National Liquor News February 2024

Page 1


vol. 43 no. 1 - February 2024


*Circana MarketEdge Australia Liquor Weighted, MAT To 01/10/23. By Volume. **Circana MarketEdge Australia Liquor Weighted, MAT To 01/10/23. By Value.

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2024 ED























2024 ED























Editor’s note

Editor’s note


Welcome to the 2024 Leaders Forum edition

A new addition to the 2024 Leaders Forum is

of National Liquor News, your go-to source for

the launch of our new Trade Buyers Guide, which

the latest trends, insights, and innovations in

will be published across National Liquor News and

Australia’s dynamic retail liquor industry.

our sister titles, Bars and Clubs, and The Shout. This

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The Leaders Forum is always one of the most

will include a series of tastings throughout the year,

fun editions to put together, as it gives us the

kicking off with Provence Rosé, which was held in

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revisit all the key developments that have shaped

series will serve as a manual for those within the

the retail liquor landscape in Australia over the past

liquor industry, to keep you on the cutting edge of

Senior Journalist: Molly Nicholas

12 months. From shifting consumer preferences to

all the latest drinks trends.

Journalist: Caoimhe HanrahanLawrence

the impact of the global pandemic on sales and

A huge thank you to all of the incredible thought

distribution, we delve into the trends and insights

leaders who were involved with putting together

that we continue to navigate in our evolving market.

the 2024 Leaders Forum, and to the amazing team

We anticipate that the industry will continue

at Food & Beverage Media that helped to make it

to undergo transformation in the year ahead, and

the best issue yet.

as consumer expectations evolve and technology

Final thanks go to you, our readers – you are

plays an increasingly integral role in operations, it’s

the beating heart of this industry, and who we do

essential for businesses to stay ahead of the curve.

all of this for.

To help with this, we feature the thoughts of leaders

Here’s to 2024! Cheers,

this means for their future and another big year for


the industry ahead. This is complemented by some of the top data, research, and analysis organisations

Deb Jackson, Managing Editor

our nation has to offer, who give the inside scoop

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on what this all could mean to you.

Top Reads 124 Trade Buyers Guide: Provence Rosé

88 Australia’s evolving retail liquor industry

92 Craft beer: the shakeout we had to have?

10 | National Liquor News

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Contents February 2024

News & Predictions 14 News: The latest liquor industry news for retailers around Australia 18 Marketplace: Brand news and promotions 24 Predictions: Industry leaders predict trends for 2024 112 Year in Review: Key stories of 2023 124 Trade Buyers Guide: Provence Rosé

Retail, Wholesale & Suppliers

Research, Insights & Associations


Endeavour Group


Feels Botanical




Good Drinks Australia


Hill-Smith Family Estates


Independent Liquor Group


Independent Liquor Retailers





Cider Australia

Liquor Barons




Liquor Legends




Liquor Marketing Group




Lyre’s Spirit Co



Growth Scope

Never Never Distilling Co



Norelle Goldring

Nip of Courage


94 Independent Brewers

Parafield Airport Liquor Store


Activate Group

79 Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code 82 Brewers Association of Australia





Paramount Liquor


Australian Liquor Marketers


Pernod Ricard Australia




Porters Lansvale





New Zealand Winegrowers

Proof Drinks


Campari Australia



Retail Drinks Australia

Red Bottle


Carlton & United Breweries



Roy Morgan

Regal Rogue


Coles Liquor



Shopper Intelligence

Thirroul Cellars





Spirits & Cocktails Australia

Thirsty Camel Victoria


D’amore Cellars




Top Shelf International


De Bortoli Wines


Treasury Premium Brands


Wine Australia


Drinks HQ


William Grant & Sons

12 | National Liquor News

95 Liquor Stores Association of Western Australia

Image supplied by the Provence Wine Council




News The latest liquor industry

For retailers around the country

E-commerce to outperform overall market in 2024 Research from the IWSR forecasts that while the alcohol e-commerce market’s growth will slow over the next five years, it will continue to outpace the growth of total beverage alcohol (TBA). The global alcohol e-commerce channel is expected to be worth US$40bn by 2027, representing a 2022-27 value CAGR of 4.5 per cent, compared to the expected two per cent CAGR of TBA. The findings in the IWSR E-commerce Strategic Study 2023 forecast to 4.5 per cent. Previously, the share figure had risen from 2.1 per cent in

New partnership to champion Australian spirits

2018 to 3.7 per cent in 2021.

Regal Rogue and Feels Botanical have announced a

that overall e-commerce value share of TBA will stabilise at around four

In 2022, there was a slight correction in e-commerce value (minus

new strategic partnership with Cape Byron Distillery,

two per cent) as many shoppers returned to the on-premise and

which will now take on the sales and distribution of

brick-and-mortar stores. While the percentage of alcohol buyers using

the brands in the Australian market.

e-commerce has declined, the frequency of those who do shop online has increased. E-commerce users have two key purchasing habits, and retailers should be conscious of value-seeking behaviours, as well as the prominence of pre-purchase research.

The new partnership will champion Australian spirits and will also offer services, products and brands that resonate with changing consumer habits in Australia. Eddie Brook, CEO of Cape Byron Distillery, is enthusiastic about the deal. “Regal Rogue and Feels Botanical not only share our values, but also enhance our offerings with an all-Australian drinks menu that is versatile, unique, and of the highest quality,” he said. The partnership kicked off in early January and now means the entire Regal Rogue and Feels Botanical ranges will be available through the Cape Byron sales team and all good wholesalers. The trio of businesses said the partnership represents a significant milestone in the Australian liquor industry, bringing together three brands that are deeply rooted in quality, sustainability, and the Australian spirit. Regal Rogue and Feels Botanical are currently available through Paramount, ALM connect or direct through Cape Byron Distillery. Contact your local Cape Byron Distillery Representative for more details.

14 | National Liquor News


Metcash appoints new CEO of Liquor

retail businesses. Wallbridge has

Metcash has appointed Kylie Wallbridge as CEO of its Liquor

also held positions with major liquor

pillar, which includes Australian Liquor Marketers (ALM) and

businesses across Africa, Asia and

Independent Brands Australia (IBA), following the resignation of

Australia, including 13 years spent

Chris Baddock in 2023 due to health reasons.

with Heineken and seven with Lion.

Taking over from Acting Liquor CEO John Barakat in March of

Metcash Group CEO, Doug Jones, commented on

this year, Wallbridge has a long association with the Australian

Wallbridge’s appointment: “I have no doubt Kylie will be a

and global liquor industries, with her commercial, brand and

great asset to the Liquor pillar and Metcash more broadly. We

marketing experience stretching back more than 25 years.

warmly welcome her to Metcash. I would also like to sincerely

As Diageo’s current Managing Director in the United Kingdom, and previously in Japan, Wallbridge has been responsible for global rare spirits, private client, wine and Scottish tourism, and

thank John for acting in the role following the retirement of Chris last October.” Wallbridge will enter the role on 1 March.

Industry opposes blanket restrictions in Western Australia Broome and Derby are set to receive blanket liquor purchase limits, shortly after legislation expanding the Banned Drinkers Register (BDR) was passed by the Western Australian government. WA Liquor Licensing Director Lanie Chopping has proposed a daily liquor purchase limit in Broome and Derby, restricting the sale of liquor to the hours between 12pm and 7pm, and prohibiting the sale of liquor in Derby on Sundays and Mondays. Michael Waters, Retail Drinks Australia, CEO, says: “We believe that taking a targeted approach towards problematic

Closing the Loopholes changes begin

alcohol consumption and practices such as sly grogging are

The Labor Government’s Closing the Loopholes laws passed

more effective than blanket measures such as restrictions in

Parliament in December, with most of the changes starting on 15

store trading hours, which punish the majority of residents who

December 2023 and others gradually coming in through to 2025.

drink responsibly.” Peter Peck, Liquor Stores Association of WA (LSA WA), CEO,

Among the areas already seeing changes are rules for labour hire workers, discrimination protections for employees experiencing family

says: “The police have added somewhere around 400 to 500

and domestic violence, small business redundancy rules, workplace

people to the BDR already, so the legislation is working. Why

delegates’ rights, right of entry rules, and rules for compulsory

the Director of Liquor Licensing has opted to go down the old,

conciliation conferences in protected action ballot matters.

unsuccessful approach of blanket restrictions and not give the BDR the chance to show results is beyond us.”

From 30 December 2023 new rules were introduced for employee authorised deductions and from 1 January 2024, superannuation is an entitlement under the National Employment standards. The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) said that under the new laws, the intentional underpayments of wages will be criminalised, although those changes won’t start before 1 January 2025. FWO also reminded business owners that new rules apply to the use of fixed term contracts made on or after 6 December 2023, including the requirement for employers to give every employee engaged under a new fixed term contract a copy of the Fixed Term Contract Information Statement. Additionally, most remaining agreements made before 2010 (known as zombie agreements) automatically terminated on 7 December 2023. February 2024 | 15


Photography by Christopher Pearce

Hairydog joins forces with Barrel & Batch Australian online alcohol retailer Hairydog has merged with specialist whisky site Barrel & Batch, relaunching under the Barrel & Batch name. Ryan Agar, Head of E-Commerce at Hairydog Group, which includes the newly-merged business and BoozeBud, says: “We’ve long felt at Hairydog that our product collection – and our customer base – is a little more sophisticated than the name Hairydog would suggest, and we’ve been working on a rebrand for some time. “Barrel & Batch will be wine, premium spirits, and whiskydriven but with an exceptional range of over 3,000 carefully selected drinks sourced by our experts from across Australia and overseas, including gin, tequila and rum.” Ray Daniel, Founder of Barrel & Batch, remains with the business as Spirits Specialist and will continue to source exclusive whisky and host virtual tastings and events. He says: “Barrel & Batch customers can expect the same impressive whisky picks as we’ve always done, including old and rare, single cask and exclusive barrel releases, with the additional benefit of being able to access a comprehensive range of premium alcohol across all categories at one

SoHi Spirits opens boutique bottle shop

online store.” New and existing customers will have access to more

SoHi Spirits is offering Bowral locals and visitors to the NSW

benefits following the merger, including a soon to launch

Southern Highlands a unique shopping experience with the

loyalty and rewards program, first-to-market access and

opening of a boutique bottle shop.

exclusive products, and tips, guides, and discussions to help

The bottle shop is SoHi’s first retail store and showcases the produce of the Southern Highlands distillery. Alex Doughty, Founder of SoHi and a Bowral local, shared his excitement about the opening of the shop. “We think the best shops are an experience, and our small, luxe space is certainly that. From the global research we’ve done, and from what our customers are already saying, we think we’ve just opened the world’s most beautiful bottle shop,” he said. The full SoHi spirit portfolio is available for tasting and purchasing at the new bottle shop, including the distillery’s signature gin and vodka ranges. Also available is SoHi’s SoGood range, comprising a Negroni, cacao liqueur and vermouth, its new bottled Martinis, and jars of Martini olives. Customers who purchase the bottled martinis can return empty bottles for a refill discount. Unused returned bottles are sent to the nearby Small Impact Studio, which turns the bottles into glassware like vases, bowls and mixing glasses. 16 | National Liquor News

customers get the most out of the offering.


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Marketplace Brand news and promotions Pacific Drifter is making spiced rum for the Queensland climate A new Australian-made spiced rum from the Sunshine State, Pacific Drifter, has hit the Australian market, with the distillery team aiming to make an all-season rum that matched the sunny Queensland environment. Sitting at 37 per cent ABV and a retail price of $60, the rum distilled and then infused with cinnamon pods, Madagascan

Absolut celebrates individuality with limited-edition release

vanilla, and citrus peel.

