning in their

ahead and the enormous mountain that needs to be climbed,”

purchases. They want

Roxburgh said.

brands that are socially and

“But it’s been an incredible journey so far and I’ve met some

environmentally conscience.

amazing and passionate people in the industry. I’m really grateful

Unfortunately there are not

that these people have been willing to back Buckley’s Rye Whisky

more mainstream brands

and get behind it.”

willing to take on risks and

Part of the challenge that Crafty Buggers predicts surrounds

be different.”

the need to build consumer awareness about what a rye whisky is. However, Roxburgh said this is also one of the greatest opportunities for Buckley’s. “Rye whisky has an incredible flavour and it’s hugely

With spear in hand, the Wathaurong tribe believed Buckley with his pale skin was the reincarnation of the spear’s owner and so adopted him as one of their own. He lived among them

underrated. It’s with good reason that Jim Murray, the world

for 32 years and Roxburgh said when Buckley emerged, he was

renowned whisky critic, has nominated a rye or rye-based

“bold, fearless and full of character, just like the rye whisky

whisky as his ‘World Whisky of the Year’, four out of the last

that bears his name.”

eight years,” Roxburgh said. He continued, and said that the liquid “also has an incredible

The Buckley’s story will drive a lot of opportunity in the New Year, as Roxburgh said: “Our focus over 2020 is to continue to

story… It was the first whisky to be drunk in Australia, brought

grow the brand of Buckley’s Rye Whisky. The brand has to be built

here on the US trading ship ‘The Hope’ by Benjamin Page on

from the ground up and this means pounding the pavement and

Christmas Eve, 1792. This led to one hell of a Christmas party, it

wearing out the shoe leather.”

kicked off the dodgy dealings of the NSW Corps and eventually led to the ousting of the colony’s governor.” The love of a good story is also a huge driver behind the

He continued: “When you start a business, you are always an underdog. The odds are already stacked against us. However, there is also a lot of value is being an underdog and we need to use this

branding of Buckley’s Rye Whisky. The name comes from one of

to our advantage… no one knows a lot about us but that gives us

Australia’s first underdogs, William Buckley, a wrongly accused

an opportunity to surprise people.”

English convict who escaped from a Port Phillip settlement and disappeared into unforgiving bushland. “His chances of survival? Buckley’s. After weeks of wandering he was exhausted and on the brink of starvation. However, just as

In terms of hopes for the future, Roxburgh wants to continue to create a premium rye whisky that is accessible, and see the category itself grow in popularity. “There are a few rye whiskies already available here in

he thought his luck was up he happened upon a spear marking a

Australia and that’s great because this will help build awareness

grave,” Roxburgh said.

and hopefully see the category grow as a whole,” he said.

February 2020 | 45


Crafty Buggers

De Bortoli


Innovation the key to De Bortoli’s success The accolades and awards keep rolling in for De Bortoli, and according to the winemaking company’s Managing Director Darren De Bortoli, it is constant innovation that is central to this success.

Darren De Bortoli Managing Director De Bortoli

One thing that all great companies share is a commitment to innovation, and the courage to push boundaries. That can certainly be said for De Bortoli, which continues to be recognised for its contributions to innovation in winemaking. It’s no surprise to hear from Darren De Bortoli, the company’s Managing Director, that a major highlight of the year was being named one of Australia’s most innovative companies on the Australian Financial Review’s ‘Most Innovative Companies List’, for the packaging and marketing of its popular Rosé Rosé. “Another highlight was Black Noble One being named one of the world’s top 10 fortified wines in the 2019 Global Fortified Masters blind tasting competition,” De Bortoli adds.

“Without a doubt, the foreseeable challenges are the fast-changing consumer landscape, the continuous escalating costs of grapes and wine production and climate change, which hit us and the broader industry over the past year.” An innovative approach

record high temperatures and the unprecedented bush fire season. “Despite these challenges our family and the entire De Bortoli team remain firmly focused and passionate about continuing to deliver our father Deen’s vision to provide quality wines with reasonable prices that can be enjoyed by everyone.” He also echoes the sentiments of many in the industry when it comes to the consumer trends he thinks will shape the market in 2020, highlighting premiumisation and health and wellness as key

De Bortoli credits their success to a constant push for innovation,

considerations. However, he doesn’t stop there, and his insights

which he describes as a key focus for the company.

about sustainability in the wake of the recent bushfires make for

“Aiming for ‘fully integrated innovation’ ensures that we look at everything through an innovative lens, from the wine taste and

interesting discussion points. “The effects of this fire season will be reflected in heightened

colour to the packaging as achieved in our Rosé Rosé bottle and

consumer expectations of businesses’ sustainability efforts which

closure,” he says. “It is this synergy that connects the consumer

will increasingly be considered in their purchasing decisions.”

with us, our brand and the product. This also drives us to continually develop new and exciting wine styles that will inspire our customers and we have been finding different ways to enjoy our favourite wines.” However, De Bortoli acknowledges that 2019 wasn’t without its challenges when it comes to changes in the consumer landscape, escalating production costs, and climate change. “Without a doubt, the foreseeable challenges are the fast-

According to De Bortoli, another thing is for certain too: the rosé craze isn’t slowing down anytime soon. “Consumers are definitely still loving rosé with many more people continuing to discover it, so the market is certainly still growing and unlikely to slow for the foreseeable future. “The rosé category is growing at double-digits, with De Bortoli’s rosés growing even faster than the market at +24.6 per cent vs +21.5 per cent (MAT 17/11/2019). Further growth

changing consumer landscape, the continuous escalating costs

through innovation is planned by building on our current

of grapes and wine production and climate change, which hit us

widespread offering of rosés to suit the many different occasions

and the broader industry over the past year through the drought,

and palates of our diverse consumer base.”

46 | National Liquor News

Craft Beer-Barians Storm the Gate Nathan receives a call from his beer rep to let him know he has a case of limited edition Juicy as Phuck New England IPA a beer that resulted when a piece of rotten fruit fell out of a brewer’s beard while he was attempting to express how terrible mainstream music is in liquid form.

Fear grips Nathan as he posts to social media to announce the new arrival, “Get down to Liquor Barons Ocean Reef tomorrow for this limited edition IPA; we only have 1 carton so strictly 1 can each! First in best dressed, NO HOLDS” News of the legendary beer sends ripples through the hipster-verse. Nathan knows all too well that exclusivity is paramount in the realm in the beer snob. After all, every faux-flanno wearing hop-wanker wants to be the first to write a review of why the beer is overrated, despite the fact they’d go full Dustin Martin on their own mothers to get a can. Thanks to the joys of recent fatherhood, Nathan manages just a few hours sleep before getting up for work the following day. He pulls into the carpark and notices the entrance to his shop has been transformed into a stout-whisker shanty town. As he snakes past sleeping bags & camping chairs he thinks to himself, “who the hell would queue overnight for a beer”, then he remembers, this is Perth. Nathan is bombarded with unanswerable questions ranging from whether the water used was “fair trade” to whether the earthy tones are “biscuity or bready”. Suddenly, a beer-beret wearing dissident bails Nathan up, “you said no holds mahn, and I only count 20 cans”. Chaos breaks out as Nathan is accused of crimes against beer-manity.

While explaining he put some aside for his brother in law he hears a whisper from the rabble, “I hear he keeps a stash in the cool room”. Out of the corner of his eye, he spots a malt-muncher with hooped earlobes slip into the fridge and begin rummaging around like Idiot-ana Jones in search of the holy fail. He manages to stop this particular raid but is forced to pull a staff member away from stock-take to stand guard over the remaining tins.

retail banner group of the year

2011 . 2014 . 2015 . 2017

Frankly, this is a step backward for humanity. Later in the day, Nathan’s wife pops in with the kids to say hi. He holds his kids, points at the hipster trying to bribe his staff member with a shout out on his beer blog. He takes the opportunity to impart some fatherly wisdom, “please don’t end up like this kids”.

We encourage and embrace our stores individuality, visit for more great stories.



Delivering world class brands Drinkworks General Manager Judd Michel said they will leverage their strong portfolio of brands and team to excite trade and consumers in 2020.

Judd Michel General Manager Drinkworks

After a successful 2019, Drinkworks is

Monteith’s Crushed Apple Cider. The brands

looking forward to the year ahead, where

have been bright spots in a declining cider

General Manager Judd Michel sees the

category, recording exciting growth and

highlights of last year driving a strong

traction that’s easy to be proud of.

start to 2020.

Setting the brands apart from

With beer brands Sol, Tiger and

competitors in the category is Drinkworks’

Monteiths all delivering great things in

focus on quality. As Michel said, “All our

2019, a solid foundation has been built for

cider products are made in Nelson at a

Drinkworks to leverage throughout this year.

world class cidery facility, using the finest

“Our major opportunities this year

ingredients. We make all our ciders from

are refreshing our Monteith’s craft beer

freshly pressed Nelson apples and not

portfolio as a fantastic, easy drinking

from concentrate like some competitors

range of craft beers. We are focusing on

within the market.”

our latest launch of Tiger Crystal which

For all brands and products,

is a lower ABV and cold filtered to deliver

Drinkworks will be utilising everything

a highly sessionable premium beer that

they have to deliver the best quality to

doesn’t compromise on taste.”

trade and consumer customers.

Tiger Crystal’s launch, for example, is

refreshing lager that doesn’t compromise on

“As with every market player, we will

on track for further success, catering to

taste. It’s brewed using a unique crystal cold

have an even bigger digital focus across

consumer desire for a crisp and refreshing

filtration brewing process, which filters the

our portfolio of brands,” Michel said.

beverage on a hot Australian day.

beer at below zero degrees, locking in the

“As always, we will be exciting

Michel described its point of difference: “Tiger Crystal is an easy-drinking, premium, lighter, cold filtered beer which delivers a

Consumer trends to watch in 2020

purest flavours and aromas. “So far, we have had a really positive

consumers with our world class brand portfolio and delivering world class

reception from consumers who have tried

service to our trade partners and

Tiger Crystal as well as our customers

customers through our field sales and

and the launch is going really well. We are

retail account teams.”

really excited to widen our distribution in

This is helped along by Drinkworks’

“Innovation is occurring at a serious

2020 and get more consumers to trial and

connection to DB Breweries and the

pace both globally as well as in

uncage their next thirst with Tiger Crystal.”

Heineken Company, in which Michel

Australia with NPD launching across

The Drinkworks portfolio will also

said they are “extremely fortunate to have

all alcohol categories. A few key

be one to watch elsewhere in the beer

access to best in class technology as well

areas that are showing strong

category throughout 2020, with continued

as an amazing innovation and marketing

growth signs for the year and further

investment behind a world class premium

team to support our brands”.

years to come are lower and mid

collection of brands including Tiger, Sol

ABV alcohol, sessionable craft and

and Monteith’s.

mainstream beer, and seltzers and RTD innovation.”

Another area of focus for 2020 will be the cider category, where Drinkworks will build on the momentum of Orchard Thieves and

48 | National Liquor News

“We have had a really positive reception from consumers who have tried Tiger Crystal.”

Good things ahead for Good Drinks The Good Drinks team is looking forward to flying the indie beer flag and staying ahead of the curve in 2020.

Aaron Heary Chief Operating Officer Good Drinks

When Good Drinks Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Operating Officer Aaron Heary reflects on 2019, he thinks of the investments across the business that will deliver benefits over the coming years. Highlights of the year come in many forms, with several products doing particularly well, including the limited edition throwback beer to celebrate 15 years of brewing. “We dusted off the old recipes, gave them a touch-up and released Small Batch Lager in a striking 500ml special release can. We’re really pleased with how that beer is tasting and it’s been received really well out in trade.” Other products that did well over the year included the Single Fin Summer Ale, which Heary said was “one of the fastest

15 years of good beer

growing craft beer brands in the country”, and Side Track All Day

Good Drinks, which includes the brands of Gage Roads

XPA, which is “already proving to be a summer favourite”.

Brewing, Atomic Beer Project, Matso’s Broome Brewery and

Beyond the products themselves, an exciting moment of last year was the Atomic Beer Project’s Redfern brewery and taproom venue getting council approval. “It’s coming along really well and construction is underway…

Alby, celebrated 15 years last year. “We’ve learnt so much, the market continues to evolve, and you must keep pace and continually challenge the business and change things up. It’s been great to reflect on our history and

we have some of the best people in hospitality involved in that

to see how much the craft beer space changed in that time. It’s

project,” said Heary.

exciting to have a range of brands and products that service

“It was really important for us to work closely with the local community as well. It’s going to be a small brewery and venue that

the full beer market and deliver solutions to our customers. “I think over the years John Hoedemaker (Managing

the Redfern locals will feel is their own. We believe that a home will

Director) and I have come to realise that you can’t do

help grow the Atomic Beer Project brand across Sydney too. We’re

everything yourself, you need the best people around you to

hoping the first beer will be poured in the opening half of 2020.”

achieve what you set out, and over the past few years we

Another goal of 2020 for Good Drinks is to deliver strong margins to customers, through brand awareness and distribution.

have built a team of amazing people who we think can take us to the next level in the 2020s.”

Heary said: “No doubt it’s a challenging environment with the continued pressure from the big guys that control 90 per cent of the beer market. However, consumer sentiment continues to progress toward independent and locally produced beer.” Indeed, the conversation about independence is hotter than

Independent Brewers Association (IBA) will be built on in 2020. “The launch of the Indie Seal was a big success and has now been adopted on the packaging of most independent brewers. This year, the IBA launched Indie Beer Day around the country to celebrate

ever, with growing consumer interest in where products come

independent beer with huge participation and engagement across the

from and who makes them. Good Drinks is proud of their story

country on social media and in participating venues,” Heary said.

and their independence, so are well positioned in this trend.

“The rollout of the Indie Beer supporters seal (for venues

But Heary said there is more work to be done on growing

stocking indie beer) has been launched this year so now there is a

awareness about independent brands, both to consumers and to

great platform to continue to grow awareness of indie beer so that

retailers. He said it will be great to see how the recent work of the

will certainly be a topic of conversation moving forward.”

February 2020 | 49


Good Drinks

Good Pair Days


Reimagining the bottle shop experience Good Pair Days is bringing the next generation of wine retail to life, making the discovery of wine more fun, more accessible, more educational, and more joyously inclusive for its members.

It’s been a solid 12 months of growth for online wine retailer, Good Pair Days. After raising $2 million in funding in late 2018, the business which initially launched as The Wine Gallery, not only

“We’re really hoping to try our take on what a reimagined bottle shop, led by tech, could look and feel like.”

rebranded and launched a new website and app, but it also won best Online Liquor Retailer at the Retail Drinks Australia Awards. Good Pair Days was founded in 2015 by world-renowned Sommelier Banjo Harris Plane and his friends Humberto Moreira and Tom Walenkamp, with the purpose of simplifying the way people shopped for wine. Harris Plane told National Liquor News that although the Good Pair Days team has barely caught their breath from 2019, they have no plans of slowing down. “We’ve got a lot planned,” he said. “We’re working directly with winemakers to pass our customer insights back to them to help produce wines our members will love. “We’re building phase 2.0 of our app with even more userfocused features. We’re doubling down on our education to really

a good place to start to get the word out because we recently we

help members learn more about wine as they go on their journey

passed the 15,000 unique customer mark.”

with us. We’re really hoping to try our take on what a reimagined bottle shop, led by tech, could look and feel like.” The guys have come a long way since launching in 2015, when they stocked fewer than 20 wines. and were mostly selling to friends. “We originally launched about four years ago on shoestring budget with a very simple site, but with the same grand ambition

Kicking goals When we asked Harris Plane about what it takes to make a great online retailer, his answer was that you “need to have a mission”. And being named the 2019 Online Liquor Retailer of the Year gave them the confidence to keep chasing their mission.

to open up the wonderful world of wine. To make the discovery

“It meant the world to us. After all the hard work we had been

of exceptional bottles of wines more fun, more accessible, more

doing to bring our vision for the next generation of wine retail to

educational, and more joyously inclusive.

life, and to have the liquor industry recognise and appreciate what

“Since those early days of packing wine in the corner of a coworking space we’ve come a long way. We’ve gone from hacked together spreadsheets with wine notes and customer ratings to what we think is one of the most advanced wine websites in the world,” says Harris Plane. “We’ve gone from stocking fewer than 20 wines, all bought through distributors to having more than 200 bottles available at any one time, with the majority bought directly from the winemakers, passing the benefits back to them directly as much as possible. “And in the early days we pretty much had friends, family, our mums and dads as our main customers, which must have been 50 | National Liquor News

we’ve built through this award meant a lot. “It really gave us confidence that we are on the right track and to keep chasing after our mission. “To get to square one today, you have to be laser focussed on user experience and customer service. They are a must. But more than that you must have a mission, stand for something, a reason to justify why you exist. For us it’s making wine more accessible to everyone. “A bit closer to home in industries that can overwhelm with the vast amounts of choice available at the click of a button, we really believe curation and personalisation are invaluable to our customers.”

An exciting start for Halewood Australia Five months after Halewood entered the Australian market, Managing Director Lawrence Williamson said it’s full steam ahead into the new year.

Originating from the UK, craft producer Halewood Wines &

Lawrence Williamson Managing Director Halewood Australia

Spirits landed on Australian shores in mid-2019. In this short

2020 products

time they’ve had great success, launching imported spirit brands

and becoming the owner of local producer, Ironbark Distillery.

With portfolio growth a key focus for Halewood in the

Met with great support from the industry, Halewood Australia’s

next year, here’s some product

Managing Director Lawrence Williamson said the challenges faced

releases to watch for.Willow,

since entering Australia illustrate a promising future for the company.

low ABV spirit

“We have had fantastic results with national listings gained across

the Coles estate and key partnerships and listings gained with banner

Dead Man’s Fingers, Hemp Rum

groups such as Liquor Legends, Liquor Stax and IBA who have all

American Eagle, Four Year

been very supportive of our brands already,” Williamson said.

old Bourbon

“The challenges very much are logistics as we are importing all of

Gelstons, Irish Whiskey

our stock from the UK, with the exception of Ironbark, and the lead times are therefore hard to manage but we have worked through this and been able to deliver on the listings gained. Challenges around meeting customer orders are nice problems to have at least.” Logistical challenges present great opportunity for Halewood

of drinks, which Halewood can cater to with its diverse portfolio. They predict the ‘ginaissance’ will continue, largely due to consumers exploring new ways to serve the spirit. “We have seen the UK trends in flavoured gin start to

going into 2020. There will be a focus on portfolio growth in the New

flow through to this market and this represents the biggest

Year, with the launch of Dead Man’s Fingers Hemp Rum, American

opportunity. We have seen Whitley Neill become the UK’s

Eagle Four Year Old Bourbon and Gelstons Irish Whiskey.

number one premium gin due to being the market leader in this

“The biggest opportunity is very much maximising the distribution we have gained in a very short period of time whilst continuing to grow our portfolio,” said Williamson. “The rate of sale we have seen already is very high, so this shows the size of the opportunity particularly in the gin, rum and whisky categories where we have significant listings already.”

category,” Williamson said. “In Australia this may also be driven by the Spritz movement which we see continuing to grow and we are also very excited to see the Gin and Soda movement.” Another key trend to watch is the rising popularity of low and no alcohol products. This is an area that Halewood already has a

This portfolio growth mindset is also leading Halewood to

major stake in across beer, wine and spirits for the UK market, and

invest more heavily into Ironbark Distillery, after a relaunch with

one they will be expanding into Australia in the coming 12 months.

new packaging in late 2019. This will be built on in 2020 with plans for a distillery bar already underway. Williamson said: “When looking at new markets, the business is very much wanting to not only import our brands but to

Williamson said they are “incredibly supportive of the responsible drinking strategy, as shown by our brand Eisberg being the largest alcohol free wine brand in the UK”. “We also have brought out an alcohol free beer offering in the

invest in the local market as demonstrated by our investment in

UK with Hawkshead Brewery and we are looking at bringing

Ironbark. We are a family owned business and we place significant

Willow CBD, a low ABV spirit at 0.5 per cent, to Australia.”

value in the importance of having a local network in our markets.”

These first five months of Halewood Australia are just a taste

Trends in drinks consumption will also be a driver for Halewood’s

of what’s to come. With a fierce determination to overcome any

strategy in 2020. The recent popularity of spirits in Australia has

challenges that come their way, it seems like growth for their

encouraged new consumers to the category and to try different types

brands is inevitable for 2020.

February 2020 | 51


Halewood Australia

Independent Liquor Group

ILG builds a strong future In 2020, the three key words for Independent Liquor Group will be growth, culture and future proofing, as they look to build a strong future


With a successful entrance into the Victorian

“Our purpose for the next 12 months is to focus

market and the launch of a new premium

on growth, culture and future proofing ILG in

banner in NSW; 2019 was a strong year for the

QLD, NSW and VIC for all independents.”

Independent Liquor Group (ILG). And according to CEO Paul Esposito, that momentum will

The importance of cooperatives

continue into 2020 as the cooperative works to

“We will continue to drive our vision and be a

ensure the continued success of its independent

sustainable cooperative that provides competitive

retail members.

pricing and best practices to our members. We

Esposito told National Liquor News that 2020

will also be focusing on membership and making

will see continued growth in value, volume and

sure that all independent retailers understand that

membership across Queensland, New South Wales

a cooperative is a organisation that is owned and

and Victoria.

controlled by its members.