As a leading brand of premium vodka, Absolut is celebrating

is crafted from locally sourced Queensland molasses that are

After hitting the market in 2023, Pacific Drifter has already

the diversity of cocktails and drawing consumer attention to

won the Spiced Rum/Cane Spirit Trophy at the 2023 Australian

individuality with the release of its 2023 limited-edition bottle,

Rum Awards.

Absolut Mosaik, driven by a brand-new campaign, The World of

Chris Illman, Pacific Drifter Head of Sales & Marketing, spoke about the success of the rum: “We are absolutely thrilled for

Absolut Cocktails: Born to Mix. Designed in collaboration with singer and actor Olly Alexander,

Pacific Drifter to receive such an esteemed trophy in its inaugural

and available through independent retailers across the country,

year of production.

Absolut Mosaik is a representation of inclusivity and diversity. With

“This award is a testament to our unwavering commitment to

limited availability, the bottle brings the creative new campaign to

crafting a product that embodies the essence of Queensland’s

life through fluted glass and a mosaic-themed label, making it a

sugarcane fields while pioneering sustainability practices. Winning

collectors’ item.

this award amidst established industry giants is an honour beyond measure and a testament to the dedication of our team.” Pacific Drifter also has a strong commitment to sustainability,

Narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Rami Malek, The World of Absolut Cocktails: Born to Mix personifies muchloved cocktails through dynamic characteristics and engaging

with initiatives such as creating label stock from sugar cane

personalities, driving curiosity in consumers and showcasing the

waste and sourcing molasses locally. Both sugar cane pulp

versatility of Absolut.

and molasses are by-products of the sugar-making process, so

In a celebration of what makes people unique, The World

utilising these products in the production of Pacific Drifter rum

of Absolut Cocktails: Born to Mix includes the Cosmopolitan, a

reduces waste throughout the supply chain.

tastemaker with a flair for art, the Espresso Martini, an attention-

Distributor: Direct

grabbing trendsetter, and Lemonade, cool and classic, but loves to have fun, and more. Charl Bassil, Global VP Marketing – Absolut at The Absolut Company, said: “We believe that when diverse people come together, incredible things can happen. This thirst for mixing – that is how we see things on a human and societal level, and it’s a direct extension of the versatility of our product. “This campaign brings our values to life through the personification of cocktails, a fun and fabulous world where everyone and anyone is invited. We believe that this is an idea that is universal because, after all, we are all born to mix.” Distributor: Pernod Ricard

18 | National Liquor News


The new all-Australian agave spirit, Act of Treason Several years in the making, Act of Treason, the all-Australian agave spirit developed in Queensland with a pioneering new era of agave plant is finally available. Grown and developed by Top Shelf International, the inaugural Act of Treason First Harvest Blanco is made using agave from a farm and distillery in the Whitsundays, making it True Blue Aussie Agave. Speaking about the launch, Top Shelf International CEO Trent Fraser said: “Act of Treason symbolises the pioneering spirit of a project that will create a new region of agave spirit. The Dry Tropics of north Queensland are the ideal place for that to occur. “Like many other producers, we feel there is an opportunity for agave to be shared with the world and for others to put their distinctive imprint on a category that continues to surge in popularity in Australia and overseas. “Act of Treason has joined the new global era of agave. We’re approaching this as an opportunity to create something new and expand the horizons of a category that has been geographically limited for centuries. In many ways it’s no different to the evolution wine underwent three decades ago. “If some feel that we’re being treasonous, then so be it. The greater crime would be not doing it all.” In the lead up to the launch, the trial spirit was awarded a Gold Medal

Bardstown Bourbon launches in Australia

and Trophy for Alternative Spirit of the Year at the 2023 Australian

Bardstown Bourbon brands and Green River Whiskey

Distilled Spirit Awards.

were launched across Australia by Iconic Beverages

Distributor: Top Shelf International

in December.

And the spirit has already attracted the attention of spirits judges.

Founded in 2014, Bardstown Bourbon Company is already a top 10 US distillery by volume and was recently crowned winner of 2023’s IWSC Worldwide Whiskey Producer of the Year. Bardstown Bourbon Company COO, Herb Heneman, said the launch in Australia has followed discussions over the past year with the Iconic team. “Australia is a vital market to penetrate in our path to becoming a global brand. While ready-to-drink whiskey drinks have historically dominated this market, Australian consumers are really starting to appreciate the quality and authenticity of Bourbon like ours.” Originally founded in 1885, The Green River Distilling Company was resurrected in 2014 and is distilled and bottled on the same grounds as it was well over a century ago. With multi-award-winning products, Green River is now one of the largest independent Bourbon distilleries in the US. Distributor: Iconic Beverages February 2024 | 19


De Bortoli Wines celebrates ancient soils with latest release De Bortoli Wines is paying homage to the depth and beauty of the Heathcote region of Victoria with the release of its latest wine, Ancient Soils. Honouring the rich history of winemaking in the region and its ancient soils, the wine is crafted from Iberian grape varieties Tempranillo and Touriga, which are known for their ability to thrive in heat, grown at the Heathcote Ridge and Rathjen vineyards. The region is well known for its red Cambrian soil, a result of the gradual decomposition of Cambrian volcanic basalt more than five centuries ago. Due to its history and complexity, the rust-coloured soil imparts unique characteristics to the grapes grown here. The wine, which is deep red in hue with a purple vibrance, is described as having “supple, pluminfused textures and integrated tannins harmonized with notes

Ukiyo Spirits unveils Tokyo Dry Gin Now available in Australia is a new small-batch classic dry gin crafted by Ukiyo Spirits to celebrate the tastes and aromas of Japan.

of dark fruits, spice and violets”. De Bortoli Wines describes Ancient Soils

Tokyo Dry Gin uses high-quality Japanese ingredients and five native

as “an adventure where

Japanese botanicals, yuzu peel, mikan peel, sakura flower, sakura leaf and

you become an integral

sansho pepper, complemented by six traditional botanicals including juniper,

part of an age-old

pepper, coriander, angelica root, lemon peel, cardamom, and rosemary.

narrative. With each sip,

Distilled in Chiba, east of Tokyo, with locally grown native rice in

forge a connection with

traditional copper pot stills, the result is a high-quality spirit, available in

the land’s rich heritage,

three expressions, Ukiyo Tokyo Dry Gin, Ukiyo Blossom Gin and Uikyo Yuzu.

the art of winemaking,

Ali Pickering, Chief Marketing Officer at Drinksology Kirker Greer, which

and the quintessence of

owns Ukiyo Spirits, said: “These carefully-chosen ingredients combine to

the Heathcote region.”

express the diverse terroir and tastes of Japan – resulting in an elegant and


delicately aromatic classic dry gin offering warm and well-balanced citrus

De Bortoli Wines

and spice notes, with a smooth finish. “Tokyo Dry Gin is beautifully presented in Ukiyo’s iconic two-colour graduated bottle, a world-first design offering a stylish and uniquely Japanese aesthetic that reflects Ukiyo’s home by mirroring the mountains and oceans of Japan.” Distributor: Drinksology Kirker Greer 20 | National Liquor News


A new trademarked style of Australian rum Husk Rum has officially launched its Signature ACR, 12 years since the Messenger family laid down the first barrel of Australian cane juice rum. Releasing a new style of Australian rum, Signature ACR is the first rum to bear the Australian Cultivated Rum (ACR) mark, a trademark registered by Husk. With a vision to define where and how this particular style of rum can be made, the ACR mark identifies rums that use natural flavours derived from Australian cane varieties. In particular, ACR certified rums are seasonal and can only be produced from freshly crushed cane juice between July and November in a recognised Australian Cane Growing Region, without added sugar or flavour. Head Distiller Quentin Brival spoke about the decision to trademark the new style: “As juice rum is a new style in the Australian landscape, we wanted to create a set of defining rules to give consumers confidence and clarity about what exactly they were buying. “We’re on an evolving journey, inspired by the approach of the rum producers of my homeland Martinique and humble in the knowledge that the Australian craft rum industry is comparably very young. The ACR mark is a starting point and sets a standard that at Husk will hold ourselves to.” Distributor: Direct, ALM or Paramount

Benriach The Sixteen makes its return Benriach’s iconic expression, Benriach The Sixteen, has returned to Australia with a renewed recipe crafted by Master Blender Dr Rachel Barrie and her team. The Sixteen has been missing from Benriach’s portfolio since 2016 and now the gap between Benraich The Twelve and The Twenty One is closed with this whisky that uses a range of casks from around the world. Speaking about the whisky Dr Barrie said: “The return of Benriach The Sixteen is a very special moment for the distillery as it is one of our most treasured expressions. “Our signature Speyside style blossoms at 10 years old, finding depth and richer layers of orchard fruit character as it turns 16. Our core flavour components of fruit, malt and oak become more concentrated, enriched with age at 16 years old, bringing layers of stone fruit, smooth creamy malt, wild honey and nutty oak spice.” Initially available through The Whisky Club and bottled at 43 per cent ABV, Benriach The Sixteen is now available nationwide for RRP $165. Distributor: Brown-Forman

22 | National Liquor News


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Industry leaders predict 2024 trends Some of the key trends expected to drive growth in the liquor retail space in the year ahead, as identified in the National Liquor News 2024 Leaders Forum.

Spirits & RTDs

“For 2024, we will see Australian distilleries moving away from the premiumisation trend towards better value ranges that still speak to local provenance and quality. Archie Rose has led the way this year with great success, and I’ll think we’ll see others trying to follow.” – Andrew McKay, Red Bottle “As is the case with a lot of consumer products – it’s not just about the flavour, it’s not just the prices, but what’s behind it. Australian craft spirit has the ability to do things in a way that actually captures a story with genuine authenticity, and that’s meaningful for a customer, if you have an interesting story and you have some providence around the product.”

“In times of economic uncertainty consumers tend to default to large, trusted

– Paul McLeay, Australian Distillers Association

brands like Jack Daniel’s, so I would expect category leaders

“There is a strong movement among retail consumers to support

to fare well in 2024. Equally

local businesses and products. By exclusively promoting

aligned to increased consumer

Australian spirits, we have tapped into this trend, attracting

experimentation, we are

customers who prioritise supporting local producers and

seeing the growing importance

contributing to the growth of the domestic spirits industry.”

of new and exciting flavours,

– Kathleen Davies, Nip of Courage

now one of the key purchase drivers for RTD shoppers,

“We have seen a shift in the

so I anticipate there will be

market towards white RTDs, in

continued RTD innovation and

a kind of fast-fashion behaviour.

flavour development from

While recognising that there

all the major players in the

are some really loyal dark RTD

Australian market throughout

consumers, and the Bourbon

2024.” – Eveline Albarracin, Brown-Forman

category remains the biggest RTD category, we’re also looking to capitalise on white RTD as

with flavour extensions and new brands attracting and keeping younger shoppers engaged in the category. Bucking the trend are RTDs of higher ABV, however, pack format and size will continue to play a role in

an extended footprint with a

this sub-category to ensure

relatively better for you portfolio.”

affordability.” – John Barakat,

– Simon Durrant, Campari Australia 24 | National Liquor News

“Light RTD innovation will continue to drive the category

Australian Liquor Marketers


“Elevated drinking experiences that ignite the senses through format or flavour will continue as a core trend. Cocktails will drive spirit premiumisation and we can anticipate the continued growth in whisky as a versatile drink of choice for a new and more diverse audience. It is an exciting time to see consumers develop broader spirit repertoires and drive growth across multiple categories for our customers.” – Jonathan Sully, William Grant & Sons “I think in 2024, we’re actually going to be seeing

“There has been an increased consumer preference for vodka-based, citrus flavoured RTD beverages. If a new or existing brand is looking to quickly succeed, a core range revolving around these attributes may be the best not-sosecret recipe. However, it’s never that simple. The brands driving RTD have complemented this recipe with zest,

some pretty exciting Australian whiskies coming

vibrancy, and familiarity across all

into the market, both in flavour profiles and in

elements of their marketing mix. Flavour

styles, and in volumes too, I think that’s probably

playfulness and discernible branding

going to be the biggest thing we’ll see this year.”