The rollout of the successful premium Fleet Street

“We are Australia’s largest member owned

banner will continue, with 20 stores expected to be

liquor cooperative. Our objective is to provide

operating by the end of 2020. And ILG’s footprint

cheaper goods and services for our members,

in Victoria will grow, with numerous new members

and we can deliver this with membership growth

already in the final stages of joining ILG and Wayne

and scale. Our profits are distributed back to our

Taylor has been employed as Business Development

members not shareholders.

Executive for VIC.

compete effectively through better buying power.

numbers, with six stores operating in NSW over the

“Australia’s retail landscape is dominated by

festive season, all showing good growth in sales and

three major players that report to shareholders.

foot traffic,” says Esposito.

The ILG shareholders are our members and our The risk we face with the ‘big three major players’ is

Brisbane over the next few weeks. We envisage

their dominance on pricing and supply. “The best way to safeguard independent retailers

will have close to 20 stores operating by the end

is for more independent retailers to join the

of 2020.


52 | National Liquor News

CEO Independent Liquor Group

dividends are distributed within the membership.

NSW, and we will be launching our first store in with the current interest in the marketplace, ILG

Paul Esposito

“ILG gives independent retailers the ability to

“Our Fleet Street banner group is growing in

“We currently have six more in the works for

“Our purpose for the next 12 months is to focus on growth, culture and future proofing ILG in QLD, NSW and VIC for all independents.”

Pictured: The ILG family went on tour to Vienna to Budapest in 2019


Contact William Grants & Sons for further information (02) 9409 5100 or

Independent Liquor Retailers


ILR delivers strongest results in six years ILR’s Queensland expansion has been a huge success and paved the way for a 9.8 per cent growth in income in 2019.

Independent Liquor Retailers (ILR) has enjoyed its

freight etc. I believe it is important that we put

most successful result in six years, growing to 423

our focus on best cost price for members to be

members across NSW, ACT and Queensland and

competitive in today’s market.

delivering 9.8 per cent growth in income.

“Partner that with our other need, which is to

General Manager Corey Leeson told National

continue to expand our data capture to ensure we

Liquor News that the expansion into Queensland has

are understanding what is happening at store level

been a major factor in ILR’s growth, having yielded

and use that data to build the best promotional

more than 50 members in the first 12 months.

program for our members.”

“We have really found our niche and will continue

When it comes to trends, Leeson says that

to expand our focus on this region to power our

he’s noticed people’s repertoires are expanding

growth. Our Liquor & Co banner has been the most

but shoppers are also wanting to support

well received with its contemporary branding and

local businesses.

customised marketing. We aim to get this to 75 members and secure some larger pub groups.” But the year has not been without its challenges,

“Consumers like to try new things which is why product innovation is so important to support. There is also a movement towards supporting locally

with a membership base that is strong in regional

produced products such as craft beer, gin and wine.

areas there have been many that are heavily affected

This has led to the need to make our promotional

by drought and bushfires. Leeson says that ILR

programs more relevant to regions within NSW, ACT

will work with these members to ensure that they

and Queensland. So, we have divested our marketing

“survive and then thrive once things settle down”.

into five specific regions to allow for this.

He also highlights that a growth in competition,

“I see opportunities in tailoring our marketing to

increasing costs, a shift to online retail and a decline

the right consumers with the right product and the

in consumption, have all presented challenges.

right occasion. Being smarter with how we promote

“ILR’s focus in 2020 is getting back to our core values of ensuring we are securing the right cost of goods and delivering the right margin to our

and use data to ensure what we do has the desired increase in sales and profit.” So, with continued growth in Queensland and a

members. With the impending increases in stock

more targeted approach to ranging and promotions,

costs due to CDS, CPI, low wine yields, drought,

it looks set to be another strong year for ILR.

54 | National Liquor News

“I believe it is important that we put our focus on best cost price for members to be competitive in today’s market.” Corey Leeson General Manager Independent Liquor Retailers

Kollaras & Co


Kollaras & Co cruising into more growth The key pillars of export, independent retail and cruise have contributed to a positive year at Kollaras & Co. and will continue to be focused on into 2020, as Managing Director John Kollaras says.

With five new wines, four new spirits brands and two successful range extensions launched in the past 12 months, 2019 was a busy

2019 highlights

year for Kollaras & Co.

In 2020, their 60th year of operation, Managing Director John

Our distribution centre at Albion Park Rail in NSW has delivered record performance in terms of volume

Kollaras said there will be a continued focus on strengthening this

imported, packaged and shipped – All whilst achieving

portfolio. Describing their 2020 motto as “fewer, bigger, better,” the company will focus on wine supply as they meet the demand for

John Kollaras Managing Director Kollaras & Co

DIFOT levels north of 95 per cent. ➤

We were particularly pleased with the awards our brands

the three key pillars that have been contributing to YOY growth;

won which provided a real boost to sales, with a total tally

export, independent retail, and cruise.

of 97 medals.

Kollaras said: “You can expect to see focus on priority

Export business units launched two new market specific

brands like Two Truths, Mo-Town and Riunite, with an

brand entries, designed exclusively for key customers and

emphasis on generating consumer awareness, trial, and

their core consumers.

optimising retail positioning. “Importantly, we will work to further strengthen our brand

2019 has seen an influx of key talent to the organisation with extensive industry experience and quality

portfolio through strategic innovation, enhanced global agency

reputations, bolstering our capability in Brand Marketing,

partnerships, and proactive rationalisation of less relevant

Export, and Technology.

products. Whilst I can’t give much away, 2020 is set to be a landmark year of innovation.” One of these opportunities was the continued move into global markets, with the aim of “expansion… always, in all ways,”

already delivering strong results.” Meanwhile, the core pillar of independent retail is focused on

according to Kollaras. Being a long-term partner of major cruise

giving “independents the ability to compete with authenticity

companies, Kollaras & Co has extended this supplier relationship

and provenance”.

to USA and Asian cruise markets. Kollaras exclusively told National Liquor News in 2019 that they will be pouring on the first ever Virgin Voyages ship in early

“This strategy is about future proofing independent operators and all we need is their buy in; we’ve been passionate about this since our conception,” Kollaras said.

2020. He said: “Our focus is to continue driving our distribution

In order to do this, Kollaras & Co understand the need to be

footprint and consumer recruitment into our portfolio, which is

abreast of consumer trends, while angling to be in a position to cater to them. And they’re doing this already too, for example, by introducing a spirits portfolio to offer competitive prices in emerging categories, as well as recognising shifts in consumer behaviour and lifestyles. With a finger firmly on the pulse, Kollaras & Co knows what will be successful in 2020. Kollaras says that: “Discovery and experimentation are key drivers of millennial and luxury consumer choices. We see that shoppers are increasingly seeking out unique and interesting products, not only for their own exploratory needs… But for those ‘Instagrammable’ moments.”

56 | National Liquor News



A year of opportunity ahead for Lion 2020 is set to be a year of innovation for Lion with a strong focus on customer experience, according to Managing Director James Brindley.

2020 is shaping up as another exciting year of opportunity for the liquor industry in Australia, as it is for Lion. The year before was also full of highlights, but Lion’s Managing Director James Brindley said they were experienced alongside an

James Brindley Managing Director Lion

announcement that Brindley said has been received really positively. “It’s the ultimate three-way win: good for our customers, good for the environment, and good for Lion,” he said. “We have committed to sourcing all our electricity from

ongoing challenge that has been all too present in the minds of

renewable sources by 2025, but we are offsetting our remaining

Australians lately.

organisational footprint from this year to put us in a carbon

“The ongoing drought, and severe bushfires have had a significant impact at both ends of our supply chain,” said Brindley. Lion, which recently announced a suite of bushfire relief

neutral position. Reducing our total carbon emissions continues to be the number one priority, and we will have a relentless focus on energy efficiency and biogas optimisation in 2020.”

initiatives to the value of $1 million, has long held a commitment

An environmental focus is just one of the ways that Brindley

to environmental sustainability. Brindley said that they are “really

says: “Lion is fortunate to now be part of an incredible network

proud to lead the industry with this commitment” and it should

of breweries and other beverage businesses – in Australia and

be a key factor for discussion in 2020.

around the world – all focused on doing the right thing by the

This year Lion has committed to becoming carbon neutral, an

communities in which they operate.” Another way Lion will contribute to communities this year is by supporting the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation, Australia’s longest running charity to support those living with HIV. The Foundation will receive sales proceeds from Brooklyn Brewery’s Stonewall IPA, set to be released early this year in time for Mardi Gras. Joining the IPA will be other interesting releases across Lion’s portfolio, thanks to increased innovation efforts. Brindley said: “Lion is really focused on new avenues for growth in addition to our leading beer portfolio. Craft spirits,

Lion’s 2019 highlights Extended focus on craft spirits, energised by new

non-alcoholic beverages and alcoholic seltzers will give us a really diverse offering.” Pushing this diversification is increased consumer demand

partnerships with Four Pillars Gin, recently awarded world’s

for drinks that are “better for you”. Within Lion’s portfolio, the

best gin, and Vanguard Luxury Brands.

continued strength and growth of XXXX Gold, Iron Jack and

Introduced Australians to Quincy, an alcoholic seltzer.

Heineken 0.0 (and its ALIA win) are evidence of this.

Launched Australia’s first mainstream gluten-free beer in

“There is an ongoing societal shift towards more responsible

Hahn Ultra Crisp.

drinking, as evidenced by almost every government statistic.

Have taken Byron Bay Premium Lager national.

The industry has played an important role in contributing to this

Tooheys celebrated 150 years of being NSW’s favourite beer.

change, and Lion is proud to be one of the largest supporters

Opened Malt Shovel’s latest microbrewery Tiny Mountain

of DrinkWise, which does invaluable work in educating people

in North Queensland.

about how to consume alcohol safely,” Brindley said.

Established world’s first industry-scale aggregated PPA with AHA NSW.

“As always, it is up to the whole industry to play its part in promoting responsible drinking and continuing the positive change we are already seeing in attitudes towards alcohol.”

58 | National Liquor News
























*OFFER OPEN ONLY TO RESIDENTS OF Aust. res. 18+ only. Purchase AUSTRALIA AGED 18 YEARS AND OVER. HELPLINE: 1800 a case of Heinekens in a single 308 transaction, to share, from this 388 ENDS 10/12/19, WHILE GIFT STOCKS LAST. LIMIT 10/12/19, while gift stocks APPLIES OF ONE (1) GIFT PER venue to receive a 6 x 330ml last. Not valid pack of Heineken 0.0 (‘gift’). PERSON PER DAY. The Promoter (Lion - Beer, Spiritswith other offer/s. Not transferrable, exchangeable or Max one (1) gift per person redeemable for & Wine per day. Ends at anytime. To the maximum Pty Ltd ABN 13008596370, L7/68 York St, Sydney, NSW cash. Availability varies from retailer to retailer. Not for re-sale. extent permitted by law, the Promoter will not be liable for 2000) reserves the right to cancel or amend this offer way from this offer, including any injury, loss and/or damage the acceptance or use of any arising in any item supplied conditions restrict, exclude or modify any statutory consumer as part of this offer. Nothing in these rights under any applicable law including the Competition and Consumer Promoter supports the responsible Act 2010 (Cth). The service of alcohol.

9 27/11/2019 to 10/12/201

27/11/20199to 14/11/2018 16/01/201 to27/11/2018 10/12/2019 29/01/2019 VIC_BM_P24_A4_METRO

Call us now to find out how LMG can grow your business. New South Wales Aidan Desmond 0427 250 618 | Queensland David Gyte 0411 039 723 | Victoria Chris Christofi 0401 714 257 South Australia & Northern Territory Simon Rowe 0417 417 886 | Western Australia Mike Stubber 0419 992 542 Source: Shopper Tracker 2019 as measured in convenience retail. NLNJAN20

Liquor Barons

Liquor Barons take a local approach With consumers actively seeking out products that are new, local and different, Liquor Barons has steered its strategy away from premium wine, and by taking a more local approach has achieved a third year of 20 per cent growth.

Chris O’Brien General Manager Liquor Barons

Liquor Barons has achieved a third consecutive year of near 20 per cent


overall growth, with a four per cent growth in customer foot traffic and an 11 per cent increase in customer loyalty. And General Manager Chris O’Brien attributes this success to their highly successful ‘Barons’ advertising campaign (pictured) and a strategic move away from the premium wine business model that they have previously been known for. “We know for business, especially in a challenging market, the focus needs to go beyond maintaining sales. As a result we take a more stringent approach, focusing on margin accretion so as our members’ businesses not only survive

Wine is a thing of the past

variety and range of product which will

but exceed expectations.

O’Brien says the retail liquor landscape

utilise cannabis as a core ingredient.

is changing, and consumers are moving

On offer will not just be cannabis in its

will be determining if our mission and

away from premium wine and towards

pure form but also vape, edibles and

vision aligns with the market and the

local beers and spirits. He says, “If you’re

beverages including teas and non-

changing landscape of retail in Western

planning to join a premium wine group in

alcoholic drinks.

Australia and if our current suite of

2020, you’re 10 years too late”.

“At the forefront of our review in 2020

services align to our retailers’ needs in 2020 and beyond. “People are still looking for value, but

“The consumer has moved on. They

“There is also tremendous opportunity for liquor industry to be a part of this

want local, more local and very local.

change. We are ideally placed to act as a

They also want beer, different beer but

dispensary of cannabis products once it

they are actively seeking out products

everyday beer as well. Spirits are making a

becomes legal.”

that are new, local and different, which

comeback, but the big brands are suffering

is what we are focused on providing.

as the market turns to locally made

important to continually revisit their

They are looking to be challenged from

products which utilise local produce and

strategic plan and that “In 2020, we have

a taste perspective and like to share

innovative ingredients. It’s a big call but

an ongoing mandate of continuing to

this with their friends. This rings

wine is becoming less important.”

innovate, push the boundaries, agitate the

especially with millennials where their

With the legalisation of cannabis on the

As a cooperative, O’Brien says it’s

market and simply do things differently

experience is shared via multiple social

horizon, O’Brien sees opportunity for the

as we know this resonates well with our

media channels. It’s all about being

liquor industry to be a part of this change.

members and the market – stay tuned for

‘Insta’ worthy.” 60 | National Liquor News

“What people don’t realise is the

what’s next”.

THE TALE OF TWO SUNS Introducing Two Suns: A new, premium easy drinking beer by two brewers from two great brewing nations. As Australian summer approaches, so does beer drinking season and this year we’re welcoming something new to the fray. Enter Two Suns – a unique collaboration between two passionate brewers from two great brewing nations: Australia and Japan. The two master brewers behind Two Suns, Geoff Day from Australia and Yosuke Tajika from Japan have expertly combined their brewing expertise to create something exceptional for Australian beer drinkers. The result encapsulates the best of both worlds, with Two Suns bringing something better to the world of easy drinking beer. Made in Australia with 100% Australian malt and wheat, using precise Japanese brewing techniques, it’s the newest easy drinking, ultra-refreshing premium Australian beer. “Two Suns has a unique flavour profile of low bitterness with a subtle malt aroma and character. Its distinctive crisp taste and dry finish makes for a really nice easy drinking refreshment. It truly is the result of marrying the best of two very passionate brewers that are excited to show off what’s best about our home countries,” says Day. Two Suns makes for the perfect option to enjoy under the Australian sun whether it’s your next barbeque or afternoon sip session, look out for the bright yellow label. Two Suns is available now.

18+ Drink Responsibly

Liquor Legends

Liquor Legends launches new e-commerce platform Performance in 2019 was excellent for Liquor Legends and Urban Cellars, but with the impending launch of a new e-commerce platform just around the corner, Managing Director John Carmody expects 2020 to be even stronger for the group.

It’s been a year of growth for Liquor Legends and Urban Cellars in terms of sales and gross profit, but with the impending launch of a new e-commerce


platform, Managing Director John Carmody is expecting 2020 to be even more successful. Carmody attributes 2019’s success to a focus on growing gross profit, transaction counts and basket size, and through tactical offers and the success of their Rewards program, they have been able to meet those objectives. “Performance in 2019 was excellent, with our program delivering growth like-for-like and new business. With our Rewards and Loyalty Program, members support, support of suppliers and the

core of delivering on our Customer Lifecycle

launch of our e-commerce marketplace, we expect

Opportunities and e-commerce is a critical part

2020 to exceed 2019’s exceptional performance,”

of the future, and you must have a solution,”

Carmody told National Liquor News.

says Carmody.

“Our immediate focus will be on launching

“We are currently testing new ideas to drive our

our e-commerce marketplace and ensuring that

Rewards program forward which will see some of

it delivers to the standard our members and

our customers being rewarded in more customised

customers have come to expect from Liquor

and tailored ways. We will continue to give our

Legends. Taking advantage of our data richness,

whole customer base incredible pricing and access

we will ensure the customers journey on our

to money can’t buy prizes and experiences.

online platform will showcase the same level of

“It is essential that you have quality data to be able

personalisation and detail that our customers

to do anything with it and the reality is that many

experience through all channels of the business

independent banners other than us have not invested

and more.”

into technology which allows them to effectively use

Artificial Intelligence and customer loyalty

their data to provide validated solutions. “We are working on Artificial Intelligence (AI) to assist us across our business and the high quality

Being able to capture and effectively use

of our data allows us to do this efficiently and

customer data is an important element to

effectively. It’s a stretch to say we use AI today, but

retailing in 2020 and one which Carmody says

we are at the forefront of its integration into our

isn’t being invested in widely enough. Liquor

business processes. We use complex algorithms

Legends is well known for its successful loyalty

today to plan and deliver better outcomes. It

program and they are currently testing ideas on

assists us in understanding our business and our

how to take it to the next level.

members’ business and to personalise the offer to

“Our Rewards and Loyalty program is at the 62 | National Liquor News

our customer which we see as critical.”

“With our Rewards and Loyalty Program, members support, support of suppliers and the launch of our e-commerce marketplace, we expect 2020 to exceed 2019’s exceptional performance.” John Carmody Managing Director/CEO – Hotel & Tourism Management Pty Ltd Chairman – Retail Drinks Australia

Internationally acclaimed Noble One remains the benchmark of Australian ‘Botrytis’ winemaking garnering more than 150 Trophies and 465 Gold Medals. Perfect to enjoy on its own or try it on the rocks.

For more information, please contact your De Bortoli representative. /DeBortoliWines

Liquor Marketing Group

LMG focused on making members more profitable RETAIL

Following a highly successful year for LMG and its members, CEO Gavin Saunders sees growth continuing strongly throughout 2020.

Last year was a record year for Liquor Marketing

significant increases in catalogues and social media

Group (LMG), with performance significantly

spend being the primary drivers of foot traffic, and

higher than the overall market results, according to

greater engagement on customer direct marketing

CEO Gavin Saunders.

through our databases of consumers generated

At LMG, success is measured by achieving

through e-commerce and social,” said Saunders.

one primary objective – making members more

“We have seen strong growth in the overall

profitable. And the results reported throughout

LMG business along with our members scan sales

2019 have helped to achieved this.

growing faster than the market.”

In fact, growth was achieved above market

Another area that contributed to the success

across each major category and state, which was an

of 2019 was the LMG premium programs, which

incredible achievement when cycling a record year

are optional for retailers and cover premium wine,

in 2018.

spirits and craft beer. The range is different for each

“2019 calendar year growth was primarily driven by increase in customer counts and transactions. Also pleasing was that high margin categories

state, specially tailored to suit the needs of the local premium customer. Based on the results of these programs in 2019,

of spirits and wine led our growth which drove

they will continue to be a focus for 2020, especially

additional profit for members along with increased

in wine.

sales,” Saunders said. Other notable contributors were the rollout

CEO Liquor Marketing Group

“The premium wine program, despite being in year on year growth, delivered in excess of 35 per

platforms, which have increased total sales and

cent growth in the portfolio and an average basket

basket size for most venues.

size which was 70 per cent greater than an average

through e-commerce offers the opportunity for

Gavin Saunders

its fourth year and already achieving considerable

of the Bottlemart and Sip’n Save e-commerce

“The direct connection with customers

“We have seen strong growth in the overall LMG business along with our members scan sales growing faster than the market.”

wine basket,” Saunders said.

greater engagement and tailoring of offer for our

Thirsty Camel partnership

customers. These targeted promotions have been

LMG has formed a partnership with Route 66 Liquor Limited, the licensee

incredibly successful in terms of redemption rates

of the Thirsty Camel brand in Western Australia.

and repeat patronage.”

The partnership was formed based on both groups being memberowned and identifying the opportunity to provide greater support for WA

High hopes for 2020

independent retailers through a combination of the services and support

There is a focus to continue growth, “enhanced

of LMG and the Route 66 teams.

in 2020 through both our traditional marketing, 64 | National Liquor News

Spritzed wine? Sure can.


Pernod Ricard


Exciting times ahead for Pernod Ricard Bryan Fry was appointed CEO of Pernod Ricard Winemakers in December last year, and with an eye to the future, reflects on a big year for the Australian arm of the business.