have been the key within RTD; however,

– Paul McLeay,

category density may reach a tipping

Australian Distillers Association

point in 2024.” – Will Granter, Circana

“Cocktails at home will continue to flourish, and I’d expect to see the Paloma become more relevant as a way to consume tequila. Gin will likely stabilise, and classic G&T pairings will perform well, while consumers explore their G&T via flavours of tonic. [We will see] continued demand for refreshing, sophisticated flavours in cocktails, and the spritz will grow and grow as consumers explore with different base alcohols and different flavours of mixers.” – Andy Gaunt, Fever-Tree

“In Australia, the RTD category is ever-changing, and the trends tend to move at considerable speed in comparison to other liquor categories, making it difficult to respond with the speed and flexibility required. The RTD category in

“In 2023, we observed a growing demand for sustainable, health-conscious products, and a preference for quality over quantity. The super-premium spirits segment also saw robust performance. Looking ahead, we anticipate a continued focus on sustainability, brand transparency, and a rising interest in heritage and craft spirits.” – Blake Vanderfield-Kramer, Feels Botanical

Australia is already a very competitive and crowded marketplace so moving into 2024, differentiation via innovation will remain critical in order to win.” – Kevin Mapson, Pernod Ricard Pacific

“Off the back of strong interest and experimentation throughout Covid, consumer interest in cocktails will continue to be a key growth trend in 2024. Tequila has the potential to become the new gin, driven by the widespread interest in the Margarita cocktail and the growth that we see overseas, which continues to drive Australian trends.” – Eveline Albarracin, Brown-Forman

February 2024 | 25


Beer, cider, & wine

“We are expecting consumers to keep seeking out Australian-made craft cider with growth in this segment “While inflationary pressures are in effect, the beer category is trending in the right direction. Beer resegmentation in our business

pushing up the category average. Flavoured ciders will continue to test the boundaries, and some will become more mainstream.” – Warwick Billings, Cider Australia

will take advantage of this as ‘easy drinking’ will dominate share of segment.” – John Carmody, Liquor Legends

“It seems like everyone is talking value, but we feel value means different things to different people. The beer industry is resilient. I think over the next few years there’s an opportunity to provide our consumers with a rewarding premium experience at a fair price.” – John Hoedemaker, “Given the pressures on household spending, we

Good Drinks Australia

expect to see consumers place even more importance “A focus on sustainability, digitalisation and longer-term premiumisation trends will continue into 2024. Challenged by a long-term decline in wine consumption in most markets globally, premiumisation will remain a structural shift long-term. Alternative packaging formats targeting various drinking occasions and sustainability advantages will continue to be a key

on value-for-money in their purchasing decisions. Regardless of the style of beer, consumers will want to buy with the confidence that they will receive a great tasting and reliable product.” – Michael Shearer, Coopers Brewery

driver for innovation, while channel specific and exclusive product offers will remain important to the trade.” – Karl Martin, Hill-Smith Family Estates “We’re expecting that wine drinkers will continue to take a ‘less but better’ approach to their wine consumption in 2024, opting to purchase less frequently however when they do shop, it’s for wine that is more premium or offers functional benefits, such as a lower ABV.” – Kevin Mapson, Pernod Ricard Pacific

“Lighter in alcohol wines of key varietals give consumers more choice and allow consumers to continue being part of social occasions with friends and family,

“A focus on sustainability, digitalisation and

while still enjoying the same aroma,

longer-term premiumisation trends will continue

taste and complex character of their

into 2024. Challenged by a long-term decline

full-strength wine counterparts. The popularity in this category has only just begun so we expect to see more brands launching and offerings growing within this space.” – Peter Neilson, Treasury Premium Brands 26 | National Liquor News

in wine consumption in most markets globally, premiumisation will remain a structural shift longterm. Alternative packaging formats targeting various drinking occasions and sustainability advantages will continue to be a key driver for innovation, while channel specific and exclusive product offers will remain important to the trade.” – Karl Martin, Hill-Smith Family Estates


“In wine, the ongoing conversations about climate change and eco-sustainability will see increasing growth for locally grown warmer-climate Mediterranean varietals. We’re seeing more and more local winemakers turn particularly to Italian and Spanish varietals that are not only well suited to growing sustainably in Australia’s hot, dry conditions but that are also lighter and fresher than our more traditional varietals, and incredibly food-friendly – playing into the growing popularity of social occasion-based drinking and ‘drink-now’ buying habits.” – Andrew McKay, Red Bottle

“Casual social occasions are becoming more important to “Premiumisation, provenance

consumers and as such they will look towards sessionable

and sustainability are the key

alcohol options, like light and refreshing styles of wine

drivers that New Zealand wine

such as Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio, Rose and Pinot Noir,

will be delivering on in the year

as well as formats that appeal to casual consumption

ahead. Exploration of style and

settings such as small formats (e.g. canned wine). We

sub-regionality of Sauvignon

also know that consumers are wanting to make easier

Blanc, along with more

decisions around food occasions at home, so there is the

awareness of the lesser planted

opportunity for greater collaboration between retailers

varieties in New Zealand.’ – Catherine Wansink, New Zealand Winegrowers

and brands when it comes to suggesting wine pairings.” – Kevin Mapson, Pernod Ricard Pacific

“Beer is already putting it’s hand up to lead

“In 2024, we expect sparkling wines to maintain their popularity. As consumers increasingly seek unique and distinctive experiences, we are expecting their interest in wine cocktails to rise. It’s also essential to consider economic factors, particularly its potential impact on the spending behaviour among younger demographics. Notably, sustainability will remain a pivotal criterion in consumers’ decision-making processes. This sets the stage for a year characterised by diversity, innovation, and adaptability in the wine market.” – Darren De Bortoli, De Bortoli Wines “Consumers are leaning towards quality over quantity, with demand for variety and higher quality increasing. The premium and craft beer segments are forecast to continue outperforming other types of beer due to rising consumer demand for quality and variety.” – David Smith, Lion

liquor growth in 2024. Plausible growth among brands (including Great Northern, Hahn Super Dry and James Squire) playing off the trends seen in RTD prompt beer to be in the perfect place to further cement itself as the leading liquor category. The growing presence of midstrength, low calorie and new flavour options in a mature category is truly encouraging.” – Will Granter, Circana

“De-alcoholised ciders, as opposed to lightly fermented, are beginning to appear in Australia and it will be interesting to see how these perform against their beer and wine contemporaries. Australian producers are entering this space carefully and seeking out advice from technical experts on how to retain the flavour and texture that customers expect.” – Warwick Billings, Cider Australia February 2024 | 27


General “We’re seeing a once-in-a-generation consumer

behaviour shift, where younger consumers haven’t been recruited by either beer or wine categories. Instead, these younger consumers are now moving directly from sweet soft drinks to sweet alcoholic drinks, often branded with a soft drink brand that’s familiar to them. Consumers entering the alcohol market are bypassing beer and wine for more approachable, sweeter flavoured alcoholic beverages.” – Chris O’Brien, Liquor Barons “We’ve seen consumers seeking value from more mainstream brands in the $40 price range, which we think is a trend to be

“For us, local beers and spirits were really big, but we also have to mention the growth in non-alc. Non-alc beer was massive in 2023 and I believe the non-alc market will continue to grow in all categories in 2024.” – Rory O’Carroll, Thirroul Cellars

“Sustainability has become an imperative. The modern consumer’s environmental consciousness is driving changes across the industry, emphasising the need for sustainable sourcing, eco-friendly packaging, and energy-efficient practices. Innovation in packaging is another trend we’re closely monitoring. Creative and sustainable packaging solutions are becoming increasingly important for standing out on the shelves and for reducing environmental impact.” – Anthony Abdallah, Independent Liquor Retailers

mindful of for the upcoming year.” – Nathan Rowe, Paramount Liquor

“The home premise will continue into 2024 as customers try to curb spending and cocktail culture becomes more mainstream.” – Michael Courtney, Coles Liquor

“I believe people will continue to be adventurous and promiscuous in their drink choices, it’s like they’re on a constant journey of discovery. New gins, tequilas, some new Italian grape varietals and maybe some unconventional

“It’s already there in most markets, but dynamic data tools to help direct a consumer to the point of purchase for a craft brand [will be a key trend], and even better access to brands from mobile with quicker affordable delivery options either on e-commerce to level the playing field for all and ensure the consumer has choice at their fingertips.” – Mark Ward, Regal Rogue

28 | National Liquor News

cask offerings – people are becoming more and more eclectic in their selections. So, staying ahead of these trends, being flexible, and maintaining a focus on customer satisfaction will be crucial for success in the coming year.” – Paul Heilman, Drinks HQ

“We feel that consumers will continue to look for value and quality into 2024 due to the economic conditions and that this will be seen in the value offered both on- and off-trade.” – Drew Doty, Proof Drinks Australia

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“Low and zero alcohol content beverages will continue to surge as the shift away from alcohol intensifies. Emphasis on the ingredients and benefits from the same will also play a significant role in new product development as health continues to be a consumer focus.” – Paul Esposito, Independent Liquor Group “The digital store has become a requirement for all retailers. One-in-four shoppers are undertaking a digital search pre-

“The role of premiumisation will continue to

store. Digital store is no longer only about e-commerce

exist. There are people who are still looking for

transactions, but a shopfront for your store for both current

products that deliver a different experience and

and prospective customers to browse before buying in-store or

are prepared to pay for it. Our role is to provide

online.” – Gavin Saunders, Liquor Marketing Group

portfolio solutions that provide the

“There was a greater drive for value – and quality in that value – across the spirits industry. The industry wasn’t immune to the cost-of-living pressures affecting

consumer choice.” – Danny Celoni, Carlton & United Breweries

almost all sectors. We see that continuing and so a core part of the mission statement across all our brands is to create world-class Australian-made-andgrown spirits that are accessible and compete with any international counterpart. As awareness of and exposure to Australian spirits grows among drinkers, Top Shelf is exceptionally well-positioned the meet those consumer expectations.” – Trent Fraser, Top Shelf International

“Zero alcohol products, and wines under 10 per cent ABV, were popular over the festive season as customers increasingly make mindful consumption choices. The options in this category get better and better each year, and customers are responding well. Recent data shows about nine per cent of our retail customers have bought a near-zero/no-alcohol product in the past 12 months.” – Steve Donohue, Endeavour Group

“The Covid-19 pandemic has had a long-lasting and wide-reaching impact in both the kinds of products people are consuming and the way in which they are consuming them. The way people shop has also changed. A higher percentage of consumers are making their purchases online as companies invested in their digital solutions to reach more customers while we were in lockdown.” – David Smith, Lion “Diversification in pack architecture becomes essential to cater to varying consumer needs. Recognising

“With health being a strong global motivator into uptake of the category,

and accommodating

2024 will see more no- and low-alcohol brands focusing on health

different preferences, whether

benefits. Lower calorie, lower sugar RTD options will continue to drive

in terms of packaging sizes

growth within the category. A lot of brands will move away from the simple

or price points, will be a key

spirit and mixer, such as the G&T, and explore more sophisticated cocktail offerings like Margaritas and Mojitos that will drive trial and uptake of the category.” – Paul Gloster, Lyre’s

30 | National Liquor News

strategy for success.” – Adrian Moelands, Thirsty Camel

The biggest wholesaler to independent retailers and on premise customers in Australia Total liquor retail customer base of

Strengthening our partnerships through E-commerce – enabling shoppers to browse, shop and compare


Loyalty Program – shopper loyalty program across Cellarbrations and

locally owned stores*

The Bottle-O and soon to launch IGA Liquor and Porters

ALM Connect – giving retailers and venues access to a supplier’s full portfolio

*As at Oct 2023

One Stop Shop – online portal, with a single source of truth for all retailer and customer internal communications and updates

Instore Refurbs – refreshing your store with the latest cool room and fit out solutions

Promotional Programs – creating growth and value for retailers and on premise customers

Owned and exclusive portfolio – driving higher margin and

On-premise customer base of

9000 venues

differentiation for retailers and venues




Suppliers, Retail & Wholesale Leaders from all corners of the Australian liquor industry share their thoughts and experiences with our evolving market environment, highlighting key opportunities for success in the year ahead.