Bryan Fry CEO Pernod Ricard Winemakers

Formerly the Managing Director of Pernod Ricard in the Pacific, Bryan Fry was recently promoted to CEO of Pernod Ricard Winemakers, the winemaking side of Pernod Ricard, but nonetheless spent most of 2019 in charge of the company’s Australian operations – and described last year as a big one for the company. “Our teams have continued to navigate a competitive wine, spirits and Champagne landscape, working closely with our customers, partners and retailers to create unique partnerships, products, campaigns and experiences for our consumers,” he told National Liquor News. Given the high-end nature of many of Pernod Ricard’s brands, it’s also a company well-placed to take advantage of the premiumisation trend that has swept the industry for many years, and it’s no surprise to hear from Fry that he expects that particular trend to continue in 2020. “Premiumisation is arguably one of the most notable trends occurring in the alcohol industry currently, we are seeing consumers looking to trade up to premium offerings and adopting

“In 2020, The Glenlivet range will experience a full packaging transformation which we are very excited about.”

the ‘less is more’ mantra,” he explains. “It is a continuation from

points to health and wellbeing as a major factor that all suppliers

what we have seen in recent years and will continue to be a focus

must consider – especially among younger demographics.

for us as we move into 2020. We expect to see the market evolve

Beyond this, he says it’s a “unique and exciting time in the

in line with this trend, but also with an increasing desire for more

wine, spirits and broader alcohol market”, with a major upswing in

personalised and crafted offers at the customer and consumer level.”

consumer interest in how drinks are created and consumed, and a

One of PR’s premium offerings is The Glenlivet 12YO Single Malt, which was relaunched in Australia just over 12 months

major uptake “in products that offer a new twist from the traditional”. He also points to regulation as a crucial factor that the industry

ago – and, moving forward, it’s a brand Fry is particularly excited

must collectively discuss in 2020, if it is to continue to flourish. “Our

about. “The Glenlivet 12YO is the definite expression of The

industry is already a highly regulated one, yet we face increasing

Glenlivet, which was the first officially recognised Single Malt

demands for new restrictions on the way we do business,” says Fry.

Scotch whisky,” he says. “We unfortunately had such a global demand that we needed to

“We need to continue to proactively demonstrate the good things the entire wine, spirits and beer industry brings to Australia

remove it from many markets around the world due to short supply

in order to balance the debate: about $20 billion in economic

a few years ago, but due to additional capacity coming on stream we

activity supporting more than 400,000 jobs, paying nearly $6 billion

were able to successfully re-introduce the product into the Australian

in tax and providing countless convivial moments enjoyed by the

market this year. In 2020, The Glenlivet range will experience a full

millions of Australians who drink responsibly every day.”

packaging transformation which we are very excited about.”

Despite challenges such as this, Fry’s optimism and belief in

Given Fry’s experience in the industry, he’s also well placed to

the quality of Pernod Ricard’s offering is self-evident. “In my view,

discuss the trends that are currently shaping the market, and like a

we have the best premium wine, spirit and Champagne portfolio

number of the executives interviewed for this year’s Leaders Forum,

in the industry, and we want everyone to know about it.”

66 | National Liquor News


Porter’s builds national footprint Since being acquired by Australian Liquor Marketers three years ago, Porter’s has undergone a revamp and enjoyed extraordinary growth.

Giuseppe Minissale Head of Supplier Engagement and Investment Australian Liquor Marketers

Since being acquired by Australian Liquor Marketers three years ago, Porter’s


has undergone a revamp and enjoyed strong growth. Porter’s is not only set to achieve its aim of opening 100 stores over the next few years, but over the coming months the group will open stores in Western Australia, Tasmania and Queensland, and with one already trading in Victoria, it will be a true national chain. Giuseppe Minissale, the Head of Supplier Engagement and Investment at Australian Liquor Marketers (ALM) says that a significant investment has been made in both the new and existing stores and they are “reaping the rewards” from that investment. “We’ve been investing in our current stores and acquiring new stores, and this has resulted in strong growth in both sales volumes and store numbers.” says Minissale. He says: “Consumers are looking for vibrant, upbeat, renovated shops that are hitting current market trends. Every time we invest in the tailored refurbishment of a Porter’s store there is a strong uplift in sales for that store.” This new direction for Porter’s has

“Consumers are looking for vibrant, upbeat, renovated shops that are meeting current market trends.”

seen the group raise its store count to 31 and Minissale said it’s been a “really

challenging ourselves with at Porter’s is

how it benefits the retailer. If feedback is

exciting challenge” exploring new ways

making sure that if somebody has a great

positive, then we’ll look at whether other

to make the Porter’s model work in

new idea, that we trial it. If the idea works,

stores could benefit from it as well.”

different formats.

then we’ll look to roll it out more widely.

“The new stores in Victoria and Western

The focus for Porter’s in 2020 will be to

“For example, we’re trialing digital

continue to grow and Minissale says that

Australia are adaptations of the Porter’s

ticketing at our store in Moonee Ponds,

having a national footprint is the vision

design. One of the things that we’re

Victoria, and we’ll watch that and see

for the brand.

February 2020 | 67

Nip of Courage


Nip of Courage celebrates the Aussie spirit After a great year of growth for Nip of Courage, Kathleen Davies sees even more opportunity on the horizon.

It was a great year for Nip of Courage in

Kathleen Davies Founder Nip of Courage

job opportunities are limited.”

2019, as Founder Kathleen Davies and her

One of the recent ways that Nip of

team not only celebrated their own successes,

Courage has been helping producers

but those of the distilleries they represent.

overcome some of these barriers, is through

With new products, people, awards and

getting their stories out there to connect

events, Australia’s leading distributor and

with potential customers via podcast.

exporter of local spirits is helping raise

After almost three years in the making,

awareness for the diversity and quality in

the Aussie Spirit Podcast collaboration

the industry.

between Nip of Courage and Podcastone

“One of the main highlights for us

Australia debuted its first season last

was the growth we experienced in the

year, coming in as the number four rated

last quarter for 2019 when many other

podcast on Apple’s charts over summer.

stakeholders in the industry experienced a

Davies said: “The Aussie Spirit series

slight decline in sales,” Davies said.

follows the journey of some of the 200

But there’s still opportunity to do more

Australian distillers embracing local

in 2020, with Nip of Courage focused on

botanicals, crops and climates in order

providing a more customised approach to

to craft some uniquely Australian Spirits.

the more than 50,000 potential businesses they could be selling to. “Customer service is a huge opportunity.

Australia’s ‘Ginaissance’ still strong

From award winning whisky, to gin, to vodka and rum, we hear from the farmers,

One of Davies’ predictions for the

the pioneers and the passionate distillers,

We will be conducting a survey for our

future of the spirits category is that

all around Australia, who are putting the

online retail customers and wholesale

Australia’s love affair with gin will

craft back into distilling.”

customers in the first quarter of 2020 to

continue in earnest.

try to build a more tailored approach to customer service in our business.”

“Is the Australian industry flooded

Davies pointed to the craft trends that are increasingly driving consumer

with gin? The answer is NO. The surface

behaviour, specifically that: “locally made

has merely been scratched in Australia.

and owned products are on the rise.”

Encouraging the local market

Gin is forecast to be the second fastest

Nip of Courage’s mission is to raise the

growing international category by 2021

retail, but again, there is always the

profile of the world quality Australian

behind whisky,” she said.

potential for more. While some larger

craft spirits that captivate the hearts and

Already this trend has been influencing

chains have whole sections dedicated to

minds of discerning drinkers. When they

whisky and rum), start-up distilleries lack

Australian craft spirits, Davies said there

gain more customers, the local craft spirit

of industry experience and poor business

is a wide opportunity for independent

industry gets more support.

acumen, lack of distributor and wholesaler

retailers to capitalise on the trend, while

options to cope with the needs of start-

supporting local businesses and family.

However, Davies said that there are barriers for Australian craft spirit producers

up distilleries, and distillery locations;

which are keeping the industry in its infancy.

approximately 90 per cent of craft

working tirelessly behind the scenes to

distilleries are based in isolated locations

encourage independent retailers to stock

where the economies are fragile and the

craft spirit lines.”

“Distillery scale of production challenges (mainly for dark spirits like 68 | National Liquor News

“At Nip of Courage we are still

Thirsty Camel – Victoria

Quenching customer thirst for convenience Last year was a great one for Thirsty Camel

Club V2.0 will drive true loyalty to Thirsty Camel

Victoria, with growth in both volume and value.

by rewarding customers for every dollar they spend,

According to General Manager Adrian Moelands,

giving them even more incentive to shop with their

this was driven by the retail group’s understanding

local bottle shop,” he said.

and prediction of consumer needs. From this,

In terms of categories that have done well in

a number of programs were implemented

the past year, Moelands highlighted the beer and

throughout the year that will be built upon in

ready-to-drink (RTD) categories, with the potential

2020, including opt-in portfolio boosters for

for further growth in 2020 thanks to Top Drops and

members, like the Top Drops premium program

Crafty Camels.

and the Crafty Camel’s Thirsty Camel extended craft beer program. “Top Drops delivers a premium spirit and

“Our beer business was driven by the growth of contemporary and craft brands. In the RTD category high ABV has continued to perform well

wine portfolio for our membership. It’s an

with convenience 10-packs servicing our customers’

opt-in program that allows retailers to increase

convenience needs,” Moelands said.

their premium range in their business and has

“We expect to continue this success off the

seen exceptional take up in the pilot stage,”

back of our new premium and craft programs. The

Moelands said.

consumer swing to convenience shopping should

“As craft beer now makes up 10 per cent of the Australian beer market, we recognised the need for our retailers to capitalise on this.

also benefit our retailers, and as mentioned, we intend to further leverage this in 2020.” To fully capitalise on the consumer demand for

Crafty Camel provides Thirsty Camel bottle

convenience this year, Thirsty Camel will be going

shops with an extended range of local craft beer

beyond what is expected from the usual bottle

enabling retailers to have an exciting range for

shop experience.

their customers.” Thirsty Camel has also completed the launch

“Crafty Camel provides Thirsty Camel bottle shops with an extended range of local craft beer enabling retailers to have an exciting range for their customers.” Adrian Moelands General Manager Thirsty Camel – Victoria

As Moelands says: “Thirsty Camel’s store footprint and customer lean heavily towards

of its rebooted loyalty program, Hump Club.

convenience shopping, we plan to extend on this

The tiered program features exclusive member

opportunity into the new year.”

discounts as well as vouchers to spend back at the


Thirsty Camel Victoria’s General Manager, Adrian Moelands, says they’re well positioned to cater to the increasing number of convenience shoppers.

bottle shop when they reach spend levels. Moelands

Predicted retail trends in 2020

said the new version was delivered for the benefit of

“Consumer behaviour is shifting, and there is a move away from big-box

both the customer and retailer.

shopping as customers continue to chase convenience options to suit

“By integrating with the retailer’s POS Hump

their busy lives. I predict we will continue to see growth in home delivery

Club V2.0 has streamlined the customer experience,

liquor, as more scheduled, same day, and last-minute options enter the

making it incredibly easy for customers to redeem

marketplace to meet shopper demand.”

their My Offer and transactions. We believe Hump February 2020 | 69

Treasury Wine Estates


TWE’s year of celebration and innovation In an ever-changing industry landscape, Treasury Wine Estates’ Managing Director ANZ Peter Neilson is looking forward to new opportunities in the wine category.

The highlights of 2019 had Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) and

Peter Neilson Managing Director ANZ Treasury Wine Estates

its brands celebrating success, innovation and milestones. Peter

TWE wins big at ALIA

Neilson, TWE Managing Director ANZ, was pleased with these

“It’s fantastic and genuinely humbling to be recognised by

achievements and how they’ve been received by industry and

our peers and the wider industry at an event such as the

consumers alike.

Australian Liquor Industry Awards.

One of the significant highlights was Penfolds celebrating

“I’ve always said that I believe the strength of our

175 years of winemaking heritage. Neilson said: “To mark the

brands lies in their diversity. We’re fortunate enough to be

anniversary, we released Special Bin 111A Clare Valley Barossa

custodians for some of Australia’s leading labels – from

Valley Shiraz 2016 – a new, rare Penfolds wine, which has quickly

those with rich histories with wines that continue to pay

captured the attention of critics and collectors alike.”

homage to the origins of the Australian wine story, to our

Another new product was a cross category infusion of wine and spirit, the Squealing Pig Rosé Gin, the first of its kind in Australia. The “brand’s playful nature, paired with the quality

newer and emerging brands which ensure we’re engaging new consumers to the category. “The success at last year’s awards is also a reflection

and expertise it’s renowned for,” also represent a significant

of the hard work and dedication of our entire team and

opportunity for TWE in 2020.

I’m hopeful we’ll uphold these levels of achievement as we

“I’m looking forward to building on the success of new releases

head into 2020.”

such as Squealing Pig Rosé Gin, with a focus on blurring category lines (the emergence of cross-category beverages), led by quality and considered innovation,” Neilson said. But first, as TWE prepares for the 2020 vintage, Neilson said the immediate focus will be “to continue working with partners to find solutions in this ever-changing landscape, that deliver on consumer needs and customer and internal expectations. “As Australia’s leading producer of wine, we feel it’s incumbent on us to be at the forefront of driving category growth and with our amazing portfolio of brands and a focus on premiumisation we are well equipped to do so.” Such a strategy worked well for TWE in 2019, with several of its products well positioned to capitalise on the biggest wine trends of the year, proven by the fact that six Australian Liquor Industry Awards (ALIA) categories were taken out by TWE. “Whether it was through phenomenal growth in varietals

in market [according to IRI data] with our Squealing Pig Spritzed Rosé and Spritzed Pinot Grigio.” From a business perspective, throughout 2020 there will be increased emphasis on sustainability, and creating long term value for TWE and the wider industry. As a wine producer, TWE is

such as rosé, or through spritzed offerings and wine in cans, there

intrinsically linked to natural and human resources, making this

is no denying that refreshment continues to be a key factor for

an extremely important factor for them.

consumers in their enjoyment of wine,” Neilson said. “Canned wine as a category and the role that convenience plays

Neilson said: “As an industry, we all have the opportunity to positively contribute to the environment and our communities. This

is another trend that showed growth in 2019. At TWE we’re proud

will look different for every company based on size, product and

to have the number one and two canned wine products currently

location but there’s always more we can do.”

70 | National Liquor News



Wherever You Are

William Grant & Sons


Premium spirits and exceptional activations forecast for 2020 Disruptive brand activations, like the ‘Glenfiddich Whisky Wanderer’, are central to William Grant & Sons’ approach to leveraging the premiumisation of the spirits market.

Colin Rochester General Manager ANZ William Grant & Sons

“In an Australian spirits market environment driven by premiumisation, innovation and spectacular growth of the gin and single malt whisky segments, 2019 was an outstanding year for William Grant & Sons Australia.” It’s safe to say that Colin Rochester, William Grant & Sons’ (WG&S) General Manager Australia and New Zealand, is pretty happy with how 2019 turned out for the company. According to Rochester, last year’s highlights included the September launch of Sailor Jerry’s RTD; multiple NPD launches for WG&S leading gin brand Hendrick’s; and the continued growth of Glenfiddich as the number one single malt in Australia, with innovations like personalised labels and the ‘Glenfiddich Whisky Wanderer’ of particular note. “The Whisky Wanderer is a double decker luxury whisky lounge bus, designed to educate and inspire consumers and trade customers on single malt Scotch whisky… and bring a touch of

“In an Australian spirits market environment driven by premiumisation, innovation and spectacular growth of the gin and single malt whisky segments, 2019 was an outstanding year for William Grant & Sons Australia.”

Scotland to the tasting experience,” says Rochester. Given the company’s origins, single malts are an obvious focus

Beyond single malt, Hendrick’s Gin is central to WG&S strategy

for WG&S, and in September, they launched Aerstone, a new

both globally and locally, with a number of successful NPD

single malt that aims to help whisky drinkers better understand

launches in 2019. “As Australia’s number one super premium gin,

the single malt Scotch category.

we continue to drive gin growth through our disruptive, innovative

“Aerstone Single Malt addresses two key barriers to entry to trading up from the blended Scotch segment into single malts; flavour and price,” Rochester explains. “In addition, age statement continues to

brand campaigns, and continued gin innovation to drive category growth,” Rochester says. “Since its launch in September 2019, Hendrick’s Midsummer

be a key ‘reassurance feature’ for those consumers looking to enter

Solstice has driven incremental sales and growth as consumers

and explore the single malt segment. This is particularly relevant for

continue to explore and experiment across the gin segment.

blended Scotch whisky drinkers where approximately 36 per cent of new single malt drinkers enter and switch from blends. “Aerstone Single Malt aims to simplify the taste messaging and

“To complement this, we have also launched Verano Gin in Watermelon and Lemon in the premium flavoured gin segment. Flavoured gin will continue to grow in Australia, where IWSR

help new single malt drinkers navigate category flavours through

forecast that this sub-segment of gin will grow by 500K 9L cases

clear on pack taste descriptors. The range showcases two different

this year and reach 1.2M 9L cases by 2023.”

styles of whisky under the same brand, allowing consumers to easily understand the spectrum of flavours and demystify the traditional – and often complex – language associated with the category. “Even the imagery for Aerstone aims to help consumers clearly

Rochester is also keen to take advantage of consumers continuing to trade up to more premium spirits. “Our strategy to leverage these trends is a continuing focus on disruptive brand activations across our key brands with a focus on

understand what each whisky might taste like without focussing

experiential events in the on-premise, driving innovation to ensure

on the more typical – and often ambiguous – whisky analogies for

currency in an increasingly competitive premium landscape and

flavour,” says Rochester.

partnering with our retail partners to premiumise.”

72 | National Liquor News

Full page advert Pernod Ricard

Wines of the Loire Valley

Discover wines from the Loire Valley A local expert tells us why we should explore wines from France’s third largest vineyard area.

After excellent growth in 2019, this year is the

by educating them on why the region is already

perfect time to explore the Loire Valley through wine,

popular among sommeliers and wine experts.

according to Pierre-Jean Sauvion, the Export Director

“The wines of the Loire Valley have many

Loire Valley Region for Grand Chais de France. “There is a very dynamic market for rosé and white

wonderful wine assets: their physical, stunning natural landscapes, varied soils and climates and

wines [from the Loire Valley]. We’ve always believed

renowned international grape varieties including

that our lighter wine styles suit the Australian drinking

Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc. All

landscape perfectly; we are now, largely through our

these elements allow the development of different

marketing campaigns and further importer support,

wine expressions (from fruity and fresh, mineral and

seeing exports increase,” Sauvion said.

textural, to richness and incredible age worthiness),

Australia is the Loire Valley’s seventh largest

of different colours and typicity as well,” said Sauvion.

export destination, growing by 47.3 per cent in

“This varied offer seduces wine professionals

volume, and makes up 11.9 per cent of French

and can fulfil many different desires, be it price

PDO and PGI wines on Australian soil. But despite

point, wine styles and wines that address current

this market share growth increase of 3.4 points in

market trends; such as medium-bodied reds, fresh

one year alone, many local wine consumers aren’t

dynamic whites and more organic and bio-dynamic

confident about navigating the region.

producers than any other region in Europe.”

“The richness and diversity of Loire Valley wines

On offer right now to prove these facts is the

is sometimes difficult for Australian consumers

2019 vintage, which, although it encountered

to grasp. We are home to so many well-known

climate-related challenges, is impressive.

appellations and wine styles it can be quite overwhelming,” said Sauvion. To uncover what the region’s wines can offer

Describing the season and the resulting wines, Sauvion said: “If the season has been tiring for the vines, it has also been tiring for the men and

to Australians, the Loire Valley look to retailers

women working the vineyards, but the result is

and the valuable connections they have with the

full of promise: the wines of the 2019 vintage are

consumer in-store.

certainly expressive, and aromatic purity is one of

One way to pique general consumer interest is 74 | National Liquor News

their key characteristics.”

“The wines of the 2019 vintage are certainly expressive, and aromatic purity is one of their key characteristics.” Pierre-Jean Sauvion Export Director Loire Valley Region Grand Chais de France

We created a rum wi th notes of orange, cinnamon and nutm you’re supposed to eg, not because that do it - but because ’s how it tastes good. It’s a lit usual suspects, but tle different from th it’s damn tasty, and e as far as we’re conc erned - that’s what counts.




For more information, contact your Halewood Australia rep, call 02 9513 8895 or email us on


Image above: The Magnificent Unknown campaign



Transforming and reinvigorating Yalumba After a year of working on its brands, Yalumba has big domestic and international plans for 2020.

The wine industry and market has changed a lot in the 170-year history of Yalumba. Knowing there’s

Predictions for the South Australian wine industry

still more changes to come, Managing Director Nick

“At the time of writing we have just experienced the Adelaide Hills

Waterman says that Yalumba has worked hard on

bushfires and this will have a big impact on the region during 2020. I feel

business transformation and brand reinvigoration,

confident that the industry will show its collegiality and support those

and in 2019, the outcome of this work has hit home.

wineries and personnel impacted to get back on their feet.

In 2019, Yalumba “launched several new

“I am also really encouraged by some of the small boutique producers

Yalumba brands including Samuel’s Collection,

becoming more established in South Australia. This trend together with

which was channelled toward the independent

a really vibrant fabric of restaurants, wine bars and festivals both in

retail sector, and Yalumba Wild Ferments, a brand

Adelaide city and regional areas is helping to make SA a real destination

for the on-trade,” he said.

for those seeking such pleasures.”

Waterman is the first non-family member to be Managing Director, but he said a highlight of 2019

“This is also the case with various trade wars

was welcoming the first of the sixth generation to

and what this will do to our relative competitive

the business, Jessica Hill-Smith, the great great great

advantage vis a vis European Countries.”

granddaughter of Yalumba Founder, Samuel Smith. Emphasising the family heritage is part of the

What is your 2020 industry focus?

brand strategy for Yalumba, with its latest multimedia

Waterman says there are challenges facing

campaign ‘The Magnificent Unknown’ telling the story

the industry that need to be addressed from

of Samuel’s first vine planting. This is something that

different standpoints.

Waterman said will continue into 2020 as Yalumba positions itself as a quality, heritage winemaker. “The Yalumba media campaign will continue and

On a state level, he said: “Within SA Biosecurity is very important and there is currently a review of the five Biosecurity Acts being undertaken by the

we will strive to move the centre of gravity for brand

State Government. It is really important we keep SA

Yalumba in response to the premiumisation trend that

Phylloxera free.

is occurring in all markets,” Waterman said. Challenges for the year ahead are predicted to centre around international export markets. Waterman said: “Given the UK is our largest

“Australia wide, there is a need to debate the current Container Deposit Scheme that is considering wine bottles. And finally, on an international industry level, is the sustainability factor.

export market; we anxiously await the finalisation

“We need to collaboratively discuss and join

of Brexit and how that impacts upon FX rates and

forces to tackle climate change and water, both of

trading agreements between the UK and its primary

which are real issues and have a major impact upon

import countries.

the wine industry.”

76 | National Liquor News

“We need to collaboratively discuss and join forces to tackle climate change and water.” Nick Waterman Managing Director Yalumba

Research & Associations

Wondering what’s going to be on trend this year? Or how you can make the most of the space in your store? We’ve spoken to shopper experts, industry associations and data analysts from across the country and have all the insights into what to stock in 2020 and where to position it in your store to maximise on sales.

February 2020 | 77

Shopper Insights

Are seasonal and limited release craft beers creating a trade hangover? Norrelle Goldring rounds up industry perspectives on the impact of consumers increasingly seeking novelty over core range craft beers, and the viewpoints are strikingly similar.

About Norrelle Goldring: Norrelle has 20 years’ experience in the liquor industry and in retail, category, channel and customer strategy, planning and research, working in and with global retailers, manufacturers and research houses. Contact Norrelle on 0411735190 or email

The Panel ➤


T he Brewer: Dave Padden, Founder & Head Brewer, Akasha Brewing Company T he Retailer: Lachlan McLean, Beer Cartel T he Rep: Pat Harrington, NSW Sales Manager, Hawkers Beer T he Punter: Nick Palmer, Craft Beer Enthusiast since 2010

Norrelle: When did the trend of craft beer

We’ve got good on-the-ball staff with social

consumers increasingly seeking new and

media: ‘here’s a new product shot posted two

limited releases become particularly

minutes ago’. Previously we’d get an email once a


week. Now you need to be on the pulse; if an email

Dave: I think the trend has always been there,

comes in at 11pm at night, you need to jump in

however five to 10 years ago it was limited to the

and order them, you can’t wait until Monday.

pointy end of the market – the hardcore beer enthusiasts and collectors. Many of the consumers

Norrelle: What do you think is behind this?

at that stage were new to craft and happy working

Dave: The move seems to be driven from the

their way through a brewery’s core selection which

consumer side, but many breweries, both here

was new and exciting for them.

and in the US, have been quick to change their

It has become much more noticeable in the last two to three-years as a larger proportion of

In the past, a typical brewery would have

craft customers are asking ‘what’s new’ while

a solid core range of beers available all year

also buying in smaller formats and they are after

round, then perhaps release a ‘seasonal’ beer

more variety in a single purchase.

once a month. We now see breweries constantly

Lachlan: We noticed it maybe two-and-ahalf years ago, since mobile canning became an

releasing one-off beers, some even giving up on a core range altogether.

option for breweries. Consumers were always

Lachlan: Consumers are now used to different

after limited releases, but once mobile canning

beers, but there are only a few pubs with a good

came out breweries had the opportunity to do

range of craft beer. We know that people will buy

small runs and it has snowballed since then.

a new beer just to get the badge on Untappd. If

We’ve gone from having 300 new SKUs a year

you’re not moving core range, how do you stay

to 1000 a year. It can take half a day every week

relevant? Feeding off the consumers’ want for

to create new products in the POS system. There

new is probably not sustainable if you’re not set

are 700 breweries in Australia, and on average

up in that way. We’re now doing limited release

each is putting out a new beer each month (and

tinny packs monthly and they just fly off the shelf.

sometimes every week). 78 | National Liquor News

business models to cater for it.

We bounce off the store staff to get the

Shopper Insights

customer feedback and how much we

out there now, the competition for shelf

die down as consumers get burnt out by all

should get. When it’s a smaller release we

space has really increased.

the new beers.

In the past, special releases were used

The market is maturing. Brewers are

We always want to sell out, we’re confident

as a reward for buying core range, or for

finding their identity, and a whole lot of

between our survey database, beer club and

volume buys. Some venues only want

consumers who have started discovering

other channels we can move it, but we’re

limited releases, but I won’t give them

craft in the past two years. As the market

conservative and don’t want excess stock.

those unless they buy some core range.

matures breweries will find their core

Generally, we wouldn’t want to take more

Brewers buy their packaging, malt

range, you must have your local base first.

than a case or two for unknowns, particularly

and hops based on core range. So limited

We suspect there will be a lot of brewery

styles that aren’t in at the moment.

releases become more expensive – different

closures in the next two years.

Pat: Consumers are looking for badges on Untappd for unique check-ins, which

malts, hops. And the providers can’t make some malt and hops at scale.

encourages trying new beers – often seasonals, special releases and one-offs. In the off-premise, punters go into the store with their Untappd app, looking for something new and different. Nick: Consumer tastes have changed; they’re seeking more flavour generally. The

Brewers Association (IBA) and beer lobby groups get people into craft. If they do well,

“We’re now doing limited release tinny packs monthly and they just fly off the shelf,” Lachlan McClean, Beer Cartel

stuff I was drinking back in 2012 would probably be considered bland now.

It all depends how well the Independent

people will continue coming in and the wave will keep going for a bit longer. If the five to six per cent penetration of craft beer stagnates then consumers will burn out. The US has a core range celebration day. The top 50 craft breweries in the US declined in sales, the newer breweries are driving the

Norrelle: Where do you see this all

growth but a lot of those are very small local

going? Who are the winners and

breweries, taproom only with no national

Norrelle: What has been the impact

losers likely to be?

distribution. Australia needs to head down

on you? And on the trade more

Dave: Consumers are definitely the losers

that model. There’s room for Australia to be


in this environment of chasing the next big

more local and more taprooms – and there

Dave: I have always believed strongly that

thing. Non-core range beers are expensive to

you’d get core range.

quality needs to be at the core of the craft

make, the cost of packaging alone for a non-

Pat: Punters need to change their

beer industry. Without this we will struggle

core beer is huge due to the low volumes, and

mentality and then the trade will follow.

to grow our segment of the larger beer

this needs to be passed onto the consumer.

Just because it’s new doesn’t mean it’s

industry beyond the five to six per cent that

The quality of the beer is also suffering with

better. There have been some signs in the

we currently have. Without a consistent core

breweries unable to perfect the beer when

US that the market is moving back to core

range, breweries don’t have the opportunity

they are constantly moving onto new styles

range, but it may take longer here because

to work on a particular beer over time. It takes

or at least variations of a style.

the market isn’t as mature yet.

many batches of beer to perfect a style, let

Breweries themselves are having to

alone one particular beer. Breweries that lack

accept smaller profits on these constantly

In conclusion

core range or at least a focus on a particular

changing beers, and the danger of no longer

The increasing market maturity of craft

style are often releasing beers that lack quality

being the ‘next big thing’ is just around the

beer and the plethora of new products

and sophistication which not only damages

corner. Brand loyalty is extremely difficult

available is creating headaches for brewers,

their own brand, but the industry in general.

without a core range offering.

retailers and consumers alike. There’s a

Pat: It’s getting harder to get core range

Lachlan: I don’t see limited releases

need for a refocus on core quality and local

into outlets. They want limited releases

slowing down any time soon, although

beers, and a likely shakeout of breweries

and seasonals because that’s what their

I hope they would. It may slow down

without a core range they are known for

customers are asking for. A couple of

eventually; it’s just going to take time.

or a loyal local following is foreseen. The

years ago you’d get three to four core range

Brewers who have been in craft longer

pursuit of predominantly limited and

products in at a time, now it’s only one or

have gone back to producing quality beers

seasonal releases as a manufacturing

two. Also, because the market has matured

and not just chasing the new. It’s all the

strategy is not seen as sustainable for both

and there are just so many more products

newer guys doing the limited releases. It’ll

production and financial reasons.

February 2020 | 79


might pass, or only get a couple of cases.

Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code

ABAC sees positives in a challenging year Last year was a record year for ABAC Panel decisions and upheld complaints, but the alcohol marketing regulator is looking positively at the year ahead.

The Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC)

are typically inadvertent, in that, the proliferation

Responsible Alcohol Marketing Code sets the

of smaller alcohol producers sees them more likely,

standard for responsible alcohol marketing in

out of ignorance, to slip up.

Australia, regulating its content and placement. ABAC Chair, Harry Jenkins AO, said that while

“In the vast majority of cases marketers acted promptly to comply with ABAC’s determinations by

there were a number of challenges in 2019, there

modifying or removing material and undertaking

were also some positives for alcohol marketers to

system reviews to ensure compliance.”

build on in 2020. “There was an increase in breaches of ABAC

Last year also saw a significant increase in alcohol packaging decisions, and Jenkins said:


standards in 2019, with 75 per cent relating to social

“Trade publication coverage of the breaches

media,” Jenkins told National Liquor News.

together with engagement with the Independent

“ABAC has been regulating social media activity

Brewers Association has created a greater awareness

by alcohol marketers since the first complaint

of ABAC, leading to a 37 per cent increase in pre-

about Facebook marketing in 2009. In 2014 ABAC

vetting of alcohol packaging.”

developed a best practice guide for alcohol marketers

Pre-vetting is one of the positives of 2019, as

on the use of digital media, with updates in 2016 and

Jenkins explained: “Record pre-vetting requests

2018 to guide marketers as this medium has evolved.”

were received in 2019, (2,192 pre-vetting requests)

“Pre-vetting remains the easiest and most efficient way for marketers to ensure their promotions are responsible before hitting the marketplace.”

Detailing some of the ABAC numbers in 2019,

up 25 per cent on last year. The ABAC Pre-vetting

Harry Jenkins AO

Jenkins said 2019, “was a record year for ABAC Panel

Service checks marketing material for compliance

Chair ABAC

decisions and upheld complaints: 128 complaints

with ABAC standards prior to the material reaching

received; 68 separate ABAC Adjudication Panel

the market.

decisions up 11 per cent on the previous year; 39

“Pre-vetting remains the easiest and most efficient

decisions resulted in at least part of one or more

way for marketers to ensure their promotions are

complaints being upheld (noting that two were

responsible before hitting the marketplace.”

deemed no fault breaches), up 86 per cent on the previous year”. He added: “While the high level of breaches is

Jenkins welcomed the creativity of advertisers, but cautioned on the importance of compliance, re-iterating that pre-vetting, which is open to non-

disappointing, the rapid turnaround in addressing

signatories of the Code is the safest way to ensure

ABAC’s rulings by marketers is welcomed. Breaches

alcohol marketing and packaging compliance.

80 | National Liquor News

Alcohol Beverages Australia

ABA highlights its plans for 2020 In 2020, Alcohol Beverages Australia will move the conversation away from consumption and towards the social and economic value of the liquor industry.

Andrew Wilsmore CEO Alcohol Beverages Australia

With Sydney’s lockout laws finally reversed and statistics showing that Australians are drinking at 50-year lows, overall the evidence points towards a positive shift in Australia’s drinking culture. But there is still more to be done, and Andrew Wilsmore, CEO of Alcohol Beverages Australia (ABA) says that it’s now time to move the conversation away from consumption and towards our industry’s social and economic contribution. “Our plan is to build further on that in the coming year to tell stories that resonate with people. Our video ‘Here’s to the People’ was a great platform to tell the innovation, employment and economic story, and we will see more of that this year. “We also have a real opportunity to talk about the valid and important contribution our industry makes to the Australian economy highlighting the jobs, expert revenue, taxation revenue and tourism dollars this industry continues to create for the

“It’s important that we move the conversation from one of consumption to one of social and economic value which is part of our social license to operate.”

benefit of Australians. consumption to one of social and economic value which is part of our social license to operate.”

Reinvigorating Sydney Sydney’s nighttime economy took a significant hit since lockout

how moderation is the new norm, it’s time for governments to start swinging the pendulum towards more favourable policy settings.” Wilsmore says the next priority is to “ensure the finalisation of the Draft Drinking Guidelines sees a big shift in how they are presented and well understood by Australians”. “We also need to place a very big marker in the sand that the

laws were introduced in 2014, with hundreds of venues closing

selection process for reviewing these Guidelines in the future

and local and international visitors venturing elsewhere.

must be beyond reproach and avoid the situation we have today in

The rollback of legislation means that trading hours will be

which many of the people selected to review the Guidelines come

extended for licensed venues, all bottle shops across the state and

from an anti-alcohol or temperance movement background as

for those in the Sydney CBD precinct, and that after-midnight

there is no way they can be impartial.

drink regulations will be relaxed. “The nighttime economy has been seriously harmed by the

“Another major opportunity is to make sure our response, and that of Governments to the National Alcohol Strategy is a

suite of measures that had been in place and we expect their

positive one. While this won’t always be easy, particularly with the

reversal will bring an economic and social boost to the city that it

funding of further research into the ‘costs’ of alcohol, the industry

desperately needs,” says Wilsmore.

is committed to reducing harm and we want to be a credible

“Those first few months will be very important for Sydneysiders and tourists to demonstrate we can have a great night time economy

participant in that. “Our job is made easier by our members – they are so

without harm due to misuse of alcohol. I hope we can become a case

focused on doing the right thing and take their obligations really

study for policy settings in other States and Territories.

seriously. We also want to acknowledge the Australian public

“The pendulum has swung too far towards more regulation and greater burdens on industry and the individual. Considering

who continue to do the right thing by drinking moderately – and we hope this continues.”

February 2020 | 81


“It’s important that we move the conversation from one of

Brewers Association of Australia

2020: a year for opportunity and reform While there are many exciting opportunities for Australian brewers, the industry has long been subjected to one of the highest excise taxes in the world. Brett Heffernan, CEO, Brewers Association of Australia, says it’s time for that to change.

Beer tax reform will be high on the agenda for the

governments are investigating whether the factual,

Brewers Association of Australia as we head into

scientifically proven information about sugar and

2020, with CEO Brett Heffernan saying that it’s time

carbohydrate content in all alcohol products should

for things to change.

be banned from labels and marketing materials,”

Australians pay the fourth highest excise tax on beer in the world and that tax quietly increases every six months, a fact that Heffernan says is “appalling”. “It’s clear that Australians simply don’t know what or how much tax is in a beer and, when illuminated, the reaction ranges from shock to

says Heffernan. “That’s despite growing interest among consumers wanting to understand what is in the products they buy – especially sugar, carbohydrates and calories.”


outrage. Our putting a toe in the water on this issue

Embracing change

publicly has been instructive. We will be building

Consumer preferences are constantly changing and

on that in 2020.

in 2020 we can see a greater demand for low and no

“That a beer is fast becoming out of reach for everyday Aussies is simply wrong. When 42 per cent of the price of a beer is tax, eclipsing any other

alcohol products, and breweries are delivering on this demand to great success. “The major brewers continue to launch new

input cost to be the biggest cost in the price of a

products and, especially the development of

beer... that’s political dynamite.

alcohol-free beers has been an eye-opener over

“Without giving too much away, the time is right

the last year. CUB, Lion and Coopers have each

for beer tax reform. There is no legitimate reason

launched no alcohol products and I think even they

for Australians to be paying top tier tax on a beer

may have been surprised at just how popular they

compared to the rest of the world. With a variety

have become. I know I was.

of external factors in play – cost of living pressures

“Continuing that dynamic approach and

for one – 2020 presents opportunities to get on the

exploring new innovations is key to keeping pace

front foot and drive a positive agenda for change.”

with consumers.

Another issue that Heffernan raises is the

“The one constant with beer over the last four

proposed banning of sugar and carbohydrate content

decades has been change. Being responsive and

from alcohol labels. Particularly given the growing

adaptable is paramount. There is more than enough

trend towards health and wellbeing and consumers

of the Australian beer market to go around. It

increasingly wanting to make informed choices.

continues to change, and from that, opportunities

“In a bizarre twist on consumer rights, 82 | National Liquor News

are created.

“Continuing that dynamic approach and exploring new innovations is key to keeping pace with consumers.” Brett Heffernan CEO Brewers Association of Australia

Cider Australia

An exciting year of opportunity for Cider Australia Cider Australia President Sam Reid looks ahead to an exciting 2020 featuring an export program, premiumisation and supporting Australian farmers.

In 2019 Cider Australia rolled-out the 100 per cent

drinking repertoires. We need to ensure that cider

Australian Grown ‘Trust Mark’ which has helped to

drinkers can stay with the category throughout

give Australian cider its own identity.

their lives, like they can with wine, beer and spirits, by ensuring a diversity of styles, flavours and

market, unifying producers and giving drinkers

formats exist in the market place and that we don’t

a functional and emotional reason to trade up to

lose drinkers from the category due to a lack of

a better-quality product which in turn is getting

those more mature, discerning options,” Reid said.

supported by retailers. With a successful year in the bag, Sam Reid,

“The biggest opportunities are to continue to premiumise the category, using purpose grown fruit

President of Cider Australia, said that the

to create amazing flavours and draw attention to the

immediate focus in 2020 will be the Export

100% Australian Grown Trust Mark and make sure

program and taking the 100% Australian Grown

more consumers are aware of it. Once consumers

Trust Mark on the road to China.

are aware of it, it will be a no brainer and will gain

“We are currently planning on showcasing a number of Cider producers and launching the 100% Australian Grown ‘Trust Mark’ in China in partnership with Wine Australia in May and June. “Along with that we are launching an Australian

its own momentum, as who doesn’t want to support Australian farmers right?” Reid added that as the category continues its premium growth, there are opportunities for retailers who come on that journey and who are

Cider Day, a celebration of ciders made from 100

able to guide consumers through the varieties that

per cent Australian grown fruit which will be held

the category offers.

on March 14.” Premiumisation has influenced the entire

“Cider is an incredibly unique and diverse category, not just Australian, but regions within

industry for many years, and Reid said that for cider

Australia and also regions around the globe. If

to have a sustainable future the category needs to

we can help more Australians access some of the

continue to premiumise.

diverse styles and flavours that exist internationally

“The category is currently dominated by cheaper

“The biggest opportunities are to continue to premiumise the category, using purpose grown fruit to create amazing flavours and draw attention to the 100 per cent Australian Grown Trust Mark.” Sam Reid President Cider Australia

people will be able to better understand the

ciders which use imported concentrate and these

importance of provenance more than ever, and that

ciders occupy a place in peoples’ minds and

will get the cider pulled off the shelf.”

February 2020 | 83


The mark is already having an impact in


Time to be part of the solution Active industry participation is helping DrinkWise bring positive change to the Australian drinking culture.

Simon Strahan CEO DrinkWise

Throughout 2019, DrinkWise has communicated a message of moderation to Australians, and despite a sometimes imbalanced focus on negative news, CEO Simon Strahan says data shows responsible drinking habits are increasing. For examples of how moderation messaging is being taken on board, simply look to the consumer trends driving the

DrinkWise moderation message to

industry right now, like the rise of low ABV.

reach all major racing venues across

“The increased availability of low and

behavioural change. “We have updated the government on

Australia. Our messaging is now seen at all

the success of the program in the hope

no alcohol products… demonstrates that

major race days… via signage, bar point

that the innovative use of communication

the industry respects the need to provide

of sale display, geo-targeted social posts,

channels can be part of their planning

quality alternatives for those who are

digital advertising and integrated visual

around future FASD campaigns.”

looking to manage their overall alcohol

content played over on-course screens.”

consumption,” Strahan said.

Across the whole industry, Strahan said that another continued focus for 2020 will

regarding young adult drinking in

Opportunities and challenges for 2020

Australia, our research has shown that

One of the hottest topics in alcohol

binge drinking as a rite of passage into

regulation right now is also a focus for

message across industry assets in the

adulthood is no longer the norm.”

DrinkWise in 2020, the Food Standards

events space to promote the importance of

Australia New Zealand (FSANZ)

drinking in moderation,” Strahan said.