32 | National Liquor News


Aldi grows customer base with range and value Following a year of growth in 2023, Aldi will continue to look to its existing customer base to grow its liquor arm throughout 2024.

Paul Handley Buying Director – Beer, Cider, Spirits & RTD Aldi

Aldi has experienced yet another successful year, according to Paul Handley, Aldi Buying Director for Beer, Cider, Spirits and RTDs,


with growth coming from both new and existing customers. “Customers switching some or all of their spend to Aldi from other retailers accounted for 73 per cent of growth, while existing Aldi shoppers increasing their spend at Aldi accounted for 25 per cent of growth,” Handley said. Additionally, Aldi was recognised by Roy Morgan and Canstar Blue for its high customer satisfaction, which has been reflected in high customer numbers. “For the last three consecutive quarters we have seen both customer numbers, and number of visits by those customers to our stores, grow as a result,” says Handley, who attributes this customer satisfaction to Aldi’s

Aldi goes green Aldi achieved several sustainability milestones in 2023, including becoming the first Australian supermarket to transition to 100 per cent renewable energy and being

Handley, who flagged lower-thanexpected growth in the non-alcoholic, cider, and seltzer categories, explained the importance of correctly identifying when a category is mainstream enough to become part of the limited Aldi range.

focus on high quality but affordable products.

named Finders Green Supermarket

“We will continue to use both the

“We continue to have a single-minded

of the Year in 2023. These steps will

quarterly seasonal program and our special

continue into 2024.

buys program to innovate and feature key

focus on ensuring that customers can get the best value for money for their shop by working with our supplier partners to continue to deliver exceptional quality and

“Aldi has committed to reducing plastic packaging by 25 per cent

products, particularly where they address an opportunity that may not be covered by

and confirmed that 100 per cent

our small, yet tightly curated, core range,”

value in the market – including a compelling

of packaging of any Aldi branded

he said.

range of excellent quality exclusive brand

products will be reusable, recyclable,

Ultimately, Aldi is looking to its existing

products,” he said.

or compostable and committed to

customer base as the biggest opportunity

sending zero waste to landfill by

for future growth.

With the current economic pressures on both retailers and consumers, Aldi has had

2025,” Handley said.

to implement new strategies to continue delivering value to customers.

“I see the main driver of growth for Aldi will be in converting our millions of existing

every segment of our business, including

customers to do more and more of their

“With inflation on non-discretionary

significant investment in new IT systems

liquor shopping with Aldi by continuing to

goods the highest it’s been in 30 years, there

across the business, to ensure we could

offer a small, tightly curated range of great

was a challenge to ensure we could continue

continue to offer a range of great value

value, great quality core range products in

to offer great products at great value prices.

products within each major liquor segment,”

the convenient one-stop-shop format that

We focused on strategic initiatives across

Handley said.

we offer,” Handley said.

February 2024 | 33

Australian Liquor Marketers

ALM shapes its future

With consumer behaviours continuing to evolve, ALM is using its data to gather and analyse shopper behaviour for insights and trends.

John Barakat Acting CEO Australian Liquor Marketers

Last year was a period of change and growth for Australian Liquor Marketers (ALM), as acting CEO John Barakat told National Liquor News. Despite wider economic uncertainty, ALM’s half-year results to December 2023 showed a 2.4 per cent increase in liquor sales, with total sales reaching $2.5 billion. In a post-Covid and value conscious


world, shoppers are continuing to shop local, and with at home consumption has increased interest in value categories such as cask wine, or large format beer in mainstream and mid-strength. “In a challenging market we continued to see strong performance, with growth in sales to retail customers more than offsetting the decline in sales to on-premise customers,” he said.

Rewarding loyalty Amid the growing trend of personalisation, loyalty programs are of key importance to ALM and IBA,

this strategy seeks to better understand shopper behaviours to assist members in their growth plans and drive good retailing. “By leveraging data and insights

and they are looking to add Porters

through basket scan, loyalty, e-commerce,

and IGA Liquor to the loyalty offering.

strong brand health, and new platforms,

One major change over 2023 was

As well as enabling personalisation,

we have a focus of generating consistent

the resignation of former CEO Chris

data gathered through loyalty will

and sustainable growth for our members,

Baddock, who stepped down from the

inform analyses of shopper behaviours

attracting shoppers through their doors and

role for health reasons.

and purchase trends.

online, as well as richer conversations with

“Chris is a fantastic leader and led

“We know personalisation will only

our supplier partners,” Barakat said.

from the front in championing successful

become more important in coming

Additionally, this strategy has a two-

independents. However, I’m pleased to share

years. Customers are more willing

speed approach, providing opportunities for

Kylie Wallbridge, our newly appointed Liquor

to share their data with a retailer

retailers who wish to further the growth of

CEO, will be officially starting in March 2024.

if it results in discounts on their

their stores.

Kylie has already had a hugely successful career

purchases or a better understanding

and is a proven business leader with a strong

of them as a shopper,” Barakat said.

passion for retail brands and partnerships – we

“We will reward our most disciplined retailers to raise the level of execution in-store, drive speed to market with

are very much looking forward to her joining

and coolroom upgrades, loyalty programs,

innovation and more, while maintaining

the team,” Barakat said.

our owned and exclusive portfolio, shopper

current programs for those retailers who

value programs as well as growing our on-

are not ready or capable of taking that

premise share,” he said.

next step. We really want to challenge

Over the course of 2023, there were several upgrades across the ALM network, as Barakat outlines.

A major focus for Independent Brands

and reward our best retailers for stepping

“We have invested in our ALM warehouse

Australia (IBA) and ALM is its Network of

up their game and challenge the pack to

efficiencies and retail network through store

the Future strategy. Announced in 2023,

become fitter,” Barakat said.

34 | National Liquor News

BrightSide continues to find hidden gems

Following another year of a risk averse talent pool, BrightSide is providing targeted recruitment across a growing range of roles, say Directors Amber King and Sue Lauritz.

While 2023 was characterised by economic

Amber King and Sue Lauritz Directors BrightSide

BrightSide Executive Search, with a new hire

The importance of flexible work

taking the current team to six nationally. The

BrightSide advises employers

rising cost-of-living pressures did affect

to ensure that they are

the recruitment market, but BrightSide

providing the flexibility

Directors Amber King and Sue Lauritz are

that today’s employees are

optimistic about the year ahead.


uncertainty, this was a dynamic year for

“We noticed that there was a slowing

“Working from home is still the

of recruitment activity as people tightened

number one asked question

their purse strings. Fortunately, this

when talking to candidates.

didn’t last long and although the market

Don’t lose talent, new or

is highly competitive, many of our clients

existing, on this basis. Be as

saw increased sales activity leading into

flexible as possible. It’s proven that the hybrid model works.”

Christmas and are mostly feeling positive about 2024,” said Lauritz.

L-R: Amber King and Sue Lauritz

BrightSide has also expanded its service offering, now fulfilling roles in finance,

required to pick up the slack,” Lauritz said.

HR and operations alongside the sales and

Coming into 2024, BrightSide identified the

marketing recruitment the company has

rising cost of goods, changing consumer behaviour

become known for. Additionally, BrightSide

and industry consolidation as potential challenges.

now provides psychometric testing and HR

“This may impact on decisions to hire and could

Consulting services.

delay recruitment activity,” King said.

When managing a flexible work environment, BrightSide emphasises the importance of maintaining motivation among employees. By focusing on team collaboration and identifying what motivates their staff, employers can make the best out of a hybrid workplace.

“Members of our team have completed

In terms of employment trends, there continues

the master course for the Reiss Motivation

to be a high demand for sales staff who are customer

“People that are trusted and

Psychometric Tool and are now qualified

facing and also in digital and e-commerce roles.

empowered to do their job

assessors enabling us to offer inhouse solutions to our clients,” King said.

“There’s still a strong demand for talent across

will deliver for you,” said King.

insights, analytics, digital, social, and general

BrightSide is the only

The candidate market continues to be

e-commerce related roles. With the growth and

dedicated drinks specialist

risk averse, and King and Lauritz explain

profitability of the direct-to-consumer channel,

agency in the country, they

how this will affect recruitment.

these people are in constant demand, and we’ve

have been connecting the

“In today’s climate, don’t waste your

been able to source people from outside of the

time, money or people resources on trying

industry while we build this capability across

to recruit yourself. It can set you back by

drinks, which is a great outcome,” King continued.

months if you don’t find the right person,

Additionally, employees are seeking flexibility

meaning you could have an internal vacancy

and attractive salaries. BrightSide advises employers

for a significant period. This of course

to focus on career progression opportunities to

puts extra pressure on staff who are often

retain talent in 2024.

drinks industry for well over a decade. If you are looking for talent, they are the best in the business and have the resources to deliver the talent you need in a timeframe you want.

February 2024 | 35





Brown-Forman set to deliver bold and authentic value The leading spirits company is poised for another strong year as it continues to invest in its people and culture alongside sustainable category growth.

Despite the challenges of last year’s

Eveline Albarracin Vice President and Managing Director Brown-Forman ANZPI IMENAT

economic landscape, the people behind

On trend this year

Brown-Forman’s Australian operations were

Albarracin has tipped three major trends in the

able to come together to deliver another

spirit market in 2024:

strong year of results for the company in

• Tequila has the potential to become the new gin, driven by the widespread interest in

2023, according to Eveline Albarracin,

margarita cocktails and the growth that we

Vice President and Managing Director of

see overseas.

Brown-Forman ANZPI IMENAT.

• In times of economic uncertainty consumers

“We have a saying at Brown-Forman:

tend to default to large, trusted brands like Jack

‘Nothing better in the market’, and it’s

Daniel’s, so I would expect category leaders to

testament to this and our strong founding

fare well.

values that our people show up every day to

• We are seeing the growing importance of

make a difference, which I’m pleased to say

new and exciting flavours, so I anticipate

is working,” Albarracin said.

there will be continued RTD innovation and

In 2023, that culture helped Brown-

flavour developments.

Forman Australia to be recognised for the second consecutive year with a ‘Great Place

consumer trends has meant there were

Investing in our people, building a world-

to Work’ accreditation.

also many other bright spots in the

renowned culture, and building sustainable

“There is also plenty to celebrate

widespread portfolio throughout 2023. For

category growth while supporting all of our

across the Brown-Forman portfolio, with

example, rising interest around cocktails,

key customer partners,” Albarracin said.

Jack Daniel’s maintaining its position as

especially margaritas, caused great success

As cost-of-living pressures stay ever-

Australia’s favourite spirits trademark

for El Jimador, one of the market leading

present in consumer minds, Albarracin

and the introduction of Gin Mare and

tequilas in Australia. Meanwhile, consumer

said the importance of brands delivering

Diplomático Rum into the family,

demand remained high for quality and

‘value’ has never been higher, and this is

broadening our offering and growth

flavour forward RTDs, allowing the Jack

what Brown-Forman will endeavour to do

opportunities in the super-premium

Daniel’s RTD range to deliver continued

in 2024 to battle economic headwinds.

segment,” Albarracin added.

growth for Brown-Forman partners.