“Contrary to some media reports


In fact, the amount of young adults drinking to excess is down by 10 per cent

review of pregnancy warning labels on

on the previous year. At the same time,

alcoholic beverages.

be creating a collective and sustainable approach towards positive change. “We’ve seen the benefits of a consistent

“It’s important that we work to achieve a similar level of consistency with the use of

Strahan said: “DrinkWise provided a

Get the Facts messaging

Statistics that overall alcohol consumption

submission based on available evidence,

on all product advertising, as this provides

has remained responsibly steady

highlighting the need to address existing

a clear message of moderation and allows

compared to years before.

consumer awareness and potential

consumers to seek out evidence-based

communication challenges to ensure a

information via our website, including

consumer-focused approach.”

practical tips and advice.”

we see from the Australian Bureau of

“Through our work with Australian Grape & Wine, resources have been distributed to over 1,700 wineries across

This is tied in with the success of

Strahan’s final message to the industry

Australia to help educate consumers about

the DrinkWise Fetal Alcohol Spectrum

is to highlight the value of an inclusive

standard tasting pours and to provide them

Disorder (FASD) Awareness Program, a

approach: “A collective approach is the only

with the resources to track their drinks

proactive industry supported action.

sustainable approach, so we’d encourage

while they are at cellar doors,” Strahan said. “In 2019, we extended our racing

“Surveys of medical practice staff and

those companies attempting to undertake

patients show that the approach, one of

their own small, ad hoc initiatives to become

partnership model to include the

the most comprehensive around this issue,

part of a broader solution that is proven,

Australian Turf Club, allowing the

is creating greater awareness, attitude and

successful and long term.”

84 | National Liquor News


Euromonitor Lion launched Quincy in late 2019

Hard Seltzers are going to be different

The health and wellness trends will remain in 2020, with Australian drinkers adopting new flavours and lighter versions of traditional alcoholic beverages.

Author: Alejandra Cornelio Research Analyst, Euromonitor International


In 2019 we saw the long-term declining trend in total consumption

currently driving a 200 per cent growth in the category despite

of alcoholic drinks stabilise. Trade sources agree that in addition

being relatively new and only representing a small percentage of the

to spirits-based cocktails being responsible for this, Australian

industry. There have been a few attempts to disrupt the beer market

drinkers are starting to adopt the new flavours and lighter versions

with alternatives such as hard sodas and Smirnoff Ice, however

of the traditional alcoholic beverages that they once thought of

these have all failed to do so. Hard seltzers are going to be different.

giving up as health and wellness trends settle and new ones emerge. Sources also affirm these shifts mostly come from the younger

How will hard seltzers affect other categories?

population who have shown to be drinking way less than any

Established within the beer category in some markets, alcoholic

previous generation and have also shown to be more curious and

seltzers are considered RTDs in Australia and are expected to gain

to have a higher willingness to explore and try new things. This

some market share from the beer and spirits categories, particularly

current situation creates the perfect environment for hard seltzers

gin and those meant to be mixed with lighter mixers such as tonic or

to be the most important trend coming in 2020. Hard seltzers

soda water.

have experienced a vast success in the US with a little over one billion US dollars in sales in the last year. These ‘healthy beers’ are 86 | National Liquor News

In 2019, with new gin distilleries and local gin brands continuing to emerge, gin did not see any signs of reaching a


peak. Despite the attempt of hard seltzers to bond

have plans on further acquiring any cider brands and

with a similar consumer target, the strong growth

instead they plan to focus their efforts on their craft

in premium gin is expected to keep propelling

lines and newer trends such as hard seltzers.

the bloom of this spirit. Premium gin brands have been successfully keeping up with current trends,


releasing gins with minimalistic labels and ‘pretty’

In 2020 we see refreshing, light and fizzy taking over

looking bottles. On top of this, hard seltzers are

the alcoholic drinks Australian market. As compared

slowly being added to the list of top ingredients for

to most RTDs hard seltzers truly tick all the boxes

the latest cocktails to be in scope in early 2020.

regarding the latest trends by being low in sugar and

In the case of white wine, alcoholic seltzers do

low in carbs. Australia already embraces RTD drinks

not represent a significant threat as we all know the

and thus possesses an enormous potential for this type

resurgence of spirits such as Aperol Spritz have been

of drink to flourish as compared to other markets like

the one in charge to snitch some of these white wine

South America where these have not yet taken off.

drinkers who used to put a glass of Sauvignon Blanc

Due to this, hard seltzers will experience a smooth

on top of their list and have now been captivated by

adoption very much alike to the way it happened with

a small range of bitters known to have the power to

hard kombucha. With the explosion of kombucha

embellish almost any drink as well as the still present

in the last couple of years, hard kombucha is already

obsession for local Prosecco and other pink sparkling

becoming increasingly available among major off-

wines which are meritocratic of an Instagram post.

trade distribution channels in the last year.

In 2020 we expect Australians to continue to

Similarly, 2020 expects to see the birth of small

show their love for local beer with mid-strength and

local brands which will look to follow other current

craft beers experiencing the fastest growth within

trends such as premiumisation. Lion was quick to

the entire beer category. Hard seltzers might not

introduce Quincy in a gin alike glass bottle aiming

represent an ultimatum to these classics, however

for a higher end market as compared to the US brand

the newest additions to the beer portfolios such

White Claw, currently leading the Australia seltzer

as low-alcohol beers might face a challenge as

market, only offered in cans which at the same time

hard seltzers share more than one characteristic

hit the bull’s eye in convenience trends, still present

in common with a lot of these alternative beers by

mostly among the younger demographic. But as

being low sugar, low carb as well as having opted for

new craft versions arise these will also be expected to

a similar refreshing crisp sour non-bitter taste.

appear in the traditional brown glass bottles.

Moreover, the recent success of low-alcohol beers

“Hard seltzers have experienced a vast success in the US with a little over one billion US dollars in sales in the last year.”

might be challenged further by the growing penetration of non-alcoholic beers. Trade sources have commented on this by saying that the typical Australian beer drinker is more likely to go for a non-alcoholic beer rather than a low-alcohol one as these are still trying


to figure out how many beers they can have or when to stop drinking before engaging in activities such as driving. Sources show that the most common reason why young adults drink non-alcoholicic beer is because they are the designated driver. Another category that is losing popularity is cider. After a tough year of weak sales, the cider market will only experience a tougher one with the introduction of alcoholic seltzers. We can expect to see a wider range of sugar reduced and low-carb options in ciders in 2020. Leading beverage companies do not February 2020 | 87

Independent Brewers Association

Growing the indie beer movement The Independent Brewers Association are helping broaden appreciation for Australia’s diverse range of indie beers.

Jamie Cook Chair Independent Brewers Association

3 Ravens hosted an event for Indie Beer Day

With each year that passes, the Independent Brewers Association (IBA) finds that Australians’ love of indie beer is growing. It would be hard for it not to, considering the wide reaching and integrated campaign from the IBA to build awareness of indie beer and why it matters. Chair of IBA, Jamie Cook, said their major successes in 2019 are examples of huge amounts of hard work and perseverance paying off. “Seeing the introduction of the excise changes in July which increased the rebates from $30k to $100k and removed the restriction on the use of smaller kegs was pleasing to see after years of lobbying work,” Cook said. “With the successful merger of Good

“As indie beer is adopted by a much broader drinker base it will become a much more approachable, acceptable and preferred choice when it comes to buying a beer.” Cook said: “All retailers should look to

more breweries in suburban and regional Australia, the category is quickly becoming more accessible and relatable than ever. In the last financial year alone, there were 87 new independent breweries that came online, compared to 54 the year before. But while there has been growth in the independent brewing sphere, Cook said


Beer Week and the IBA and both BrewCon

getting on board with our Trade Supporter

and the Indies taking another huge leap

Seal program so they can identify

forward, the IBA’s event program now

themselves as being savvy retailers who

restricting access to the market is

provides a strong platform for industry

are supporting the small, local and

hampering the growth of an industry

education and celebration along with the

independent brewers.”

which is having a hugely positive impact

promotion of good beer to consumers.” Meanwhile, IBA rolled out a range of resources for their members, including

Stocking independent beer is also encouraged by IBA due to the increasingly wider appeal it’s had to beer drinkers.

the industry is still being held back. “The current practices around

on the local economy,” Cook said. “The impact that these practices have on increasing the price the consumer is

labelling guidelines, a product recall guide

“As indie beer is adopted by a much

and quality fact sheets. After the successful

broader drinker base it will become a much

especially in these times of low wage

roll out of the IBA Independence Seal

more approachable, acceptable and preferred

growth in the face of living increases.”

covering around 70 per cent of Australia’s

choice when it comes to buying a beer.”

independent beer volume, they’ve also introduced a retailer version.

Gone are the days when indie beer was seen as an urban hipster product. With

paying for beer is also not a great thing

A new General Manager might help lead the charge against these challenges, but as yet, IBA are still looking for the perfect fit for the role left after the

Impacts of proposed pregnancy labels “While the IBA supports mandatory pregnancy labelling, we believe the proposed

resignation of Alexis Roitman last year. Cook said: “It is a great opportunity for

approach to design is out of step with consumption habits and trends and appears to

the right candidate to join and lead a very

impose unnecessary costs and complications on producers (especially small ones).”

strong team, and work with the Board to continue developing our industry.”

88 | National Liquor News

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


A decade of drinks

Daniel Bone, Insights Director at IRI reflects on a decade of drinks trends and offers predictions on which categories will show growth in 2020.

Over the last decade, the industry’s top dollar

What to look out for

driving category will arguably be remembered

The format seemingly everyone’s viewing in awe

most for the mainstreaming of craft beer amid

from afar is hard seltzers – a ‘better-for-you’

outstanding absolute and share growth. Off-premise

option that grew by over 40 per cent in volume

value and volume sales more than doubled in the

and value in the US off-premise in 2019. I am

last five years alone. However, single-digit growth

largely bullish about the format’s prospects in

looks set to be the ‘new normal’ in the decade ahead

this market – as IRI will detail in a forthcoming

amid the continued maturity of the segment. The

research paper in Q1 – although it will need the

challenges of brewers in sustaining just low single-

dedicated ranging and scale apparent in the US

digit gains in the US is a telling warning sign for the

market to fully realise its potential.

craft beer market locally, particularly with a two to three-year horizon.

Low and light themed IPAs in particular will be a growth theme in the coming years. And with


Short and long term, consolidation will remain

craft lagers accounting for nearly half (47 per cent)

a dominant theme both locally and globally; this

of all segment growth in 2019 (MAT To 01/12/19)

includes fewer craft breweries unable to generate

– largely due to the soaring sales velocity of the

enough scale in a slowing market, as the highest

Mountain Goat Goat Lager bub-brand – we expect

performing ‘indie brands’ are being coveted by the

to see the once maligned lager style utilised by

brewing giants (is Colonial next?).

breweries to recruit more drinkers in craft and/

ABV will increasingly come into focus with mid-

or to keep them drinking craft within a given

strength craft helping to ensure that craft remains in

occasion. Once again, lower ABV craft lagers is a

the shopper’s consideration set given the preference

more specific form of NPD that we anticipate seeing

shift towards any liquor beverage that is light in both

more activity in, which will help reinforce lagers

alcohol and calories.

as the more palatably priced and approachable

90 | National Liquor News

“We are looking at a retail liquor market that should reach $23.5-27.0bn by the time we are reflecting on the decade ahead once more in 2030.” Author: Daniel Bone Insights Director IRI


“Locally, sour craft beer’s growth contribution has been over eight times its sales contribution. In other words, it’s a style with considerable growth momentum that appears to bode well for the new decade.” flavour option versus more intense and alienating craft styles. Look out for more fruit inspired sours too akin to the popular Dogfish Head SeaQuench Ale offering in the US – a brand we flagged in our 2018 research into the five wellbeing trends shaping liquor choices. Locally, sour craft beer’s growth contribution has been over eight times its sales contribution. In other words, it’s a style with considerable growth momentum that appears to bode well for the new decade. Fruit infused flavours will continue to fuel growth in the irrepressible gin segment within glass spirits. We recently published an extensive study into gin trends and included a topline forecast that anticipates near 20 per cent unit sales growth in 2020. After all, the level of flavour diversity in this market – at least in terms of discernible sales impact – remains comparably low versus European markets. Spiced rum and tequila – with the latter showing a more pronounced sales lift in 2019 – appear to offer considerable growth potential for the years ahead, particularly as some gin fatigue eventually sets in. Ten years from now I anticipate that we will be referring to a more fragmented liquor market characterised




automated online shopping and a greater realisation of the growth potential that exists from leveraging Meanwhile,




liquor’s suitability for food pairing experiences. narratives

will gather genuine ‘marketing currency’ – both packaging and ingredient focused. An epicurean mindset among a greater proportion of everyday Australians will continue to insulate the industry from the intensity of trading pressures, particularly legislative and margin related. We are looking at a retail liquor market that should reach $23.5-27.0bn by the time we are reflecting on the decade ahead once more in 2030.

February 2020 | 91

Liquor Stores Association of Western Australia

Providing a united voice for successful independents LSA WA will continue its work to ensure that independent liquor retailers in Western Australia are not regulated out of existence.

“We are determined to ensure our industry does not

BDR will eliminate any prospect of an MUP across

get regulated out of existence. That is our focus and

Western Australia.”

we are happy to work with any other organisation,

For Spagnolo, the greatest challenge in 2020 will

association or group which shares that mindset.” That

be ensuring that WA doesn’t get hit with the harsh

is the key message from Lou Spagnolo, President

liquor retailing restrictions that are being felt in

of Liquor Stores Association of Western Australia

other states.

(LSA WA) as they continue to minimise threats to independent liquor retailers in Western Australia. And despite having a few wins chalked up on the

“We have great concerns on how the Health Lobby are seeming to have a very high level of influence on their government’s actions. Western Australia is a very


board in 2019, having successfully seen legislation

different market to other jurisdictions, and we are

passed to control the growth of liquor stores more

focused on keeping it isolated from areas of concerns

than 400sqm and being a driving force behind the

like the Northern Territory.”

rollout of a Banned Drinkers Register (BDR) in the

Last year, LSA WA announced a new

Pilbara region, Spagnolo says there is much more to

strategic partnership with the Master Grocers

be done, but it can’t be done without the continued

Association (MGA) and Spagnolo says it has

support of industry and trade.

been a “massive success”.

“We need to be the united voice that works with or fights the government for your right to trade.” LSA WA’s immediate focus in 2020 will be the launch of the BDR trial in the Pilbara, with equipment

“Now, we work together across Australia with a true independent national partner on legislation at both state and national levels. “On industrial relations alone MGA provide

being rolled out across the region this quarter. The

access to three HR lawyers, not just consultants

BDR has been a collaborative effort between LSA WA

but lawyers. In return, we assist with lobbying at

and the Australian Hotels Association of WA (AHA

a state and national level. And that’s just the tip of

WA). The trial has a two-year timeframe and it’s hoped

the iceberg. It’s a relationship that grows our two

it will lead to further discussions of a potential state-

industry bodies closer and stronger every day.

wide rollout on its success.

“We all must work towards fulfilling and

“We are confident it will have a significant

exceeding our obligations on responsible service

impact on the targeted people. Moving forward it

and continue to engage and nurture community

is hoped the BDR will reduce the need for blanket

relationships. That is where the argument will

restrictions. We anticipate the implementation of a

be won.”

92 | National Liquor News

Above image: LSA WA celebrated successful independents at its 2019 awards night

“We all must work towards fulfilling and exceeding our obligations on responsible service and continue to engage and nurture community relationships. That is where the argument will be won.” Lou Spagnolo President LSA WA

Discover New Zealand’s Most Awarded Winery



The rise of mindful drinking We can expect to see more innovation and greater demand in the ‘better for you’ space as consumers continue to strive for a healthier lifestyle in 2020.

The rising popularity of Dry January, Dry July, low-

‘good for we’ options across channels and categories.

carb beer, alcohol free spirits and hard kombucha

Consumers are increasingly seeking options that are

in Australia suggests that ‘mindful drinking’ is the

better for their own health and that of their families,

latest health-craze among Aussie consumers.

while also being better for the wider community

Australians are reducing the alcohol they

and the environment. Aside from being a strong

consume with one-in-four claiming they have done

premiumisation play, the target market for this sweet

so recently. This is more pronounced for men aged

spot is highly engaged and readily identifiable making

over 40. When exploring the reasons behind the

it an attractive proposition for marketers.

reduction in alcohol intake, 32 per cent of beer drinkers said they are opting for a healthier lifestyle. As with any category or industry, change doesn’t

Innovation that blurs category lines is a consistent trend we are seeing in the liquor market – there is

liquor manufacturers, bars and restaurants that don’t

lots of collaboration between breweries, distilleries

adapt to shifting ‘mindful drinking’ preferences, the

and winemakers currently in play. While still in its infancy in Australia, consumers

soft drinks, mocktails, low and non-alcoholic

now can find whisky brands with a hint of IPA beer,

options, kombucha and botanical tinctures all offer a

wines aged in whisky barrels and spirits brands

wealth of opportunity for on-premise establishments

venturing into the ‘ready-to-drink cocktails’ space.

to experiment with and promote to consumers. And Australia is not alone; in the UK, the no/

Looking to the US market for inspiration, there’s significant growth in the Hard Seltzer category,


low beer category has grown by £16.1 million in

which is a carbonated alcoholic beverage. Before the

the latest 12 months, attracting new buyers to this

year ends, Hard Seltzers will be worth over US$1

healthier market niche.

billion – an almost doubling in the last year. In

The rise of mindful drinking globally suggests that no-alcohol options will continue to grow as a

Australia, brands like K. Booch are looking to mirror the rise of the Hard Kombucha category globally.

consumer beverage choice during social occasions.

Ready-to-drink spirits is one category that is

Aside from the successful launch of Heineken Zero

set to take off with a proliferation of new products

in 2018, there has also been an increase in non-

and innovation aimed at meeting the evolving

alcoholic craft spirits. Global brands like Seedlip

needs of Australian drinkers. Mixing spirits and

and local entrants like Ecology & Co are providing

soft drinks has traditionally been popular, but the

consumers with more options than ever before.

next generation of ready-to-drink products is also

Manufacturers are also channeling their innovation efforts to hit the sweet spot between ‘good for me’ and 94 | National Liquor News

Senior Vice-President, Beverage Alcohol Practice (US), Nielsen

Innovation and blurred lines

mean that a revenue stream has evaporated. For

outlook will be far less bright. Near-beers, premium

Author: Danny Brager,

resonating with the more modern shopper who is on the hunt for healthier beverage choices.

Author: Marcos de Arruda Senine, Director Liquor Services (Australia), Nielsen

66% of alcohol beverage drinkers aged 21-34 said they are making an effort to reduce their overall consumption of alcohol

New Zealand Wine

New Zealand wine in record demand With the demand for New Zealand wine at an all-time high, Sauvignon Blanc is still leading the charge, but rosé and low alcohol wines are also showing growth.

“Like Australia, rosé is also continuing its

showed no sign of slowing in 2019, with total export

ascension. It is now the fourth largest New Zealand

value reaching a record $1.83 billion. Export value

wine export reaching 5.195 million litres in 2019

rose by six per cent in June year end 2019, translating

and, while a minnow compared to Sauvignon

at a retail level to more than $7 billion dollars of New

Blanc’s 231m litres, isn’t too far behind Pinot Gris

Zealand wine sold around the world annually.

(8.67m litres exported), beating Chardonnay

The UK and USA led the growth, with the USA

(5.088m litres exported) for the first time. That

continuing to be New Zealand wine’s largest market

more than doubles the 2.389m litres of 2017, and

with more than $550 million in exports and it

nearly 10 times that of 2010, when New Zealand

remains either the highest or second highest priced

exported just 0.559m litres of rosé.”

wine category in the USA, UK, Canada, and China. When it comes to growing and emerging trends, Natalie Grace, Founder of Perfectly

2019’s significant events • The International Sauvignon Blanc

Rieslingable, flags low alcohol wines and rosé,

Celebration at the end of January brought

while not forgetting the hero of New Zealand

more than 100 international wine producers,

wine, Sauvignon Blanc.

experts and key influencers to Marlborough

“Retail buyers note that moderation is one of the key trends in Australia and lower alcohol offerings

to explore the complexity of the country’s flagship variety.

are growing in popularity with customers across

• The industry celebrated 200 years of the first

all categories. Those involved in the New Zealand

vine planted – from these small beginnings

Lighter Wines programme are already benefitting

wine in New Zealand has grown to play a

from this movement,” she says.

significant role in the social and economic

“The initiative is the product of a New Zealand research and development programme led by New

wellbeing of the many grape-growing regions.

“In Australia, participants [of the Lighter Wines Programme] are selling twice as much low alcohol wine than a year ago and demand in New Zealand is expected to triple in the next five years.”

• Finally, building commenced on the Bragato

Natalie Grace

Zealand Winegrowers and the 18 New Zealand

Research Institute (BRI) Research Winery in

producers involved aim to have a 10 per cent share

Marlborough. The facility will deliver world

Founder & Consultant Perfectly Rieslingable

of the global market between 2025 and 2030. In

class research outcomes to support the

Australia, participants are selling twice as much low

quality, sustainability and growth ambitions

alcohol wine than a year ago and demand in New

of the industry and key stakeholders.

Zealand is expected to triple in the next five years. February 2020 | 95


International demand for New Zealand wine

Retail Drinks Australia

Retail Drinks looks to build on a successful 2019 After its first full year of operation, Retail Drinks Australia is aiming to build on many of the important successes that 2019 brought.

Julie Ryan CEO Retail Drinks Australia

The 2019 Retail Drinks Industry Awards

Retail Drinks Australia (Retail Drinks) was formed in late 2018, meaning that last year was its first full year of operation. But despite being so young, the association hit the ground running and achieved many important successes. Having built that solid foundation and established its credibility across both the industry and governments of all levels, Retail Drinks CEO, Julie Ryan is looking for more success in 2020. “Retail Drinks’ major focus in 2020 will be continuing its proactive consultations and collaboration with governments across all Australian states and territories on a range of policy issues affecting the industry,” Ryan told National Liquor News. “Whether it be online alcohol sales and deliveries, liquor licensing, store trading hours or alcohol advertising, Retail Drinks will seek positive changes for the industry while also promoting

What are some of the key issues for 2020?

and enhancing the ability for retailers to trade responsibly.”

Talking about the association’s focuses for 2020, Ryan added: “Further to its advocacy activities, Retail Drinks will also be focusing

Online alcohol sale and delivery regulation National Alcohol Strategy impacts on liquor licensing

policy, including advertising, availability and trading hours

on expanding its member services offering as a key priority for the

year ahead, with a specific emphasis on well-being and mental health.


“In addition to its existing member offers such as a dedicated HR Member Hotline and Business Insurance Program, Retail Drinks will be working with various industry suppliers to secure high value offers on essential business services for its members. “Retail Drinks is the only liquor retail membership body which

Addressing issues within the revised NT Liquor Regulations Banned Drinkers Register trials in WA, and the threat of increased restrictions in WA CDS amendments being considered in some states, and

the potential introduction of CDS in others Delivering meaningful assistance for small business to

navigate challenging economic trading conditions.

provides assistance both over the phone and through web based resources, but also ensures that all of its members receive an ‘in-

“This issue can be demonstrated by the example of

store’ visit from one of our membership services team who have

inconsistent CDS legislation across multiple states and territories.

extensive experience in liquor retail.

Concerningly, there are active proposals at a state and territory

Retail Drinks acts for all its members on a state and territory

government level which, if adopted, would further entrench these

basis, but also as a national association for packaged liquor

interjurisdictional inconsistencies and create additional red tape

retailers. Ryan said that the key issue for Retail Drinks to address

for liquor retailers and other businesses to navigate.

is not confined to one particular problem or policy area but

“All state and territory governments need to adopt a policymaking

rather the significant inconsistencies evident in the policymaking

approach which is both fact-based and evidence driven as well as

approaches of different states and territories.

consider a unified and consistent approach with other jurisdictions

“These inconsistencies can lead to a patchwork of policies

where practically possible. As has been shown in the past however,

across the country creating an enormous red tape and

this issue is one which can be very difficult to resolve. It is our hope

administrative burden for liquor retailers operating in multiple

that over time, issues such as CDS, online alcohol sales and RSA to

states and territories,” Ryan said.

name a few, can achieve a level of national consistency.”

96 | National Liquor News


Roy Morgan

Consumer distrust: the hidden threat to your brand Distrust can have an enormously corrosive effect on any company, but it can be difficult to identify so the Roy Morgan Risk Report has been developed to identify and put distrust on the radar of every company board.

Author: Michele Levine CEO Roy Morgan

For decades brand strategists, including those in the liquor industry, have recognised the importance consumer trust plays in purchasing decisions and brand loyalty. But new research from the Roy Morgan Research Institute has revealed an even more powerful force unrecognised and unmeasured until now: Distrust. Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says it’s crucial to get to grips with the threat distrust poses. “Trust is vital to the success of any business, but it is distrust that can cause disaster, leading to customer churn, loss of market share and, for publicly owned companies, a plummeting share price.” Distrust, it turns out, is not an uncertainty about whether to trust, or even an absence of trust. Levine describes it as something quite separate. “It’s much darker and more damaging. It has an enormously corrosive effect yet has been hiding in plain sight.”

Billions at stake

a $2.3 billion write-down in value as tens of thousands of people

The Roy Morgan Research Institute surveys around 50,000

took their business elsewhere. It’s the ultimate demonstration that

Australians each year in depth about almost everything

no brand is immune from the corrosive effect of distrust and no

imaginable, from their favourite tipple and preferred shoe store

amount of previous goodwill is enough to shield you. It can be

to their bank balance and hopes for the future. Two years ago,

managed, but first you have to know what you’re up against.”

Levine says, she and her team realised something was changing, but none of the existing measures, including their extensive trust

The glass is half full for the liquor industry

and consumer confidence surveys, could explain it.

The Roy Morgan Risk Report issued in November 2019

Identifying distrust as the issue was the breakthrough. A

measures the 190-most mentioned brands (from a total pool of


whole new research stream was developed. Levine says what it

800) across 25 industry categories. By subtracting the percentage

uncovered has surprised even the most experienced marketers

of survey respondents who distrust an industry or brand from

and corporate leaders, who thought they knew their customer

those who trust it, a Net Trust Score (NTS) or Net Distrust Score

base inside out.

(NDS) is revealed.

In fact, this ongoing measure has been titled the Roy Morgan

The best possible result is a high NTS. A low NTS indicates

Risk Report because Levine believes distrust should be on the risk

room for improvement. An NDS should be a sharp warning to

register of every company board, right alongside workplace health

management and the company board.

and safety, exchange rates and IT vulnerability. To anyone who thinks that’s an exaggeration, Levine offers

The liquor industry has a presence in two of the 25 Risk Report industry groupings: Retail and Food and Beverage. Pleasingly,

three letters: AMP. “For decades it was one of the most trusted

each enjoys an NTS in the most recent report, although there is

brands in Australia. Then came the revelations of the Financial

quite a gap between them.

Services Royal Commission and we watched as distrust skyrocketed. The result was a 70 per cent drop in share price and 98 | National Liquor News

Retail is right at the top of the tree with the highest NTS of any industry, thanks to consumers feeling significantly higher trust

Roy Morgan

than distrust towards it. By contrast, Food and Beverage came in at ninth, of the 11 industries rated positively, with only slightly


more trust than distrust. (For the record, of the 14 industries with

As well as asking Australians which brands they trust

NDS, Mining and Petroleum was the most distrusted.)

and distrust via unprompted, open-ended questions, the

However, on an individual brand level, it’s clear that liquor and

Roy Morgan Risk Monitor collects detailed, open-ended

liquor retailer brands are far from front of mind when people are

reasons for these feelings, providing both quantitative

asked, “Please list all the companies you trust and why”. While

and qualitative data. The Net Scores are calculated by

there are brands that sell liquor among the ranked list of 127 NTS

subtracting distrust responses from trust responses: % Trust

brands, all but one are supermarkets: Aldi (second most trusted

- % Distrust. To provide an accurate picture of sentiment

brand in Australia after Bunnings), IGA (15th) and Foodland

within the entire Australian consumer market, two types

(37th). The other is general retailer Costco, which sells liquor in

of surveys are undertaken regularly; the big-picture Roy

NSW, ACT and Victoria (62nd).

Morgan Risk Monitor and industry-specific Roy Morgan

Several liquor-specific retailers – BWS, First Choice Liquor and

Industry Risk surveys.

Liquorland – were nominated by a small number of respondents, but only Dan Murphy’s passed the threshold of 20-or-more unprompted mentions to make it into the ranked lists, placing 73rd on the overall

Reasons consumers trust and distrust brands

NTS brands list, and 15th of the 24 NTS brands in Retail.

The reasons Australians give for their feelings of trust towards a

In the Food & Beverage category, six brands were mentioned

brand have key themes: Quality customer service and experience;

unprompted by respondents – Bundaberg, Carlton and United

Good and helpful staff; A good returns policy; Quality products

Breweries, Coopers Brewery, Lion, Tooheys and Treasury Wine

and services; Fair prices; Never having experienced problems with

Estates – however none passed the 20-or-more threshold for

the company; and, Having a good relationship with the brand

inclusion in the ranked lists.

over time. Distrust is similarly grouped by theme: Poor customer service; Greed and focus on profits over customers; Perceptions of overpricing; High costs and unaffordable price increases; Unethical Practices; Misleading and dishonest behaviour; Lack of respect for privacy; and, Poor environmental record. It’s worth noting that while pricing matters, distrust does not necessarily increase as prices increase. It is the perception that a cost is unjust, unjustified or hidden that creates distrust. When it comes to the reasons for feelings of trust or distrust about liquor and liquor retailer brands, place of origin and authenticity feature strongly. Reasons for trust included, “Excellent product”, “Reliable”, “Always delivers quality”, “Great people, local”, “a good Aussie company”, “family business”, “very good service” and “good value for money”. Reasons for distrust included, “Selling a false image”, “Deceptive”, “Advertising is excessive” and “Sold out to overseas consortiums”. Levine says Roy Morgan will continue to measure distrust because doing so provides crucial information. “Organisations that fail to track their Net Trust Score or Net Distrust Score effectively turn a blind eye to this very real risk, making themselves vulnerable to enormous brand damage: If you can’t name it and measure it, you can’t fix it. But for the leaders who seek to understand what drives trust or distrust in their customers – and potential customers – knowledge is power.”

February 2020 | 99


“Trust is vital to the success of any business, but it is distrust that can cause disaster, leading to customer churn, loss of market share and, for publicly owned companies, a plummeting share price.”

Shopper Intelligence

Putting shoppers at the heart of your business Understanding your shoppers is the key to any successful business, and here David Shukri from Shopper Intelligence simplifies how to put your shoppers’ needs first.

Shoppers are the lifeblood of every liquor business. From the

Author: David Shukri Senior Insight Director Shopper Intelligence

Take age groups as an example. Millennials (those aged 18-34)

smallest single store operator to the biggest national chain, if you

make up an increasing proportion of liquor shoppers. Last year

don’t put them at the heart of your decision-making, chances are

this group accounted for nearly one-in-three liquor shoppers and

they won’t have you in mind when they go to buy liquor.

their basket spend and trip frequency were significantly higher

Overall, liquor stores are doing a good job of responding to shoppers’ needs and wants. Last year, 66 per cent of shoppers were satisfied with the overall experience they had in the channel. That’s a higher percentage than the year before and considerably higher than it was three years ago. Still, with competition increasing and per capita liquor consumption falling in recent years, how do you capitalise on this


positive sentiment and stave off these challenges? The key is understanding what your shoppers think, want and

than the average for the channel. But is this valuable shopper distributed evenly across all the retail banners in Australia? The answer is no. Some banners, such as Bottlemart, over-index considerably within this age group. Half of their shoppers are under 34. At the other end of the spectrum, around one-in-five Liquorland customers reports being in this younger demographic. Why does this matter? Well, aside from the extra visits they make and the extra money they spend compared to the average

do so you can make measured decisions that increase traffic and

liquor shopper, millennials attach greater importance to a wide

spend without damaging the bottom line. So, here are three ways to

array of topics, including how enjoyable their shopping experience

do that based on what shoppers have told us in the last 12 months.

is, what healthy and responsible drinking options are available to

1. Profile your shopper

them, and the choice of premium products a retailer offers. Responding to these needs is critical in order to attract and

Just as no two liquor stores are identical, no two shoppers are

retain them in the coming years. Moreover, you only really know

either. However, when you survey 24,000 shoppers every year, you

what you need to do when you get under the skin of that unique

start to see trends appearing that can help steer a whole variety of

blend of shoppers at a banner by banner level. That is when the

choices, from price and promotions to range and layout.

exciting stuff really starts to happen.

100 | National Liquor News

Shopper Intelligence

2. It’s in the DNA! grouped together in categories. Simple, right? Well, much like

Top 5 Traffic Driving Categories

Top 5 Spend Driving Categories

humans, who each have a unique genetic code, every category in

1. Cask Wine

1. Shiraz

the store has its own identity. That identity defines how shoppers

2. Shiraz

2. Red Wine over $15

approach the category, the role it plays and the impact it has

3. Pre-mix Rum

3. S parkling Wine over $15

for the retailer. Just like a problem with a human gene, when

4. Contemporary Beer

something goes wrong with a liquor category, it doesn’t play quite

5. Pre-mix Scotch

Liquor stores are made up of products and those products are

(ex. Champagne) 4. Craft Beer

the role it should, and its performance can drop. Clearly this is not

5. White Wine over $15

where you want your categories to be. Let’s consider the two ways to drive growth. You can either Confused? It all comes down to how different groups of shoppers

shoppers to buy more or pay more (increase spend). This dictates

interact with the category. In this case, people under 34 who buy

what levers you need to pull in order to maximise the opportunity

Shiraz view cheaper bottles (less than $15) very differently to their

each category offers. Of course, nothing is black and white. No

older relatives and are much more promotionally driven. At the same

category is 100 per cent traffic driver or 100 per cent spend driver,

time, they’re also more likely than the over 34s to trade up to a more

but they are a blend of both. It is this blend, together with how they

expensive bottle or buy Shiraz on impulse. This is an example of a very

compare to each other, that counts.

dynamic category and one that offers great opportunities to tailor and

Forty-five per cent of shoppers treat the average category in liquor as a traffic driver. This means they view it as the main

differentiate your offer, depending on who you want to target.

reason they went shopping, that they don’t want to run out of that

3. Drive by occasion

category, or that promotions encourage them to shop it.

Those millennial shoppers aren’t just different because of how they

The highest over-index to average comes from Cask Wine, with slightly more than half of shoppers saying it is a traffic

shop, but also because of why they shop liquor. On average, 39 per cent of liquor shoppers have a specific

driver. Conversely, only about one-in-four shoppers (the lowest

occasion in mind when they go to a store. The number drops to

proportion of all categories) say Cask Wine is a spend driver. In

fewer than a quarter of over 55s, but balloons to nearly two-thirds

other words, shoppers are relatively less likely to buy Cask Wine

of those under 34. This is a really important difference for liquor

on impulse, to try something new or different in the category, or

businesses to grasp and respond to.

to pay a little more for a better-quality product. As a result, it’s most important in a category like this to make sure you: • Engage with shoppers before they enter the store (as opposed to at shelf) • Maintain excellent shelf basics, including strong availability and range simplicity • Promote pre-store and lead on excellent value. Craft Beer on the other hand behaves quite differently. It under-

Millennials are far more likely to buy liquor with a defined social event, meal occasion, party or gift in mind. Messages that speak to those occasions, both pre-store and in-store, are especially important to capture the attention of this shopper. At the same time, nearly three-quarters of younger shoppers will consume the liquor they buy within a few hours of purchase. Among over 55s, the number is just one in four. Convenience and portability become much more important

indexes significantly as a traffic driver but ranks fourth as a spend

in a world of immediate, occasion-based consumption. Store

driver compared to all 32 liquor categories. This means you should

layout and range must be front of mind. Within this, the use

focus on:

and location of chiller space also come in to play and will vary

• Encouraging purchase in-store through eye-catching displays and theatre • Offering well-selected premium products that spur shoppers to trade-up • Inspiring and exciting customers with innovation and information about the category. A third example is Shiraz. This varietal scores highly as both a traffic and spend driver.

depending on your shopper profile and category DNA. Overall, the bar continues to rise in the liquor channel and shoppers’ expectations are rising too. There’s still plenty of room for growth, but it will only come for retailers and suppliers who have a deep understanding of who’s shopping, why they’re buying and what’s most important to them. Once you have that, you can truly start to influence and lead the liquor market of tomorrow.

February 2020 | 101


attract more shoppers (increase traffic) or you can get existing

Spirits & Cocktails Australia

A sustainable future for the Australian spirits industry After taking up the role of CEO, Greg Holland is ready to drive economic opportunities with Spirits & Cocktails Australia.

“This is a very exciting time to be involved in the spirits sector,” said Greg Holland, CEO of Spirits & Cocktails Australia. After taking up the role in November last year, Holland said he’s happy to be contributing to the Australian spirits industry at a key moment in its history. “The Australian spirits industry is currently at the stage the Australian wine

Worth fighting for “In recent years, Australia’s local distilling sector has started to build a premium reputation, with Australian-made spirits taking out prestigious awards around the world – just a couple of months ago, Four Pillars was named International

Greg Holland CEO Spirits & Cocktails Australia

local spirits across the world, becoming internationally recognised for their unique flavour profiles and products, innovative techniques and sustainability. This premium spirit trend is also a factor on home soil, as more people move to ‘drinking less but better’. Holland said that data is showing the

Gin Producer of the Year. There

drinking culture in Australia is positively

sector was at 40 years ago and, with the

are now over 200 distilleries in

changing thanks to trends like this.

right regulatory framework it’s poised

Australia – predominantly small,

to make a huge contribution to jobs,

family businesses. These businesses

frequently on a daily and weekly basis,

the rural supply chain, and tourism and

are passionate about what they

and more people are deciding not to

also emerge as a key agricultural export

do, committed to their communities

drink at all. People are drinking better

product,” Holland said.

and many of them are investing in

quality rather than higher volumes,”

Part of the regulation that is holding the industry back right now is the huge tax on spirits in Australia, the third highest spirits tax in the world. Spirits &


Cocktails Australia highlighted that it is 63 per cent higher than New Zealand’s, and

much-needed tourism and hospitality infrastructure, creating local jobs and supporting Australia’s broader tourism offer.”

“Most Australians are drinking less

he said. “We do acknowledge, however, that there are issues arising from excessive alcohol consumption and under-age drinking that need to be addressed.” What Spirits & Cocktails Australia

more than double the beer tax and four

wants to work towards is sensible and

times the cider tax.

practical regulation of the industry, in a

When this high level of tax is then

way that is beneficial to the public’s health

increased every six months, spirits producers

and safety, and stakeholders like retailers

and manufacturers face a huge barrier.

and suppliers.

“We need urgent action to fix the

The great results achieved through

unfair alcohol tax. We need a system that

their involvement during the 2019 NSW

relieves the high tax paid by drinkers,

Government inquiry into Sydney’s night-

stops the tax getting worse and attracts

time economy is one example of their work

material investment into the industry,”

in this regard, contributing to the reversal of

Holland said.

the lockout and regulations that restricted

“A failure to reform Australia’s complex alcohol tax system has long-term

the service of spirits after midnight. According to Holland, the biggest thing

implications for revenue, growth, jobs,

we can learn from the inquiry is that:

hospitality, tourism and basic fairness.”

“Over-regulation needs to be addressed

Australian distillers are creating a vibrant and premium reputation for 102 | National Liquor News

to enable the industry to flourish responsibly.”


Research, plan and execute A well-executed in-store strategy will position your business to attract loyal customers, ensure reduced out of stocks and ultimately maximise your investment. Stephen Wilson takes us step by step through the planning process of creating a compelling in-store offering.

Author: Stephen Wilson Category and Insights Manager StrikeForce


The reward for presenting shoppers with

process. Once you have a target in mind,

a compelling, well thought out product

such as sales revenue, units sold or retail

to which categories? This is where

range can be significant. Conversely an

margin it’s time to develop your roadmap.

understanding share of sales comes into

ad-hoc approach can be disastrous. Consequences can include stalled

Floor and shelf planning

What percentage of space do I allocate

its own. By understanding the percentage of expected sales by category, shelf space

or stunted growth, product duplication

Ask yourself‌ How much shelf space do

can be allocated in a planned manner.

devaluing the finite shelf space available

I have? The first step in allocating prime

What is the logical flow for the

and decreased revenue and profitability.

real estate to individual categories is

shopper decision tree? Understanding

establishing the number of shelves and

how each category is shopped allows

facings that are available.

you to apply a logical flow of categories

So where do you start? Identifying your end goal is the first step in the planning 104 | National Liquor News


start to build your category universe.

What sits on the top shelf? A great

Does share of shelf meet share of

location for smaller or regional brands,

sales? Alignment of share of shelf with

creating a focus area for explorers to locate

There are non-negotiable

share of sales will reduce the instance of

new and interesting products.

considerations when designing

out of stocks and reduce the time spent

the optimal range for any retail

replenishing shelves during peak periods.


What are the key sub categories? Doing

How many facings do I allocate for each item? This is solely dependent on the item share of category and number of

The range must provide a

your research and understanding category

compelling proposition.

dynamics allows for a tighter range and

Core products are the bedrock on

shelf allocation within categories to higher

store? Strong, highly visual displays

which the compelling proposition

velocity lines.

rotated regularly to attract interest and

is built.

How much space do I allocate the each

facings should be allocated accordingly. What do I have at the front of the

keep your offer fresh and compelling.

Apply the 80:20 rule thereby

sub-category? Similar to understanding

A dedicated area at the front of store is

putting focus on core products

which categories require more shelf

ideal for leaving a positive impression

that will draw shoppers in-store

space than others, space allocation for

on shoppers.

and increase the chance of a sale.

sub categories requires application of the

Complement your core range with

same principle.

While there is no absolute guarantee of success, a well thought and planned

items that align with prevailing

Which items have the highest sales

market trends e.g. Health and

velocity? At an even more granular level

in-store strategy will position your

wellness, ‘better for me’.

top selling items need to be allocated more

business to attract and retail to loyal

Understand your customers.

facings than slower selling lines to avoid

customers, ensure reduced out of stocks

Identification of local nuances

unnecessary and time consuming stock

and lost sales and ultimately maximise

driven by demographics should


your investment.

allow for product ranges to be

approach, complementing a well-executed

How much space do I allocate to

tailored according to shopper

these items? Facings need to be allocated

preference increasing loyalty and

based on share of sub category sales and

Research is a great first step

providing a point of difference.

expected growth.