One strong performing segment of 2023

“Value is not necessarily about being the cheapest, it’s more than that. It’s about

was super premium whisky. Albarracin

Consistent value into 2024

enhancing the consumer experience, being

noted key stars such as Jack Daniel’s

Going into this year, Albarracin said the

available at the right moments and occasions

Bonded, which saw double-digit growth

immediate focus for Brown-Forman is not

and doing that in bold and authentic ways,”

since its launch, leading more consumers

a fleeting one.

she said.

to experiment and trade up within the Jack

“Our focus is to ‘think and act for the

“Across the Brown-Forman portfolio

Daniel’s brand; and The Woodford Reserve,

long term’ – it’s the benefit of being a family

we continue to focus on building authentic

which has remained a “real crowd favorite”,

run and majority family-owned business

and seamless connections with consumers,

driving record performance in the off-

that we have the opportunity to do this and

leveraging insights and data to ensure we

premise during gifting occasions.

it’s why in 2024 our strategy will remain

are present at the right times and places to

broadly consistent with the last few years.

drive sustainable growth for our brands.”

Brown-Forman’s ability to cater to 36 | National Liquor News

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Campari Australia


Campari Australia delivers biggest year yet Following a record-breaking year of sales in 2023, brand development and growth will be the priority for Campari Australia this year.

Simon Durrant Managing Director Campari Australia,

In 2023, Campari Australia enjoyed a year of enormous positives. Still basking in the post-Covid glow, Managing Director Simon Durrant says the company has experienced its biggest year ever in terms of sales performance. “The real highlight of 2023 for us was Aperol in a post-pandemic world, with consumers back into retail and experiencing Aperol again. We saw rapid uptake, and we’re looking forward to continuing to build on this momentum through our summer program. “Wild Turkey had a strong year thanks to the continued support from all our customers despite some previous supply issues and we’ll continue to build on this in 2024 through our

Turkey initiative called Generations, which

they can make an Aperol Spritz or a classic

successful music platform. We’re also excited

features all three of the Russell family for

margarita at home. This trend will continue

to be riding the wave of tequila through our

the first time, producing a limited batch.”

throughout 2024.”

core tequila brand Espolon.”

As the Australian Open official partner

Looking back at 2023, Durrant reflected

for the next four years, Durrant believes

on two major releases for Campari

Aperol is looking at its biggest year yet, and

Australia, Howler Head Bourbon Whiskey,

agave spirits will share the spotlight.

Sustainability also remains key to Campari’s future. “We’ve done some important work at our Derrimut facility to reduce our energy and

which has found success among the UFC

“Tequila is establishing itself as more

water usage by more than 15 per cent, our

community, and the Wild Turkey Master’s

than just shot culture, moving into sipping

solar electricity installation is underway, and

Keep premium range.

and premium tequilas. We’ll be building

our recent recycling initiatives have shaved

on our existing portfolio of Espolon with

our waste to landfill by over 25 per cent.

Future focus

Montelobos and Ancho Reyes and there

These are all important measures to ensure

Brand building and heritage remain a key

may be more work that we do in tequila.”

we continue to reduce our carbon footprint,”

focus across Campari Australia’s portfolio

Durrant says the growth of Skyy Vodka

this year, setting out to attract consumer

will continue through premium packaging,

Having successfully re-engaged

attention through engaging activations that

and Campari Australia will soon announce

customers in 2023, Durrant hopes to keep

help customers stay ahead.

says Durrant.

new ways of innovating in the RTD space.

pace with retail partners in the year ahead.

Maintaining the momentum around Wild

Beyond brand development, Durrant says

“A real thank you for your support and

Turkey, Durrant told National Liquor News

Campari Australia will capitalise on the rising

recognition in 2023, it means a lot to us

that investment has been allocated to cement

popularity of the at-home cocktail culture.

after the challenges that we faced. We look

the Music 101 campaign and to build on the

“The great thing coming out of the

forward to partnering with all retailers and

brand’s authenticity through a special release.

pandemic was the demystification of

building greater relationships and greater

“In 2024, we’ve got a very special Wild

cocktails, with consumers realising that

collaborations into 2024.”

38 | National Liquor News

Carlton & United Breweries

Product development and innovation was a key focus for Carlton & United Breweries and the broader Asahi Beverages business in 2023, but the real highlight was strengthened customer relationships.


Innovation drives customer satisfaction for CUB Danny Celoni CEO Carlton & United Breweries

After another strong year for the

to create differentiated initiatives that deliver

organisation, Danny Celoni, CEO of

bespoke solutions for CUB’s customers and for

Carlton & United Beverages (CUB), spoke

consumers in a meaningful way.

to National Liquor News about the highlights

“The alternative is there’s a risk we throw

he was especially proud of.

so much innovation into the industry

“We put a major focus on customers,

that it causes complexity and confusion

understanding their strategies, their major

for the consumer, which means it doesn’t

initiatives, and how we can add value in

have the incremental impact we set out to

a way that really resonates for them. As a

achieve. Our focus is to drive seamless and

result, our partnerships and relationships

incremental innovation.

have strengthened and deepened, and

“In innovation, we extend our focus

it’s been a critical lever in being really

beyond just products. We aim to generate

interconnected with our customers.

additional opportunities throughout the

“We made a distinct and focused effort as

year, moving beyond one-week promotions

an organisation to be orientated around our

to explore innovative approaches to drive

customers and consumers and put them at

performance of these great Australian iconic

footfall. This involves creating unique events

the centre of everything we do. We’re really

brands. These brands have fundamentally

tailored to diverse customer segments,

clear that to differentiate ourselves in the

responded to the investment and we’re seeing

making it a personalised experience for both

marketplace, we need to deliver initiatives

them really turnaround.”

the organisation and their shoppers.”

frequency and driving new penetration in

Category innovation

A circular economy

a responsible manner.”

From a category view, although we’ve

In 2024 and beyond, sustainability remains

that are growing categories, driving

From a growth perspective, Celoni spoke

seen a degree of slowdown on a consumer

a priority for Asahi Beverages and CUB.

about CUB’s investment in innovation, and

spending level, premiumisation still plays a

Along with the goals of achieving 100 per

its importance as a lever for the industry and

critical role according to Celoni.

cent renewably sourced electricity by 2025

the categories the business operates in. He

“We’ve just launched Balter Cerveza,

and the transition to recyclable, reusable

also highlights a heightened effort in getting

which has responded really well within the

or compostable primary packaging by

beer back into growth.

category as we’ve seen strong repeat purchases.

2025, Celoni spoke proudly of Asahi

“Our focus has been bringing truly

Premiumisation’s role will continue to exist,

Beverage’s partnership with VicReturn, a

differentiated innovations to market that

and it will be an area we will continue to focus

huge milestone in driving sustainability in

would drive incrementality by bringing new

on and invest in because it’s important to give

beverage packaging. in Australia.

users in or creating new occasions,” he says.

consumers choice, especially those who are

“Asahi Beverages has just been appointed,

Speaking about investment, Celoni made

prepared to pay for a different experience or

along with CCEP and Lion, to be the Scheme

higher-quality product.”

Coordinator for Victoria’s new Container

it clear that focusing on core brands is nonnegotiable, highlighting brands such as

Celoni acknowledges to drive growth and

Deposit Scheme (CDS). Our work on the

Carlton Draught, Great Northern and VB.

momentum, differentiation will be critical for

CDS will help create a real circular economy

He says: “We’re really happy with the

the organisation. He says there is a real appetite

and is a major focus for us.”

February 2024 | 39

Coles Liquor

Value drives success for Coles Liquor

Delivering the best value for customers has led to positive results for Coles Liquor, according to Chief Executive, Michael Courtney.

Michael Courtney Chief Executive Coles Liquor

As Coles Liquor focused on its vision to be a simpler, more accessible, locally relevant drinks specialist, the retailer saw strong


headline sales growth in 2023, with revenue up 2.7 per cent in the second half of FY23. Michael Courtney, Coles Liquor Chief Executive, says a big focus for Coles Liquor in 2023 was expanding its own product line and renewing the operations of stores nationwide. “We launched more than 250 exclusive liquor brand products and won 511 awards for our exclusive liquor products last financial year, including Abbey Vale Shiraz,

Sustainability matters In 2023, sustainability was of great importance, both to customers and to Coles Liquor as an organisation.

which won Gold at Royal Sydney, Royal

“We’re seeing a more conscious consumer who is concerned with their

Perth and Royal Hobart, and Tinnie’s Pale

environmental footprint and we’re working hard to be more sustainable and lower

Ale, which was awarded World’s Best in its

our emissions,” says Courtney.

category at the World Beer Awards.

“Solar panels are currently being installed on many of our stores thanks to our landmark

“I’m proud to say we renewed a total of 236 Liquorland, First Choice Liquor

agreement with Origin that will see panels added to the roofs of 100 sites across Coles Group over the next three years.”

Market and Vintage Cellars stores nationwide last financial year, including

BBQ and beer promotion and gave away

as an extensive range and expert advice.”

our 500th black and white Liquorland

$10, $20 and $30 Coles gift cards when

With community support playing

store in Queensland.”

customers purchased a case of Carlton Dry.

an important role at Coles Liquor, safe

“We continued to support our

alcohol consumption remains a priority

Putting customers and community first

local communities with initiatives like Liquorland’s Love Your Land campaign,

“We partnered with not-for-profit

Under mounting cost-of-living pressures,

which raised more than $160,000 for Clean

DrinkWise to introduce new signage

and with a refreshed Coles Group strategy,

Up Australia and will provide thousands of

in all our stores, which aims to provide

2023 demonstrated the importance

clean up kits to volunteers.

customers with a simple and discreet

for the organisation.

of delivering choice and value to

“Our loyalty programs Flybuys and VC

way to access support services if they or

customers, and maintaining support of

Club played an even more important role

someone they know needs help managing

local communities.

last year and will continue to do so into

their alcohol consumption.

“We’ve really had to understand exactly what our customers are looking for and provide an offer that meets their specific needs,” added Courtney. “Over the footy finals, we launched a 40 | National Liquor News

2024 when the offering will become more sophisticated and personalised.

“We understand the role we play in promoting the responsible consumption

“In 2024, we’re looking forward to

of alcohol and we want to make sure that

continuing to provide our customers with

our customers know there is support

great value across all three banners, as well

available and it’s okay to ask for help.”


Coopers leans into local

Michael Shearer, General Manager, says Coopers’ local credentials are a key point of difference in an exciting year for the brand.

In a challenging period for the entire beer

Michael Shearer General Manager Coopers

welcome solid performance with several

As cost-of-living pressures cause

bright spots. General Manager, Michael

consumers to seek out greater value for their spend, Shearer believes Coopers has

Shearer, noted his top two highlights as being

an edge not only because of its value, but

a rebound in key sales in the on-premise, alongside the incredibly successful launch

because of its local roots.

of a new beer, Coopers Australian Lager.

He said: “We feel that by providing a

“The lager category continues to

great tasting, reliable Australian product

dominate the Australian beer market.

at an approachable price point, Coopers

While most people know Coopers for our

is well positioned.”

ales and stout, we also have a long history

And while such a large proportion of beer

in lager dating from the late 1960s. Our

sold locally is owned by international

existing lager range includes the low-carb

companies, including those that many still

Coopers Dry and Coopers Dry 3.5, as

think of as Australian brands, Shearer said:

well as the low-alcohol Coopers Premium

“Being Australian owned and operated is a key point of difference for Coopers.