Where should they be positioned? Items with the highest sales velocity will to match the shopper decision process

collectively form your core range and

during their in-store journey

should be given prime real estate at eye

How will they physically shop my store? According to the ‘invariant right

level on shelves in the middle of the fixture. What about new products? A dual

Identify key customer groups to begin formulating your strategy. What are the prevailing trends

driving shopper behavior? What categories, brands and items

are most heavily shopped? How much revenue does the

theory’ the majority of shoppers will walk

approach can be adopted, creating interest

average basket of goods

to their right when they enter a store. This

and excitement utilising floor displays for


area needs to allow ease of entry and is the

high profile brands supported by media

point where shoppers will get their first

and promotion to encourage trial while

impression of your offering.

allocating shelf space in close proximity to

What, if any, barriers are present to impeding customer flow? Clear,

core ranging.

What profit margin should my

business aspire to? An effective and efficient supply

chain is mandatory. Where will I source my products

uncluttered access to aisles and shelves is

Final steps

mandatory to ensure there are no physical

The final stage in the process is to

impediments for shoppers to get to their

physically position your range on shelf.

in-store destination.

What’s next? Now it’s time to get more granular and

from? What is the lead time for deliveries? How many units do I sell per week?

Where does my core range sit? Prime

position at eye level on middle shelves is

considered the ideal location for shoppers

How often do I need a delivery? What contingency plans do I have in place?

to find and shop the highest velocity lines. February 2020 | 105


Designing the optimal range

Wine Australia

Proving Australian wine is far from ordinary

Andreas Clark

Wine Australia has been working hard to build the reputation about our local wine across the globe.

CEO Wine Australia

As we head further into 2020, and into

tool. Clark described this as a tool that:

Australia produced wine, so there is a

the final year of a $50 million Australian

“Allows exporters and those interested in

significant promotion and education effort

Government investment to grow

exporting to explore potential markets

ahead,” Clark explained.

Australia’s wine exports and showcase

and gain a better understanding of

wine tourism, Wine Australia CEO

opportunities in different markets at

in the USA, retailers and distributors are

Andreas Clark has a lot to be proud of.

different price points.”

reluctant to stock Australian wine because

Throughout the past few years of this

The first of its kind for the wine sector,

“We face a chicken and the egg situation

they say there’s not enough consumer

investment, Wine Australia has delivered

it draws data from multiple sources to

interest and consumers don’t try Australian

several successful projects and programs, and

help give local winemakers information

wine because there is so little on the shelf.

these are evident in the highlights of 2019.

to reach objectives specifically relevant to

Along with targeted marketing, education and training campaigns in

their business. Another highlight was the $8 million

“We are working very hard to influence the influencers so that Australian wine is better recognised.”


key locations, the grant has allowed the

Far From Ordinary campaign: “The single

creation of a global Market Explorer

largest investment Australian wine has

on research and development that can

made in the United States market, taking

improve the current state and prospects of

100 Australian wine exhibitors to New

the industry. Right now, one of the hottest

2020 wine trend predictions

Back home, Wine Australia is focused

York, Chicago, Miami, Dallas, Los Angeles

topics in this regard is mitigating the

“The principal trend that we are

and San Francisco for a series of consumer

impacts of climate change through more

seeing is premiumisation, that is the

events, seminar and trade tastings.”

sustainable practices.

trend to move up the value chain,

The US is the largest wine market in

“Operating sustainably with respect for

often accompanied by reductions

the world and represents a significant

in consumption. It is a global trend

opportunity for Wine Australia in 2020,

particularly obvious in developed

albeit a challenging one. Building from

won’t change anything if they’re not put

western economies.

the momentum of the Far From Ordinary

into practice, which is an ongoing challenge

campaign, Wine Australia’s strategy is to

Wine Australia will continue to address.

“Another trend that is influencing

our environment is a key priority,” Clark said. But all the new ideas and hypotheses

consumption is sustainability,

grow awareness and understanding of the

Clark said: “A perennial challenge for

consumers want to be assured

diversity of Australian wine, and capitalise

us as an RD&E organisation is to translate

that wine, and other agricultural

on the 23 million case opportunity.

research into practice, we are always trying

products are being produced in a sustainable manner.”

106 | National Liquor News

“A recent survey by Wine Intelligence

to improve rates of research adoption –

found that fewer than 50 per cent of USA

without satisfactory rates of take up it is hard

wine consumers were even aware that

to demonstrate the benefits of research.”

Year in Review As we kick off 2020 we take a look back at some of the biggest off-premise stories from 2019

February 2020 | 107

Year in Review

January Queensland reveals its craft beer strategy The Queensland Government revealed details of its craft beer strategy, developed alongside the industry to support independent craft brewers in the state. The Queensland Craft Beer Strategy (QCBS) identifies nine actions within three key priorities: investing in people and agriculture; improving access to markets; and appropriate regulation and planning. Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk said: “Independent craft brewing is emerging as a fast-growing industry… Our local craft brewers have already established a reputation for award-winning quality and brewing techniques, with multiple accolades awarded to our brewers. “We are committed to partnering with this niche and progressive industry to drive ongoing growth across the state, while acknowledging that the strategy will be delivered within the framework of the Government’s policy on the responsible consumption of alcohol.”

McWilliam’s secures ‘absolute stability’ after $15.8m investment

Queensland’s share of the craft beer market has grown nine per cent in six years, and the Government hopes this will help boost that further.

The McWilliam’s Wine Group (MWG)

CUB’s eBay venture riles retailers

completed a $15.8m recapitalisation along

Carlton & United Breweries began

with strategic partners Margaret River Wine

selling direct to consumers through

Production Pty Ltd (MRWP) and Australian

eBay, as part of a ‘trial’ conducted by

agricultural fund manager Laguna Bay.

AB InBev’s global growth and innovation

With this investment, CEO David Pitt said the group would focus on short and longterm plans. “There has been significant improvement

division, ZX Ventures. Lance Eerhard, ZX Venture’s head of e-commerce Asia Pacific South said: “ZX Ventures has been selling a limited

year on year and that trajectory will continue

range of CUB products on eBay since

again through our FY19 year,” Pitt said.

November last year.

“We are really setting ourselves up strategically to go again in FY20 and beyond. So we’ll spend the next part of this

“This is a trial and ZX is continuing to assess the response from consumers.” Retailers were not happy by the move, and said it was not in the best

year defining our strategic plan and then

interests of retail trade, especially as the online prices are lower by up to

leveraging our partnership with MRWP.”

20 per cent.

MWG is a 140-year-old family run wine

One retailer said: “If you are running a trial on a level playing field then

company, the sixth largest wine group

of course you can take some analysis out of the sales. But when you are

in Australia which has endured a tough

below cost, how do you get a read on that? People have only bought from

few years, but with a more strategic and

you because you are so cheap.”

streamlined focus, there is optimism that the future is bright for McWilliam’s.

Alike to when Moët Hennessy moved into online retailing in 2014, retailers said this move will make them seriously consider their position when it comes to ranging CUB products.

108 | National Liquor News

Year in Review

February Proportion of Australians drinking declines A Roy Morgan report highlighted a gradual decline in the percentage of Australians who consume at least one type of alcoholic drink over an average four week period. The report showed that 67.9 per cent of Australians aged 18 and over had at least one drink in an average four week period, compared to

Liquor ‘the strongest performer’ for the Coles group In Coles’ first result since the Wesfarmers demerger, liquor was the strongest performer in the group.

70.1 per cent in 2013. It also showed declines for all major categories of alcoholic drinks, except for cider, which recorded growth. Over the last five years the biggest decline was for wine (down 1.3 per cent), followed by RTD (down 0.9 per cent), liqueurs (down 0.8 per cent)

Overall, the group delivered total sale revenue of $20.9bn, up 2.6 per cent on the prior corresponding period, with EBITs of $733m, down 5.8 per cent.

and beer (down 0.5 per cent). Michele Levine, Roy Morgan CEO said: “The potential reasons for this decline are likely to be as a result of switching to healthier

In the liquor group, total sales revenue was up by 0.6 per cent to $1.7bn with EBITs up $85m, an increase of seven per cent.

options, cost, social issues involved such as drink driving and alternative drug taking.”

Coles CEO Steven Cain said that the liquor group had “all metrics trending in a positive direction”. “Our work around promoting exclusive brands is paying off,” Cain said. “Average basket size continued to improve, driven by general market trends of premiumisation and a favourable mix impact from the spirits category overall. “Exclusive label brands are growing faster than non-exclusive brands with over 50 new lines launched in the half.” Online successes of Coles were also replicated in liquor with online growing at around 30 per cent.

Brad Banducci says Dan Murphy’s needs to innovate Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci said that Dan Murphy’s needed to reposition through innovation in order to keep up with rapidly changing consumer needs. The comments were made during the Woolworths results presentation for the first half of FY19, a disappointing result for Endeavour Drinks Group (EDG) with a small sales increase and a fall in earnings before interest and tax. Banducci said, “BWS has really led the charge for us here,” thanks to on-demand home delivery. The success of BWS and Jimmy Brings has begun to influence changes to the Dan Murphy’s model. “Critically important in this category is the whole topic of convenience and people wanting it now,” Banducci said. “A lot of work [in Dan Murphy’s] is not getting the traction we would like right now in sales numbers, but will be a key part of our future.” February 2020 | 109

Year in Review

March The Lion and Four Pillars teams

Lion buys 50 per cent of Four Pillars A deal was announced that saw Lion buying a 50 per cent stake in the Four Pillars business. Co-founder Stuart Gregor said the decision to sell came after being approached by a number of entities to invest in Four Pillars. Gregor said that Lion felt like the best option because “Lion are very genuine about their desire to get into craft spirits and particularly the desire to get into Australian spirits and they are a good business populated by good people”. The 50-50 partnership was attractive as it allowed the co-founders and owners to still contribute to the business. Lion’s Managing Director, James Brindley, said: “What Matt, Cam and Stu have done in creating Four Pillars in just over five years is nothing short of remarkable and we want them to keep their hands on the wheel, while we offer advice, counsel and assistance.”

Anger over Kaufland Victoria’s go-ahead

Consumers moving away from big box retailing

Master Grocers Australia (MGA) hit out

retailing’s strong run in Australia’s packaged liquor retail landscape was

at the Victorian Government’s decision to

about to change.

A research paper released in March by Morgan Stanley, said big box

grant permission for German multinational

Morgan Stanley’s retail analyst Thomas Kierath said: “We think

Kaufland to build three stores in Victoria,

that consumers are shifting away from big box retail formats as they

as well as a distribution centre and

increasingly prefer convenience and experiences that are better

headquarters in Melbourne.

cultivated in a small box environment.”

The mega stores would sell huge ranges of products, including liquor. MGA CEO Jos De Bruin said: “The State Government claims to be a friend of small

Kierath also said that significant store closures are likely over the next 12 to 18 months, with online retail and soft sales-per-sqm taking a disproportionate bite out of big box profits. The need to reposition and innovate in order to appeal to changing

businesses, today’s decision shows that they

consumer needs was being recognised by big box retailers already, as

don’t care at all what happens to these

they began to explore online, delivery and click and collect options.

hard-working enterprises. This is an anti-small business decision and a multi-million-dollar gift to a foreign multinational.” There was also concern that the move would set a precedent for industrial land in Victoria to be turned into shopping centres with subsequent impacts on the local community. “Local small businesses will continue to fight this attempt to undermine local planning rules,” De Bruin said.

110 | National Liquor News

Year in Review


The legend from Lion rides off into the sunset Doug May, Lion’s Trade Relations Director, announced his retirement. “I’m happy that I’m able to leave Lion on my own terms,” May said. “I’m going to buy a farm, have a few head of cattle and enjoy my retirement.” Working with Lion for 21 years, May proved to be popular across the industry, with many wishing him well for the future. “Doug has been selfless and tireless in his work for our great industry, for Lion, and for his customers and colleagues. I cannot thank him enough for his contribution,” said Lion’s Managing Director James Brindley. Shane Tremble from Endeavour Drinks Group said: “Doug understands that one of the great strengths of our industry is its people, he built a network of friends, colleagues and relationships that covered every sector of the drinks industry and he earned the respect of all of us.” These sentiments were echoed by many across the industry, who said May is a “living

Liquor market boost for Coles Liquor

legend in beer,” “a true gentleman of the Australian liquor industry,” and will be missed.

Coles released its third quarter figures, showing solid sales growth and detailing a strong performance by stores it has converted into the First Choice Liquor Market brand. Liquor sales revenue for the third quarter were up 4.3 per cent on the prior corresponding period, which Coles said was a result driven by

The Lion and Vanguard teams

size and transaction numbers. They

Lion acquires minority stake in Vanguard Luxury Brands

also mentioned the spirits category

Lion further cemented its entry into the growing craft spirits category, acquiring a

being the strongest performer.

minority stake in the premium spirits distributor Vanguard Luxury Brands.

improvements in the average basket

Since 2016, Coles has been converting First Choice stores into First Choice Liquor Market stores, with conversions numbering 19. In its third quarter report, Coles said: “An additional 10 conversions are scheduled to be rolled out in the

The announcement followed the 50 per cent purchase of Four Pillars, a brand distributed by Vanguard since its launch in 2013. Vanguard Founder and Managing Director James France said: “This investment means we will go even further in providing the best brands for the best bars and retailers, and for that reason we are truly at the forefront of Australia’s flourishing craft and premium spirits industry.” France continues on as Vanguard Managing Director, and was described by

fourth quarter. Converted store sales

Lion’s Managing Director James Brindley as someone who is widely recognised

grew by almost double the rate of

and respected within the spirits industry around the world.

unconverted stores, with customers

“Vanguard is a fabulous business and we at Lion will work hard to ensure we

responding positively to the renewed

support Vanguard in continued service and engagement with our customers,”

format and range on offer.”

said Brindley.

February 2020 | 111

Year in Review

May What will be Kaufland’s impact on liquor? Kaufland is owned by the German Schwarz Group, the world’s fourth largest retail conglomerate, currently operating nearly 1300 stores across Europe. Australia will be the first non-European market, with the retailer already securing store approvals faster than Costco did when it first entered the country. The Kaufland liquor model primarily stocks its own brands and occasionally international branded flagships Baileys or Corona. But due to its extreme big box format (stocking up to 60,000 SKUs compared to 25,000 of Woolworths and Coles), site availability is a major constraint. Based on European penetration, Morgan Stanley estimates Australia could have as many as 295 Kaufland stores. However, if you look at Aldi’s local history, ranging liquor in stores since 2003 and only accumulating a 3.3 per cent share of total packaged liquor in that time, Kaufland’s share of total off-premise liquor sales should be a slow burn.

Market share gains for independent retailers Roy Morgan research suggested consumers were spreading their alcohol spend further with an increased investment in independent outlets. While Woolworths still held significant ground within the alcohol retail market, the Roy Morgan Alcohol Retail Currency Report suggested that consumers were becoming

Growth and change for Endeavour Drinks Group Woolworths revealed its third quarter results, detailing continued sales growth across the Endeavour Drinks Group

more receptive to drivers such as proximity to other shops, low prices, an easily browseable range, special offers, staff knowledge and good service, found commonly with independent retailers. Commenting on the findings, Norman Morris, Industry

(EDG). However, Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci said the

Communications Director at Roy Morgan, said: “Despite

company still expected overall EBIT in FY19 would be lower

the dominance of the supermarkets, the independent

than FY18.

retailers have shown a market share gain of 3.1

Online sales were the driver of much of the growth, with the concern still surrounding innovation to keep up with demand. “The real issue in the drinks business is the consumer is changing very quickly and we need to innovate our business to keep up with their changing needs,” Banducci said. Following the results came news that EDG had appointed a new Managing Director of Dan Murphy’s, Alex Freudmann who was Director, Fresh Foods at Coles. Freudmann will report to Managing Director of EDG, Steve Donohue, who said: “Alex will be responsible for driving forward the Dan Murphy’s strategy in line with Endeavour Drinks’ broader ambition to connect everyone with a drinks experience they’ll love.”

112 | National Liquor News

percentage points (to 12.9 per cent) over the last year and are now ahead of hotel bottle shops which have fallen by 1.8 percentage points to 9.2 per cent.” The report is based on face-to-face interviews of 50,000 consumers over 12 months, 7,000 of which purchased packaged alcohol.

Year in Review

June Five wine trends you need to know In seminars at ProWein, international wine experts discussed the key trends they predicted would impact the global wine industry in coming years. Of these, five were most prominent and seemed driven by three main issues: climate change, social change and the ever-present changing nature of the industry. These trends were: wine in cans; high altitude wines; wine – all being driven both from the winemaker side and

‘A whole new world ahead’ for Coles Liquor

the consumer side.

Coles CEO Steven Cain outlined the refreshed strategy for the

Chenin Blanc and Gamay varieties; field blends; and vegan

For example, convenience and format from a consumer side drives the popularity of wine in a can, but this is then supported by the fact that some “really beautiful stuff”

business as a whole, which is aimed at restoring growth and profitability as well as creating a new era at Coles. Speaking at the first Coles Investor Day since the Wesfarmers

is being put into the cans themselves by the winemakers

demerger, Cain said the overall vision was to: “become the most

developing the category.

trusted retailer in Australia and grow long-term shareholder

What all the trends have in common are innovations on what wine is traditionally known as, whether that be format, style, blend or technique.

value” with the purpose to “sustainably feed all Australians to help them lead healthier, happier lives”. Looking to the future and how the strategy will impact the liquor business, Cain said there is a lot of change happening in Coles Liquor under the management of Cathi Scarce. These changes surrounded updates to the First Choice Liquor Market website to increase offer personalisation. Cain said this would “enable a whole new world ahead for us”. Other changes that the group outlined surrounded exclusive liquor brands and reducing promotional intensity.

Ian Atherton inducted as a Keeper of the Quaich Ian Atherton, the CEO of Spirits Platform, was inducted into the Keepers of the Quaich Scotch Whisky Society along with 45 other new members at a private ceremony held at Blair Castle. Keepers of the Quaich was established by the Scotch whisky industry to recognise the outstanding commitment of those who produce or promote whisky. Atherton, who has been in the whisky and spirits industry for more than 30 years began his career in the 1980s selling both Scotch and Australian whisky for Gilbeys before he moved across to Suntory selling Japanese whiskey. In 2016, he joined Spirits Platform as CEO, which distributes a great range of whiskies including The Macallan, Highland Park, Bruichladdich, Naked Grouse and Glenrothes. To date, just over 2700 men and women from more than 100 countries have been inducted as a Keeper of the Quaich. Together, with the select few that are subsequently distinguished as Master of the Quaich, they represent thousands of years of shared experience and knowledge.

February 2020 | 113

Year in Review


Graham Campion, Owner of the Commodore Hotel and Paul Esposito, CEO of ILG

ILG launches new Fleet Street banner Independent Liquor Group (ILG) officially launched its Fleet Street banner group, opening the flagship store at The Commodore Hotel in McMahons Point. ILG CEO Paul Esposito said the new banner would be a high-end offering targeting the premiumisation trend. He said that feedback from both suppliers and customers was already positive with people saying the store has a good feel about it, a good

ACCC will review Asahi’s CUB deal Back in July, Anheuser-Busch InBev agreed to divest Carlton & United Breweries (CUB), its Australian subsidiary, to Asahi Group Holdings, Ltd. for $16 billion.

ambience and people feel the warmth when they walk in. He added that one of the main focuses for the Fleet Street concept was around making stores comfortable and in particular, shoppable. “What we need to do today is to make sure that people come back into stores, instead of just ordering online and shopping in that way,” Esposito said. “We want to bring people in stores, and I think a concept like this invites people in.”

The deal would see Asahi become the biggest brewer in Australia and would also mean that more than 80 per cent of Australia’s beer market is owned by Japanese companies. The ACCC announced it would begin a public review on the proposed deal. CUB’s CEO, Peter Filipovic, said: “We are a great Australian business, with iconic brands, world-class breweries and great people. These have made us the market leader in Australia, and we look forward to growing the business and the beer category with Asahi.” Peter Margin, Executive Chairman,

Woolworths to combine then demerge EDG and ALH

Asahi Beverages added: “This is an

In July, Woolworths Group revealed its intention to combine Endeavour Drinks

exciting proposition for our business

Group and ALH Group into a single entity and then separate the new business

and will support our vision to be the first

through a demerger “or other value-accretive alternative”.

choice in beverages.” The ACCC’s review may see Asahi have to sell some brands for the deal to

The new business, which Woolworths said would likely be called Endeavour Group Limited, is expected to separate during the 2020 calendar year. The merger of Endeavour Drinks and ALH would create Australia’s largest

go ahead, which is what happened to

integrated drinks and hospitality business with sales of approximately $10bn

ABI when it bought SABMiller. If the deal

and EBITDA of $1bn. It would comprise over 1,500 BWS and Dan Murphy’s retail

goes ahead it would see CUB have its

drinks outlets and 327 ALH hotels. ALH retail drinks outlets currently comprise

fourth owner in eight years after SABMiller

approximately 35 per cent of Woolworths Group retail drinks sales with 86 Dan

bought Foster’s Group in 2011, and then

Murphy’s and 512 BWS stores owned by ALH at the end of March 2019.

ABI bought SABMiller in 2016.

Other businesses to be included in the merger include Pinnacle Drinks, Langton’s, Cellarmasters and an 8.7 per cent stake in ALE Property Group.

114 | National Liquor News

Year in Review

August Cider Australia says Asahi-CUB deal puts market at risk Cider Australia asked the ACCC to consider the cider category

such as Pale Ale, IPA and Sour Beers – are well established, tap

separately in its review of Asahi’s proposed bid to buy Carlton &

contracts for cider tend to cover the entire category,” Reid said.

United Breweries (CUB). After Asahi’s $16bn deal for CUB was tabled in July, the ACCC said it had been notified of the proposed transaction and would begin a public review once a submission was received. But Cider Australia President Sam Reid said the industry

“Such a significant consolidation in brand ownership is likely to further limit competition and innovation in the cider category to a far greater extent than in beer. “We encourage the ACCC to independently consider the competitive landscape for cider, including to re-consider the

body was concerned about the impact of the deal given that a

impacts of tap contracts given they can completely lock out new

combined Asahi/CUB business would control around 70 per cent

and emerging products.

of the category by volume share. “Unlike beer where different sub-segments of the category –

Liquor Barons joins LSA WA Liquor Barons announced that it had joined forces with the

“It may be time to consider prohibiting non-price incentives in tap contracts, or even getting rid of tap contracts completely.”

The lifestyle choices driving alcohol trends

Liquor Stores Association of Western Australia (LSA WA) as a

Drinks market analysis company,

gold level partner.

IWSR, released its Global

The independently owned and operated retail liquor cooperative has more than 75 stores around Western Australia. Liquor Barons General Manager, Chris O’Brien, said: “As a

Trends Report, which examines developments and identifies opportunities around the world

Western Australian independent retailer, we need an organisation

for the beer, wine, spirits and

to lobby for what’s right for our industry. We applaud the results

mixed drinks market.

that LSA WA has achieved in the last 24 months and are excited to come on board as a gold level partner.” Peter Peck, the CEO of LSA WA, said the addition of Liquor Barons reflects the association’s advocacy, purpose and ongoing commitment to keep the industry thriving. “There are industry associations who are there to offer their

The report stated that “global changes in consumer behaviour, technology, economics and even environmental stewardship are helping to drive evolution and innovation in the beverage alcohol industry”. In developed markets like Australia the report emphasised the ongoing premiumisation trend as “an attitude of ‘less but

members discounts and services. Then there are those that have your

better’ driving consumers towards crafted products – often

back, advocating to cut government red tape,” said Peck. “The LSA

with a hyper local spin”.

WA has been operating since 1952 and we’ve been doing both.”

This focus for consumers means that more niche and localised flavours are starting to gain traction “for instance, spirits made with locally foraged botanicals” the report said – a trend well established in Australia particularly within the gin category. An interesting factor for suppliers, venues and retailers to consider is a desire for education and experiences among consumers. It also said that lifestyle and ethical choices are

L-R: Peter Peck, CEO, LSA WA, Timon Andrijasevic, Liquor Barons Nedlands, Chris O’Brien, General Manager, Liquor Barons

increasingly influencing consumer choices and behaviour.

February 2020 | 115

Year in Review

September Metcash evolves and premiumises its private label range Metcash developed its liquor business and store network, which included the ongoing evolution and premiumisation of its private label range. Speaking at the Group’s Annual General Meeting, Group CEO Jeff Adams said: “We have once again made good progress with our store investments to improve the quality of the IBA network. A further 81 stores were refreshed, and

across the wine, beer and spirits categories. Sales continue to grow strongly,

CCA details management and organisational changes

particularly in the wine category, which was up 20 per cent on the prior year.

Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) revealed

The wine category now represents around 85 per cent of total private and

management and organisational changes as

exclusive label sales.

part of a two-year transition phase as the

110 cool rooms upgraded, bringing the totals to around 330 and 610 respectively. “In our private and exclusive labels initiative we now have about 80 SKUs

“While we continue to have highly competitive and challenging markets, I’m generally excited about our plans for the future. I’m also very encouraged by

group targets a return to mid-single digit earnings per share growth from 2020.

the enthusiasm and passion I have experienced from our independent retailer

In detailing the organisational changes,

and supplier partners to ensure the independent retail sector remains strong

Group Managing Director, Alison Watkins, said

and grows.”

the moves would further integrate beverage categories across each country and see

Total alcohol consumption remains at 50-year low

them managed in line with geographical

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics

alcohol and coffee portfolios join the

(ABS) showed that while total alcohol

Australian Beverages team under the

consumption in Australia remained steady,

leadership of Peter West.

there had been a rise in spirits consumption. Alcohol Beverages Australia (ABA) said that

responsibilities. The changes see the Australian-based

Further alcohol and coffee in New Zealand, Paradise Beverages in Fiji and Samoa, and

the data showed the majority of Australians

the international alcohol sales team, join the

are still enjoying alcohol responsibly and still drinking at 50-year lows.

New Zealand and Fiji businesses under the

“It’s really important that we understand the bigger picture at play

leadership of Chris Litchfield, and the coffee

here,” said ABA CEO Andrew Wilsmore. “The data still shows a long-term

portfolio in Indonesia will be part of the

decline in consumption which means the vast majority of Australians are

Indonesian business under the leadership of

enjoying alcohol responsibly and in moderation.

Kadir Gunduz.

“While the mix of what people are drinking is changing, overall, we

Due to these changes, Managing Director,

know from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare that drinking at

Shane Richardson (pictured) leaves CCA after

harmful levels and underage drinking is at record lows, and those statistics

five years with the business.

are more insightful than per capita figures. “A significant cultural shift has taken place, with the largest decline in

Watkins said these changes did not affect the portfolio range, availability or any current

figures coming from young people aged 18-24, who are drinking far less

or projected growth plans for the alcohol and

than any generation before them.”

coffee categories.

116 | National Liquor News

Year in Review

October Beer Cartel celebrates 10 year anniversary Beer Cartel celebrated 10 years by revamping its beer subscription and releasing a limited-edition

ABAC calls for more care on packaging

anniversary beer. Beer Cartel was an early pioneer in the online

The Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC)

liquor retail space and

called for more care with alcohol packaging

over the past 10 years, one

practices after the number of complaints about

of the core products has remained the monthly beer

L-R: Geoff Huens and Richard Kelsey

subscription, the oldest of its kind in the Australian market. Richard Kelsey, who is Director of Beer Cartel, said the anniversary was an opportunity to revamp the subscription model to reflect the evolution

packaging increased “noticeably”. Laying out ABAC’s quarterly report, Chair Harry Jenkins AO reminded producers that packaging that could be perceived as appealing to minors is prohibited under the Code.

of the market. “Not only have we seen that craft beer drinkers love trying a variety of

“Packaging complaints have been trending upward,” Jenkins said. “The desire of some

beer through products like our Beer Advent Calendar, but we surveyed

manufacturers to be creative is understandable, but

members who clearly told us that limited releases and variety were at the

they must have regard to wrongfully appealing to

top of their wish list, so we’ve revamped our offer accordingly,” he said.

minors. Yet again, this underscores the necessity for

“We’ve kept it as a monthly subscription, but the pack formats have changed, including a shift to all cans. We have three tiers to the beer

producers, especially the small players, to pre-vet their marketing with ABAC before going to market.”

subscription with these varying by pack size and the mix of new and limited release beers.” Alongside the subscription revamp, Beer Cartel released a special

ABAC said it would remain strongly committed to educating the alcohol industry about responsible marketing practices, highlighting that

anniversary beer in collaboration with Ekim Brewery, which also

it offered its free annual compliance training

celebrated its 10th anniversary.

webinar, which had a record number of over 300 participants joining from throughout Australia.

A big win for the independents The Oak Barrel in Sydney was named the Liquor Store of the Year for the third time at the 2019 Australian Liquor Industry Awards (ALIA). For Scott Fitzsimons, the Whisky & Spirits Educator at the Oak Barrel, as well as being both humbled and delighted by the win, he said that he is mostly just happy to see so many independent liquor stores recognised in the category. “We love them all. There’s so many great bottle stores and we don’t understand why we’ve been so lucky to win this award three times out of four nominations,” Fitzsimons said. “What I love is that there were so many independent bottle stores on that list. I grew up at Vine Wine before I came over to the Oak Barrel. It’s great to see so many independent bottle stores that are punching above their weight.” Plonk in Fyshwick and Bayswater Fine Wines in Rushcutters Bay tied as runner-up.

L-R: Paul Downie, Scott Fitzsimons and Joe Perry from the Oak Barrel

February 2020 | 117

Kollaras & Co and The Beijing ABA Company sign the deal

Year in Review

November New Board appointed at Retail Drinks Australia Retail Drinks Australia held its first where it announced changes to

Kollaras & Co signs agreement to expand into China

its Board of Directors.

Kollaras & Co signed a distribution agreement with North China’s

Annual General Meeting (AGM)

John Carmody, Managing Director of Hotel & Tourism Management, was appointed

largest wine importer which will see the company’s brands distributed in China. The partnership with The Beijing ABA Company Ltd was

as the new Chair, taking

signed at The China International Import Expo, which was held

over for retiring Chair,

in Shanghai. Kollaras had the brands that will now be available

Giuseppe Minissale.

in China on display at the Expo, which is a major initiative of

Five new appointments were made to the Board including Chris Baddock, the CEO of ALM, John Wilson, Owner of Liquor Legends Hawker and Charnwood, Richard

the Chinese government to support trade liberalisation and economic development in China. Speaking about the agreement, Kollaras & Co Managing

Kelsey, Co-founder of Beer Cartel, Scott Towers, Director of

Director, John Kollaras, said: “Today marks a new chapter for

Red Bottle, and Sharni Wise, Retail Operations Manager at

our businesses. This joint venture is a great step as we strive for

Vantage Group.

greater market penetration in North Asia. We are truly excited to

An ‘Observer Seat’ will also be occupied by the winner of the 2019 Young Liquor Retailer of the Year winner, Monique Strand from Dan Murphy’s. The new Board members replaced retiring Directors, Justin Dry from Vinomofo and Rod Pritchard from ALM. Faye Hartley from the Northern Territory and Sam Cufone

continue engaging in one of the most rapidly-moving, innovative and dynamic markets in the world.” Li Yan, General Manager of ABA added: “Our mission is to bring only the best brands to end consumers. And we sincerely look forward to a successful, long term partnership.” The signing of the Memorandum Of Understanding was

from South Australia have also retired as Directors but

witnessed by NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro, who said it is

will continue in a new capacity for Retail Drinks as State

“fantastic” to see Australian companies expanding into China.

Council chairs.

Brown-Forman names new MD for Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands Brown-Forman Corporation revealed its new Managing

skills, valuable and diverse experiences, and a difference-making

Director for Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Island (ANZPI)

approach to our critically important ANZPI business.”

as Eveline Albarracin, who commenced on 15 January 2020. With over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and consumer goods, Albarracin succeeds the retired Marc Satterthwaite. Speaking about the appointment Marshall Farrer, Brown-

Brown-Forman said Albarracin will manage and direct the organisation in ANZPI “to achieve optimum profitability and sales targets by responsibly building B-F brands within the markets”. The corporation added: “She will lead strategic projects to

Forman Senior Vice President, Global Travel Retail and

grow the business through portfolio, pricing, route-to-market,

Developed APAC, said: “Eveline’s experience in building

resource allocation, and disciplined decision making.”

brands and leading strategic projects equips her well to guide this important market. “We believe Eveline will bring an outstanding set of leadership

118 | National Liquor News

She will serve on the Global Travel Retail & Developed APAC Regional Leadership Team, providing leadership to brand building strategies and partnership engagement.

Year in Review

December Dan Murphy’s opens first small format store Dan Murphy’s has launched two new store propositions one of which is a smaller format and a first for the traditionally big box liquor retailer. The 400sqm Dan Murphy’s store opened at Elanora Heights in Sydney’s Northern Beaches. It is on the site of a former BWS store that has now been converted. Rory Jacobs, the GM Format Development at Endeavour Group explained that while the ranging would be less, it had been done in an intuitive way to ensure customers can always find what they’re looking for.

All the products ranged in the store have either achieved an online customer rating of four stars or higher, they are top sellers, or are new and trending. And all have been specially curated to suit the local customer base. Dan Murphy’s also opened a new concept large format store in Hawthorn East in Melbourne, which aims to “dial up convenience and customer experience”. “If we can dial up customer experience and still offer the lowest price guaranteed then it’s the perfect marriage.”

Federal Court approves Woolworths restructure The Federal Court approved Woolworths’ proposed restructure meaning the group will now demerge its drinks and hospitality businesses to create Endeavour Group. The approval came after more than 99.5 per cent of Woolworths shareholders voted in favour of the proposal. In a statement to the ASX Woolworths said: “Woolworths Group Limited (Woolworths Group) advises that the Federal

Aldi applies for SA liquor licences

Court today approved the Restructure Scheme to combine

Aldi applied for liquor licences for its six stores in South

Woolworths Group’s drinks and hospitality businesses to

Australia, which would make it the first supermarket to sell

create Endeavour Group.

alcohol in the state.

“Woolworths Group intends to implement the Restructure

The retailer had been unable to stock alcohol in its SA stores

Scheme on 2 February 2020, and to then implement the

since entering the local market in 2016 due to laws around the

ALH Merger to combine Endeavour Group with Bruce

sale of packaged liquor in SA, which state that a licence can’t

Mathieson Group’s interests in ALH on 4 February 2020.”

be granted for “premises ordinarily known as or advertised as a

Woolworths said that the separation will allow it to “benefit from a simplified organisational structure, a greater

supermarket, convenience store or delicatessen”. The applications for liquor licences in the Hawthorn, Adelaide

focus on its core food and everyday needs markets and

Airport, Aldinga, Victor Harbor, Newton and Blackwood stores

opportunities to continue to build out the Woolworths Group

are not packaged liquor licences though. Instead, Aldi applied

retail ecosystem”.

for a producers licence. A producers licence is “for businesses that produce their own liquor or sell wholesale liquor,” according to the SA government website. It’s usually granted to allow producers to sell from their cellar door or through their own websites. It’s believed that Aldi applied for this licence as it teams up with local breweries, wineries and distilleries to produce its range, something that has already proved successful in other states. February 2020 | 119

Wine Tasting

Standout Wines From 2019 We’ve collated some of our highest scoring and most interesting wines from the past 12 months.

The Panel ➤

D aryl Fisher, General Manager, Fisher Fine Wine A ndrew Graham, Online Communications Manager, The Wine Collective Renée Foster, Communications & Marketing Manager, Moppity Vineyards G eoff Bollom, Retailer, Fennell Bay Cellars E lizabeth Schoen, Sales Manager NSW/ACT, Samuel Smith & Son

Bird in Hand

Andrew Thomas


Sweetwater Shiraz

Region: Adelaide Hills

Region: Hunter Valley

VIN: 2018 LUC: $26.88

VIN: 2017 LUC: $25.19

Distributed by: Bird in Hand

Distributed by: Vinous (NSW/ VIC), Pure Wine Co. (QLD/SA),

“Restrained fruit, earthy, creamy texture, good balance, medium body.” – Elizabeth Schoen

Thomas Wines (Rest of Aus)

“A really good wine. Mediumbodied yet displays great length, with earth, spicy and great complexity.” – Andrew Stubbs

T om Lynar, National Sales Manager, DMG Fine Wine B ryn Lucas, Purchasing Manager – Wine & Tobacco, Heinemann Australia A ndrew Stubbs, Manager, Vine Wine

De Bortoli Melba

Saint Petri Shiraz

N igel Burton, CEO, Burton Premium Wines

Vineyard Cabernet



Region: Barossa

A my Hayes, Marketing PR Manager, Wine Australia

Region: Yarra Valley

VIN: 2016 LUC: $46.22

VIN: 2015 LUC: $99.65

C hristine Ricketts, Wine Educator, The Wine Quarter

Distributed by: Calabria

Distributed by: De Bortoli

Family Wines

“Truffles and leather aromas develop as earthy black cherry and hazelnut notes on the palate. This wine needs good company and cheese.” – Elizabeth Schoen

“Smoke, oak, nutty chocolate, blackberry and cloves. A smooth mouthfeel with firm tannins and lovely layers and finish.” – Christine Ricketts

M ark Bradstreet, Key Account Manager, Joval Wine Group A ndrew Milne, Brand Manager, SouthTrade International S abine Duval, Senior Wine Buyer, The Wine Collective mma Fogarty, Senior E Brand Manager, SouthTrade International D avid Wright, Key Account Manager, Treasury Wine Estates Michael Park, Wine Merchant, Dan Murphy’s Kingsford

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

120 | National Liquor News

Rogers and Rufus

Taylor Made Pinot

Grenache Rosé

Noir Rosé

Region: Barossa

Region: Adelaide Hills

VIN: 2018 LUC: $15.59

VIN: 2018 LUC: $18.28

Distributed by: Samuel Smith

Distributed by: Taylors Wines

& Son

“Lovely savoury nose, delicate flavours of wild strawberry. Lively and refined with a pleasant finish.” – Amy Hayes

“Very complex, crunchy, refreshing and well balanced.” – Renée Foster

Pinot Grigio

Allan Scott Estate

Comte de Noiron

Pinot Noir

Brut Vintage

Region: Marlborough

Region: Reims

DIN: 2017 LUC: $21.50

VIN: 2011 LUC: $41.53

Distributed by: Single

Distributed by: Kollaras & Co

Vineyard Sellers

“Sappy, leafy and very generous, beefy too. Has depth of flavour. A very serious wine.” – Andrew Graham

“Toasty aromas and a long finish. A powerful and enticing wine.” – Tom Lynar

La La Land Pinot Gris

Coldstream Hills Pinot Noir Chardonnay

Region: Victoria

Region: Yarra Valley

VIN: 2019 LUC: $10.54

VIN: 2014 LUC: $24.54

Distributed by: Red + White

“Being on the National Liquor News tasting panel has been a professional highlight; assessing brackets of wines while bouncing thoughts and ideas off some great industry contributors has lifted my own understanding of the trade as a whole and made me a stronger wine professional.” David Wright

Distributed by: Treasury Wine

Key Account Manager, Treasury Wine Estates


“Lovely aromas of lemon curd on toast. The palate is vibrant and long… yum.” – Tom Lynar

“Floral, honey perfumed. Concentrated big finish, marzipan, nutty, amazing.” – Daryl Fisher

Editor’s Picks ➤

Tamburlaine Reserve

Squealing Pig Pinot



Region: Hunter Valley

Region: Marlborough

VIN: 2018 LUC: $20.50

VIN: 2019 LUC: $14.73

Distributed by: Tamburlaine

Distributed by: Treasury Wine

Organic Wines


“Lovely nose of lemon and fresh cut hay. Vibrant and delicate palate with good intensity and driving acid.” – Renée Foster

“Forward, zippy acid, good mouthfeel and a lingering finish. A forward and fresh take on the style.” – Mark Bradstreet

2 019 Patritti Merchant Pinot Grigio, Adelaide Hills, LUC: $12.90 (Vinsight Wine; Wine Solutions Australia; Patritti) 2 019 Bird in Hand Pinot Rosé, Adelaide Hills, LUC: $16.56 (Bird in Hand) 2 017 Gundog Estate Marksman’s Shiraz, Canberra District, LUC: $38.32 (ALE; Gundog Estate) 2 018 Driftwood Artifacts Chardonnay, Margaret River, LUC: $18 (Fisher Fine Wines)

February 2020 | 121

Features List

Features List Beer, Cider and Seltzer


Retailing focus


Contemporary Australian Beer

Cognac & Brandy

World Whisky Day

Mother’s Day

Pinot Nior

Independent & Mainstream Craft


Organic, Biodynamic & Vegan Wines

Winter Reds

Cabernet Sauvignon

Beer Talks (see package)

Retailing Aperitivo Winter

No and Lowalcohol

Hunter Valley Wine Report


Imported & International Beers

Spirit Talks (see package)

Retail Banner Groups

North American Whiskey

Premium Mixers


Photo shoot



January/ February

Booking: Friday 6 Dec Creative: Friday 20 Dec


Booking: Friday 7 Feb Creative: Friday 14 Feb

Western Australia

New Release Beers


Booking: Friday 13 Mar Creative: Friday 20 Mar

Wine Talks (see package)


Booking: Friday 10 Apr Creative: Friday 17 Apr

Barossa Report McLaren Vale Report


Booking: Friday 8 May Creative: Friday 15 May

Wine Tasting Review 2020 Annual Leaders Forum


Booking: Friday 12 June Creative: Friday 19 June

Coonawarra Wine Report

New Release Beers

Rhone Valley Styles (Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah) (Italian Style Reds) (Sangiovese, Barbera, Nero d’Avola, Primitivo, Montepulciano


Booking: Friday 10 July Creative: Friday 17 July

The Loire Valley Report


Wines of the Loire Valley

Alcoholic Seltzer

Rum & Spiced Rum

Father’s Day Retailing


Booking: Friday 7 Aug Creative: Friday 14 Aug

The Prosecco Report

Craft & Mainstream Cider


Low Carb & Gluten Free Beer

Premium Gin

Wine in Can

RTDs October

Booking: Friday 11 Sept Creative: Friday 18 Sept

Sparkling & Champagne


Sparkling, Prosecco & Champagne

Asian Beer


Booking: Friday 9 Oct Creative: Friday 16 Oct

New Zealand Wine Report



Summer Beer & Cider Retailing

Whisk(e)y - Scotch & Irish

Christmas Occasions


Booking: Friday 6 Nov Creative: Friday 13 Nov

Rosé Report

Australia Day


Beer Talks (see package)


What’s Hot to Stock this Summer

122 | National Liquor News

Day of the Dead Retailing Tequila & Mezcal

Retailing Aperitivo Summer

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