Light,” Shearer said. “We set out to create a modern

“Given the strong stated preference

Australian lager that is more flavoursome

among drinkers to support local, this

and contemporary compared with the

provides us with opportunity for further

traditional lagers in the market. The strong

growth in the year ahead.”

demand we’ve seen for Coopers Australian Lager since it was launched in August 2023 shows it has really struck a chord with

Ale, and promoted by our Local Everywhere

Australian drinkers.”

campaign. We’ll also be putting the finishing

tradition and progress with great results. “As an Australian owned and operated

In the year ahead, there will be plenty

touches on our exciting new brand home

brewery, family heritage is extremely

more to look forward to from Coopers from

development and opening for visitors later

important to Coopers,” Shearer said.

several angles.

in the year.”

“We have very talented sixth-generation

“Coopers is approaching 2024 with

The opening of Coopers’ redeveloped

family members now in senior positions

a positive outlook and we have several

home site in Regency Park is highly

within the brewery and each brings with

exciting initiatives underway across our

anticipated. The significant works include

them a unique perspective, breadth of

product offering and the brewery itself,”

a new visitor centre to promote Australian

experience and skillset. When you add this

Shearer said.

beer, a microbrewery to allow the team to

to the outstanding entire team at Coopers

“We will look to build further on the

experiment with new craft beer styles, and

you have a recipe for continued innovation

momentum of Coopers Australian Lager as

a distillery to expand the brand into whisky.

and new thinking while at the same time a

well as continuing to grow our market share

It’s an incredibly innovative move from a

commitment to the traditions that have built

nationally across the entire range led by our

family company that continues to welcome

our reputation for high quality over more

biggest selling beer, Coopers Original Pale

new generations to its team, balancing

than 160 years.”

February 2024 | 41


A local difference

industry, Coopers has still been able to

D’amore Cellars

D’amore Cellars is keeping it fresh

D’amore Cellars Bottlemart is utilising sales data to improve the effectiveness of its dynamic product range and making plans to expand.

Paul Rajkovski Manager D’amore Cellars Bottlemart

Throughout 2023, Paul Rajkovski, Manager of Melbourne’s D’amore Cellars Bottlemart, saw that the liquor industry


was characterised by innovation and new product development, providing ample opportunities for growth. Rajkovski was introduced to the liquor industry at a young age, with his family owning and managing several pubs throughout the years. “My earliest childhood memories are of growing up in the rooms above the pub

Vying for shelf space

and venturing down to the floor after close. Eventually, the family’s focus moved away from pubs into retail liquor and grocery,” he said. Rajkovski has found his home in the industry, identifying expanding his product

The introduction of new products in the RTD space has been both an opportunity and a challenge for retailers. “With the explosion of NPD in all categories, especially RTDs and beer, fridge space is becoming a major challenge.

knowledge as his current passion, alongside

“The growth in light RTD has been phenomenal. Easy drinking products such as Hard

learning from other industry professionals.

Rated, Billson’s, Suntory -196, and Brookvale Union seem to be all the rage at the

“The relationships I’ve been able to build over the journey make working in the liquor industry even more enjoyable. The industry

moment and don’t appear to be letting up. I feel suppliers will continue to introduce new NPD in line with the growth in this category, continuing to increase the challenges for retailers,” Rajkovski said.

is littered with so many great people who share the same passions. I have been

never be found guilty of as a retailer is being

extremely lucky to have had some amazing

afraid to have a go,” he said.

mentors and make lifelong friends along the way,” he said. It is these relationships that have allowed

more space, and which are underperforming. “As an LMG member I cannot speak

This willingness to trial new and unique

highly enough of the support we are

products sets D’amore Cellars apart from

afforded in this area by the team. They are

its competitors.

able to provide industry data, along with

Rajkovski to develop as a retailer, and he

“Consumers are constantly on the

advised both established and emerging

hunt for something new and fresh. We

retailers to do the same.

are continually cycling in new product,

“There are so many people with a wealth

meaning we are becoming more proactive in

of knowledge and experience in the industry,

deleting slower moving SKUs a lot quicker,”

but it is also ever-evolving.

Rajkovski said.

store specific data, assisting in making these decisions,” he said. In the coming years, Rajkovski is looking to expand. “The goal is to explore other retail opportunities in the not-too-distant future

“Immerse yourself in the industry. Be

With this dynamic product mix,

within the industry. With my children

open minded and allow yourself to enjoy

Rajkovski emphasised the importance of

getting a little older, the vision is to open

everything it has to offer. One thing I can

data to determine which categories need

more stores,” he said.

42 | National Liquor News

De Bortoli exceeds excellent expectations Managing Director, Darren De Bortoli, discusses the key achievements for the company while persevering challenges.

Darren De Bortoli Managing Director De Bortoli

Amidst a year persevering the challenges of the current consumer market, De Bortoli has held its unwavering commitment to quality and sustainability. Managing Director, Darren De Bortoli, noted the company welcomed some key achievements throughout 2023 despite economic pressures. Last year, De Bortoli’s portfolio showcased its consistent excellence by clinching 39 trophies and 100 gold medals across 18 different wines. Of particular note was the iconic Noble One, which attracted seven trophies and 11 gold medals alone. Milestones also came in sustainability, with De Bortoli named the first Platinum Partner of Sustainability Advantage by the NSW Government’s office of Energy and Climate Change. According to De Bortoli, “this prestigious title is awarded to organisations demonstrating innovation, performance, and a competitive advantage through practices that achieve a ‘net zero impact’ on the environment”. This was a highlight in a year full of significant sustainable strides, with the company also installing a solar power system that

(NPD) will be integral to this innovation, as the company aims to

is expected to reduce imported electricity by 30 per cent. Off the

lead the establishment of diverse ways to enjoy De Bortoli wines

back of this, we can expect to see even more achievements in the year

through wider audiences and consumption occasions. This includes

ahead, especially with sustainability predicted by De Bortoli to be

releases like Chill Bill and Chill No Chill, juicy and spritzy reds that

an important part of consumers’ decision making processes in 2024.

can be enjoyed chilled.

“Our commitment to sustainability remains steadfast, and

“Our NPDs derive inspiration from consumer preferences,

in the coming year, we aim to amplify our impact by reinforcing

industry trends, and a relentless pursuit of infusing modern artistry

our dedication to environmental stewardship and sustainable

into traditional wine styles, embracing old-world inspiration with a

winemaking practices,” said De Bortoli.

contemporary twist,” said De Bortoli. “Looking ahead, this pipeline will continue to evolve, driven by

Foundations of the new year

a passion for crafting innovative and enticing wine offerings that

Last year’s great achievements have laid the foundation for another

resonate with our consumers.”

year of navigating challenges while maintaining (and exceeding) expectations. “Stepping into 2024, De Bortoli’s immediate focus is on continuing

Another consumer movement that De Bortoli will focus on both with its expansions and its existing portfolio is the market around sparkling wines.

our commitment to sustainability, alongside enhancing internal

“With the expansion of our sparkling wine portfolio, our primary

processes to improve operational efficiency and meet consumer

focus is to align with the growing trend of casual and informal

demand effectively,” said De Bortoli.

consumption of sparkling wines, seizing the opportunity for growth

“Strengthening our operational foundation will enable us to navigate challenges more effectively while continuously surprising and delighting our customers through innovative offerings.” As it has always been for De Bortoli, new product development

in this segment,” De Bortoli said. “In 2024, we expect sparkling wines to maintain their popularity. As consumers increasingly seek unique and distinctive experiences, we are expecting their interest in wine cocktails to rise.”

February 2024 | 43


De Bortoli

Drinks HQ

A fresh look for Drinks HQ

Drinks HQ’s focus on unique offerings and quality customer experience lead to a positive result for 2023.

Paul Heilman Owner Drinks HQ

With a brand refresh, store innovations, and healthy sales, 2023 was a positive year for Sydney-based Drinks HQ. However, as Owner Paul Heilman told National Liquor News, the year was not without


its challenges. “Responding to the common sales inquiry of ‘How’s business?’ became a nuanced task, as each store and day of the week seemed to tell a different story. The impact of the ongoing recovery from the Covid era, especially in terms of talent acquisition, remains a persistent challenge,” he said. Additionally, Heilman learned lessons that will influence the business in 2024, such as the differing trends impacting the various stores. “The diversity in consumer behaviour and market dynamics became more evident than ever. Looking forward, we’ve learned valuable lessons and have strategically positioned ourselves for success in 2024,” Heilman said. A major milestone in 2023 was that Drinks HQ underwent a rebrand, which was driven by the changing landscape of the drinks industry. “Recognising the evolving landscape and the need for a fresh approach, especially with the changing dynamics of customer communication and acquisition, became imperative. The realisation dawned that our promotional efforts needed to be more targeted and aligned with our unique offerings,” Heilman said. The new name and logo better reflect the unique approach that Drinks HQ has on liquor retail. “We envisioned being more than just a place to buy alcohol; we aimed to provide exceptional service, share knowledge, and create memorable experiences. Our commitment is evident through daily tastings, wine dispensers, and innovative product offerings shared across our stores,” Heilman said. An immediate focus for Heilman is updating the Cammeray and Newtown stores to the Drinks HQ branding. Looking to 2024, Heilman is aware of the opportunities and

Electronic shelf labels The introduction of electronic shelf labels (ESLs) has made a positive impact on Drinks HQ, especially due to the business’s effective implementation. “While ESLs are not unique, our execution sets us apart,” Heilman said. ESLs provide multiple benefits to Drinks HQ, including reduced paper wastage, labour efficiency, and increased accuracy of pricing displays. “ESLs contribute to compliance, displaying promotions accurately, eliminating the risk of misplaced or omitted promotional materials,” Heilman said. Heilman also utilises ESLs as an additional interaction point with customers. “Whether it’s a tasting note, a recipe, or a QR code linking to our website, these features create a unique shelf-side influence, influencing customer decisions and interactions,” he said.

challenges offered by the increasing number of new products entering the market. This will require that retailers stay informed about emerging trends and educate staff on new products and categories.

Heilman is confident that Drinks HQ can continue to perform in 2024, despite challenges facing the industry.

“Retailers have to be mindful of what’s around the corner. There’s

“While navigating uncertainties, we remain optimistic about the

a new product in most major brands every year. New imported

opportunities ahead and are committed to leveraging our strengths

products, totally new brands, new categories even,” he said.

to achieve even greater milestones in the coming year,” he said.

44 | National Liquor News

Better Together, Drink all Australian Regal Rogue & Feels Botanical are now distributed in Australia by Cape Byron Distillery


Endeavour Group

Customer experience integral for Endeavour Group CEO and Managing Director Steve Donohue describes Endeavour Group’s 2023 achievements, from AI initiatives to network growth.

Steve Donohue CEO and Managing Director Endeavour Group

According to Endeavour Group CEO and Managing Director Steve Donohue, being an inherently social nation makes for a resilient


liquor industry, despite a challenging year. “Across our span of businesses, the consistent theme for 2023 was that Australians continued to enjoy social occasions,” he said. “Customers have always expected marketleading value from our offers and experiences, but quality and discovery, particularly new drinks, remained an important trend. “Customers are always our number one priority, and our job is to deliver them a best-in-class offering that meets their needs for value and convenience.

Shopping habits

allows them to spend more time face-to-face

With so many external factors

with customers, or verifying we are delivering

“Across FY23, we invested in growing

influencing the liquor landscape,

the lowest prices in line with our famous Dan

our network to be closer to our customers

Endeavour Group’s approach is to

Murphy’s Lowest Liquor Price Guarantee.

through the addition of eight new Dan

pay close attention to consumers,

“No two customers are the same, and it’s

Murphy’s stores, 18 new BWS stores and

the industry’s biggest growth and

our job to engage with them as individuals. If

11 hotels. We also invested in improving

trend drivers.

we can better understand our customers, we

our network, with 122 store renewals and 46 hotel renewals.” In 2023, as well as acquiring Margaret River winery Cape Mentelle, a welcome addition to the Paragon Wine Estates portfolio, Endeavour also launched its new BWS 4.0 store format, with a mobile pointof-sale system, increased refrigeration, and new merchandising designs.

“Despite even more focus on great value, consumers are still searching for new things to try. This reinforces our belief that innovation remains key, regardless of broader economic trends,” says Donohue. “We’ve added 2,200 new products to our range in the last year alone and smaller producers now make up more than 90 per cent of our total suppliers.”

Technological advancements

can tailor the experience to suit their needs.” Making further advancements in technology, Donohue also reported a significant uptake in app memberships. “My Dan’s membership has grown by 15.6 per cent to 5.2 million active users, with a scan rate of 79 per cent, up on the previous year of 70 per cent, and the BWS app has reached a peak of 400,000 active monthly users. “About 35 per cent of customers spend time online researching products before

At Endeavour Group, the integration of

improve customer experiences,” says Donohue.

they make choices on what to buy. Similarly,

AI initiatives has been a focus across

“I’m always enthusiastic about anything that

we also know that around 90 per cent will

various parts of the business to improve

makes a customer’s experience with us more

use online search before they visit a bricks

customer experience.

memorable and increasingly personalised.

and mortar store. Customers expect curated,

“When you consider the number of

“Whether it’s to assist our activity-

personalised experiences on all digital

locations and offers we have, there is an

based rostering process, which reduces

platforms, which remains a focus for us

enormous amount of data that we can use to

administrative tasks for team members and

across the Group.”

46 | National Liquor News

Feels Botanical to advocate for collaboration and innovation in 2024 A key opportunity for Feels Botanical in the year ahead will be its new distribution partnership with Cape Byron Distillery.


Feels Botanical

Blake Vanderfield-Kramer Co-Founder Feels Botanical

Reflecting on the highs and lows of 2023,

innovation in the spirits industry, making

Blake Vanderfield-Kramer, Co-Founder

this a natural alignment,” he added.

of Feels Botanical, says that despite some

“Cape Byron’s expertise in building their

challenges it was a rewarding year for the

core brand, Brookies Gin, through a focus

Australian brand.

on product quality, customer relationships

“Despite ongoing industry impacts

and exceptional consumer experiences is

from Covid-19, cost-of-living pressures,

invaluable. Their strong trade relationships

international conflicts, and global

and effective brand building strategies align

economic and supply challenges, there

perfectly with our need for an Australian

were a lot of positives.

sales and distribution partner who

“Highlights include winning numerous

understands our product positioning.”

international awards, working with Intrepid

Vanderfield-Kramer sees the collaboration

Spirits for international markets, continuing

as a positive move for not just the brands, but

our partnerships with some exceptional

their customers and consumers.

Australian on- and off-premise customers,

“A significant opportunity lies in

and the notable addition of John Gakuruin

us. But we just need to continue with

supporting Cape Byron’s team to expand all

the business.”

patience and understanding, recognising the

the brands’ presence in the market, while

With four spirits each drawing on unique

extended time required for implementation

offering a unique, versatile, high-quality, all-

flavours, Vanderfield-Kramer says there is great

and striving to be as supportive a partner

Australian product portfolio. Our immediate

opportunity for growth in the off-premise.

as possible.”

focus is to support Cape Byron’s team in

“All our range can be enjoyed simply over

effectively marketing and distributing our

ice, or soda water can be elevated with Feels.

Community and collaboration

The three botanicals and the grape spirit

Looking ahead, Vanderfield-Kramer told

“The synergy between our brands –

adds enough to give you a fresh, flavourful

National Liquor News about Feels’ new

Brookies, Regal Rogue, and Feels – is

and enjoyable drink. Feels Vilify, distilled

distribution partnership with Cape Byron

exciting, offering retailers the opportunity

with turmeric, coconut and ginger has been

Distillery, and how it came to be.

to create unique Australian-themed bundles

products in whatever way we can.

a standout. However, our other products

“I’ve known Eddie Brook, Co-Founder

for consumers.

– Feels Bask, Rouse and Revel – also play

and CEO of Cape Byron, for years. Our

“We advocate for collaboration and

significant roles, each catering to specific

partnership stemmed from ongoing

innovation,” he added. “We encourage

consumer drinking preferences.”

discussions about our businesses and

retailers to adapt to evolving consumer

Although there were positives,

the opportunity to collaborate with Feels

trends towards sustainable and unique

Vanderfield-Kramer spoke about Feels’

Botanical and Regal Rogue, offering an

beverage choices, and we’re committed to

biggest obstacle in 2023.

exceptional all-Australian portfolio to

supporting them in this journey. Supporting

customers and consumers.

local businesses, quality products,

“Our biggest challenge was building our distribution and the staffing shortages across

“Both businesses and the brands have

the industry from Covid certainly impacted

a shared vision across sustainability and

innovation and versatility in the spirits industry.”

February 2024 | 47



Fever-Tree’s pivotal year

Andy Gaunt

Andy Gaunt, Managing Director for ANZ, reflects on a huge but positive year for Fever-Tree, and how the brand will build on this in 2024.

The past year has been one of great change

Managing Director ANZ Fever-Tree

for Fever-Tree in the Australian market.

Trending serves

Andy Gaunt, Fever-Tree’s Managing

When asked about the top trends

Director for ANZ, described it as “pivotal”,

predicted in mixed drinks for this

and with good reason.

year, Gaunt tipped that there

Not only have consumers continued to

will be sustained demand for

demand better mixers, seeing the Fever-

“refreshing, sophisticated flavours

Tree portfolio expand into new areas,

in cocktails,” as cocktails at home

the operation behind the brand has also

continue to flourish. Fever-Tree’s

completely pivoted into a new area. In

top product expansion of 2023 - the launch of Margarita and

mid-2023, Fever-Tree brought all sales,

Mojito mixers - will help deliver

marketing and distribution in-house for

this for consumers, as they

the off- and on-premise liquor channels,

experiment and explore different

while launching a new alliance with

base spirit choices.

Remedy Drinks to manage the grocery channel. Giving thanks to previous long standing distributor partners, Gaunt said

Opportunity abounds

per cent are consumed mixed, fewer than

the busy year was an incredibly positive

Being a premium mixer brand, Gaunt

10 per cent of mixers are purchased in

one and helped lay a strong base for the

acknowledges Fever-Tree faces many of the

bottle shops.”

year to come.

same headwinds of spirit brands and the on-

Fever-Tree has exciting plans to work

“Transitions always come with

premise. A key opportunity for Fever-Tree at

with bottle shop customers in the year

challenges, especially one as significant as

this time can be found in the shift to more

ahead and tap into this opportunity.

this, however I’m incredibly happy with how

premium home drinking experiences.

Gaunt notes that this starts with simple

our transition played out. We recruited a

“We’re all seeing the shift to the ‘home

things such as carrying a range of mixers

wonderful new team across the country, and

premise’, and once again Fever-Tree’s range

to match a store’s best-selling spirits, and

our focus was firmly on ensuring minimal

is perfectly suited to help people simply and

then merchandising or co-promoting them

impact in supply to our customers,” he said.

easily create bar quality drinks at home.

with such spirits. It also includes working

“Our focus for 2024 will be continuing to

Further developing the mixer category

closely with the spirit companies on ways

embed our new operating model as we head

across bottle shops to increase channel share

to promote mixers to shoppers.

into the new year and ensuring we listen

and profits will be a key focus for us in 2024,”

to our customers and respond accordingly.

Gaunt said.

“We are ready and prepared for all challenges in 2024. We are looking

From a product and portfolio point of view,

“There remains significant opportunity

forward to delivering the people of

our focus remains on building further

for bottle shops across the country to

Australia better, more refreshing, tastier

awareness of both why we exist, as well as

increase basket size by selling ‘serves’ –

drinks while creating strong partnerships

the Fever-Tree range, as we grow tonics but

both the spirit and the mixer. We’re only

within the spirits industry, enabling us to

expand our range of sodas, cocktail mixers

scratching the surface of this opportunity…

help foster and nurture growth through

and gingers, as cocktails and mixed drinks

while 100 per cent of spirits are sold in

both channels off- and on-premise,”

continue to trend with consumers.”

bottle shops, of which approximately 70

Gaunt said.

48 | National Liquor News




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Good Drinks Australia


Customer service excellence from Good Drinks Australia After another year of national expansion, Good Drinks will focus on its commitment to customer connections over the coming months.

John Hoedemaker Managing Director Good Drinks Australia

“2023 was another outstanding year for Good Drinks Australia (GDA),” Managing Director John Hoedemaker tells National Liquor News. “We achieved nine per cent growth in a softer market, concentrating on becoming the partner of choice and helping to find solutions for our customers. We maintained solid investment in brand, bolstering our national, key accounts and market activation teams.” With inflation, interest rates and cost of living challenging the whole industry, Hoedemaker owes the company’s success last year to its commitment to offering customers a broad portfolio of high margin products

sides of the ABV ledger. Some drinkers were

to see it grow into a major force in the

across key category segments.

searching out higher ABV products packed

contemporary segment.”

“Empathising with our consumers and customers, finding solutions that are a win

with flavour, like our recently launched Matso’s Nightlife range.

Continuing to focus on customer relationships, Hoedemaker says that GDA’s

for everybody, and developing emotional

“On the other side of the ledger, the

connections to brands that hold value is

better-for-you category continued to grow,

working for us.”

with a desire for lower ABV products that

“Offering the Good Drinks range to new

And it’s exactly this attitude that led

don’t compromise on flavour. In that space,

customers and consumers across all the great

GDA to be named Beer Supplier of the Year

we’re really proud of what we’ve achieved

states and territories of Australia [is] our key

at the Liquor Stores Association of Western

with Gage Roads Side Track XPA, which

focus in 2024. Our ambition is to have Good

Australia’s awards last October.

comes in at 3.5 per cent, while Gage Roads

Drinks in every fridge in Australia.

“It feels like the team’s commitment to purpose, their sacrifices and their mateship

Yeah Buoy Non-Alc XPA is continuing to gain traction across the country.”

national expansion will keep the momentum in 2024.

“We are achieving this by doubling down on our commitment to providing excellence

is paying off in spades. Winning [this award]

Another highlight for GDA last year was

in customer service and representation across

is a wonderful recognition of the calibre

the launch of Rider, a no-carb, low-calorie

Australia. Our opportunity and commitment

of the WA team and leadership, while

contemporary lager specifically focused on

are to create long-term business plans and

a fantastic recognition of their effort to

engaging Gen Z and Millennials in beer.

partnerships with our customers that create

creating long-term meaningful partnerships with our customers.”

“It’s the largest and most successful launch that GDA has undertaken, with

a win for our retail customers, and value at the shop floor.

extraordinary growth in ranging and

“We’re committing to an increased spend

consumer awareness,” added Hoedemaker.

in traditional above the line advertising, and

Looking back on 2023, Hoedemaker says a

“The initial response to the brand from

our experiential brand-in-hand events team

few key trends emerged throughout the year.

consumers and customers has been well

is in full flight, delivering over one million

“We could see a consumer need on both

above our expectations and we’re excited

serves of try, and converting that into buy.”

2023 and beyond

50 | National Liquor News

Landmark milestones at HSFE CEO Karl Martin describes key milestones the company is celebrating in a challenging environment.

Karl Martin CEO Hill-Smith Family Estates

Looking back on 2023, Karl Martin, CEO of Hill-Smith Family Estates (HSFE), describes the operating environment as “incredibly challenging”, as inflation and interest rate rises impacted the cost of doing business. As a local company that also operates internationally, HSFE has been able to see the resilience of the Australian market in such a time and celebrate it alongside some key wins in the year. “In 2023 our Australian distribution business, Samuel Smith & Son, celebrated 100 years as a distributor of fine wines... It was nice to be able to recognise this milestone with our key partners and customers on the back of a strong Advantage Survey Report and wine supplier awards from ALM/IBA and Paramount Liquor,” said Martin. “The world is a very different place today to what Samuel Smith & Son encountered as a distribution business established in 1923, however one thing that has not changed is that we remain a family

Sustainability achievements

wine business and we still see the industry as being a people business,

HSFE has noted several key results on the sustainability front

with businesses and partnerships built on long-term relationships.

in 2023:

Samuel Smith & Son’s 100 years has been based on the mantra of

• Louisa Rose, who was Head of Winemaking for 18 years, has

‘Knowledge, Service and Friendship’, values we still very much live

taken on a new global role as Head of Sustainability.

by today.”

• A huge 99.95 per cent of grape grower vineyard areas

When it comes to the portfolio itself, strong performing labels include

have been certified by Sustainable Winegrowing

Yalumba, Jansz Tasmania, Pewsey Vale Vineyard, Heggies Vineyard and

Australia, in addition to 100 per cent certification of

Dalrymple Vineyards, despite all their limited supply. Imported agency

HSFE’s owned vineyards.

brands are seeing similar success, even with Champagne experiencing

• HSFE has measured a 22 per cent reduction in its

price increases off the back of smaller allocations. New products have

greenhouse gas emissions since the baseline year of 2011,

also contributed great things to the portfolio, with brands such as Y

with a transition roadmap now in place to achieve 50 per

Series Lighter and One to One by Oxford Landing seeing encouraging

cent reduction by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050.

results off the back of strong distribution.

• Silver membership and ambassadorship has been obtained

New products will come again in 2024, including a

with International Wineries for Climate Action.

limited collection of Yalumba’s rarest and finest wines to commemorate a significant milestone - 175 years of Yalumba, Australia’s oldest family-owned winery.

“We will retain a focus on providing our customers with great omnichannel experiences, supported by a professional sales team

Other developments to expect in 2024 include a review of the

representing our Samuel Smith & Son and Negociants Australia

business model to ensure resources are best aligned to market

portfolios across all channels. We will continue to partner with

opportunities in what will be another challenging economic year.

our customers by collaborating on innovation opportunities while

HSFE will remain committed to reinvesting in its people, brands,

investing in our sustainability programs and digital marketing

viticulture, winemaking assets, systems, and processes while

capability to improve accessibility to our brand stories and wine

doing this.

credentials for shoppers and consumers,” said Martin.

February 2024 | 51


Hill-Smith Family Estates

Independent Liquor Group

ILG marks fifth record-breaking year CEO, Paul Esposito, discusses how the cooperative is continuing to support and sustain a growing and successful membership.

Paul Esposito CEO Independent Liquor Group

Despite the economic challenges of 2023, Independent Liquor Group (ILG) was able to mark its fifth record-breaking year, with continued growth in sales, volume and membership across all of the cooperative’s states of operation. Paul Esposito, CEO of ILG, discussed the numbers behind this growth, and said: “We have achieved sales revenue over $520 million and more than 5.7 million cases sold in the calendar year with service levels at all sites over 98 per cent. “Retail banner performance has also remained strong across our


three main brands, with Bottler up by 23 per cent, Super Cellars up by 33 per cent and Fleet Street up by 19 per cent. State wise, our presence in VIC is evidently making waves, with membership up by 33 per cent. QLD and NSW are showing no signs of slowing down at 21 per cent and 16 per cent growth respectively.” With such a growing membership base, Esposito said the focus of ILG for 2024 will be to improve operational capabilities that meet the needs of both new and existing members. The ILG staff

make their decisions based on profits to deliver better returns for

family has grown over the past six months to accommodate these

outside shareholders, however we channel it back to our members,”

improvements, following structural changes aimed to support

Esposito explained.

progressive operational efficiency.

As always, ILG is working on how it can improve to channel

Another focus in this high growth environment is centered

more back to this membership in 2024. Already, it has begun rolling

around logistics, with Esposito noting: “Space across our current

out new initiatives such as a digital wallet, which is now live in

distribution depots is also a major priority with three of our four

Fleet Street stores, with plans to expand to other banners in coming

wholesale networks completing a logistical shift to accommodate

months. Other digital solutions, from websites and e-commerce to

the growth.”

TV platforms and social media presence, continue to be a focus for

In QLD, this has seen ILG progress from a share lease to securing

the team in the year ahead.

an entire warehouse, while in NSW, ILG has reclaimed area from a

“The ILG offer will continue to be appraised and measured to

third-party partnership, and in VIC, the group has partnered with

ensure the ongoing relevance of our banners in the market. Work

BAM Logistics to operate an additional site in the state.

in this area has started in 2023 and has delivered exceptional results, that continue to appeal to those seeking longevity complemented by

Maintaining growth in 2024

kinship within a driven industry,” Esposito noted.

There is a clear appetite for all of ILG’s services in the market at

“The continued development in our digital solutions offer is

the moment. Not only are the group’s banners attracting interest

key to upholding our members’ relevance in the market. ILG will

and trading successfully, ILG’s relaunched B2B online marketplace,

persistently assess and support members to succeed in this space.”

Liquorstop Warehouse, continues to grow.

With the increasing cost-of-living predicted to put further

“What is also driving our expansion is the independent

pressure on businesses in 2024, ILG will also support the growing

channel. They are experiencing firsthand the value of being part

membership base through operational initiatives, such as freight

of a cooperative, versus an ASX listed company. These companies

assistance and business development training workshops.

52 | National Liquor News


Independent Liquor Retailers

ILR supports members with profitability and competitiveness Led by new CEO Anthony Abdallah, ILR had a successful year despite the slowing down of retail sales and rising operating costs.

Anthony Abdallah CEO Independent Liquor Retailers

Having delivered a robust performance in 2023, the coming year presents significant opportunities for Independent Liquor Retailers (ILR). Under the leadership of new CEO Anthony Abdallah, the group


reported strong sales last year and drove profitability for members. “My first year as CEO for ILR has been enlightening,” says Abdallah. “The business, supported by a passionate and member-focused team, has delivered outstanding benefits to members at a comparatively low cost. Our members’ dedication to local offerings and servicing consumer needs stands out. “[In 2023] we welcomed several new greenfield sites and retailers to our growing membership.” And despite the slowing down of retail sales, Abdallah says ILR

Looking ahead

was well equipped to navigate rising price inflation and cost-of-

“The year 2024 is set to bring dynamic change and growth

living pressures.

in the liquor retail industry,” says Abdallah.

“Recently, our members have seen profit margins rise above

“Our approach is to closely monitor trends, understand

pre-Covid levels, thanks to sales growth and retail price inflation

evolving consumer preferences, and consider leveraging

surpassing cost increases. However, this trend is reversing, with costs now outpacing sales growth. Retail wages are at a 10 year high. The immediate challenge is managing gross margins amidst rising operating costs while keeping our offers competitive. “ILR supports our members by collaborating with suppliers

technology to enhance customer experience. We’re not just a chain of liquor stores, we’re part of an industry that’s a hub for discovery, quality, and innovation. “Here’s to a dynamic and prosperous year ahead in the world of liquor retail.”

across all categories, ensuring competitiveness and profitability. We’re enhancing our promotional program to grow sales and basket

“Consumers are increasingly gravitating towards unique, artisanal

sizes. Our focus includes store promotions, core ranging, premium,

spirits, highlighting a broader trend towards distinct flavours and

and beer programs, along with updating our private label program

support for local communities. This shift suggests an opportunity

to accommodate customers trading down.”

for retailers to diversify their inventory with such products, thereby supporting small-scale producers.

Trend forecasting

“The health and wellness trend is also reshaping our industry,”

Driven by technological advancements, convenience, and evolving

he added. “The growing demand for no- and low-alcohol (NoLo)

consumer preferences, Abdallah says the world of liquor retail is

alternatives is a clear indicator of a consumer segment that values

undergoing a remarkable transformation, observing the rise of

moderation. This trend is an opportunity for retailers to expand

e-commerce and online sales as a key trend.

their offerings in this category.

“The convenience of digital shopping has significantly altered consumer behaviour. This trend underscores the importance for retailers like us to consider enhancing our online presence to meet growing demand for convenience.” Category-wise, Abdallah has seen a surge in interest in craft and local products. 54 | National Liquor News

“The rise of NoLo drinks is a trend that can’t be ignored, especially with Millennials and Gen Z leading the way. “Market diversification is more important than ever. The blurring lines between traditional beverage categories suggest that retailers need to adapt their offerings to encompass a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic options.”

A year of opportunities for Lion

With major brand acquisitions and several new releases, 2023 was a positive year for Lion and has created a solid foundation for further growth in 2024.

David Smith Managing Director Lion Australia

Lion’s intent focus for 2023 was to grow categories, enabled by continued investment its portfolio of popular beer brands and its growing spirits portfolio. Hahn was a particular success, with 18.4 per cent volume growth compared to 2022 and growth across all states. Stone & Wood continued its momentum, with 31 per cent volume growth. Meanwhile, XXXX increased volume by 5.5 per cent nationally and 6.4 per cent in Queensland. Notably, Lion took full ownership of Four Pillars last year, and David Smith, Managing Director, Lion Australia is excited to see the brand continue to grow throughout 2024. “Premium gin has seen exceptional growth in recent years, and Four Pillars has been right

marketing and sales support across our

at the forefront of that trend. We look forward

brands and category drivers.

to supporting the continued growth of this remarkablebrand,” he said.

“We are investing more behind our icon brands of XXXX and Tooheys to build core

Some other key moments in 2023 were

beer. We are investing more to drive the growth

the introduction of Kirin Hyoketsu to the

of the mindful choices category through

Australian market, the brand’s international

Hahn and innovation. Premiumisation

debut, Little Creatures entering the non-alc

remains an important category driver with

market with Flying Low, and the release of

a focus on Stone & Wood and James Squire.

the ultra-low carb Hahn Ultra.

RTDs have also been a great growth driver

Striving for sustainability With its increasing importance to the consumer, sustainability has been a key focus for Lion. The company is on track to exceed its 2030 sciencebased emissions reduction targets and significantly improve water efficiency at

However, Lion made the difficult

for us, and we will be supporting category

decision to close a number of its smaller

growth with spend and innovation in our

craft breweries and will instead focus on

Kirin Hyoketsu, White Claw and James

the typical Australian is ever more

investing in its core craft brands.

Squire brands. We are looking forward to a

conscious of their impact on the world

“There was such incredible growth in

great year of partnering with our customers

and the powerful role their choices

craft that it had to hit a peak. Despite the

to help grow their businesses,” Smith said.

can have in driving positive change.

its scale Tooheys and XXXX breweries. “At Lion we’re also aware that

more recent trend it’s an incredible growth

Overall, Lion will continue to develop its

Similarly, we know our customers want

story and great for the beer category in

brands in order to respond to the changing

to work with suppliers that can help

general,” Smith said.

needs of consumers.

In 2024 Lion aims to grow across all

“We are excited as ever to be a part of our

areas of the business with a particular

great industry and work alongside our valued

focus on returning the beer category to

customers to continue to bring people together

growth with continued big investment in

and make moments mean more,” Smith said.

them achieve their sustainability goals, while helping them reduce unnecessary waste and costs,” Smith said.

February 2024 | 55



Liquor Barons

Liquor Barons hails successful year amid turbulent times While retail crime has reached new heights in Western Australia, Liquor Barons has enjoyed another year of strong store partnerships.

Chris O’Brien General Manager Liquor Barons

“The beginning of 2023 was a turbulent time for retailers,” says Chris O’Brien, General Manager of Liquor Barons, reflecting on inflationary pressure. Despite economic threats, O’Brien speaks of


a positive year for the cooperative, which he attributes to Western Australia’s resilient market. “What we saw last year was a slight downturn in on-premise figures, which has led to a slight upturn in the off-premise, and as the leading liquor retailer in WA, we’ve benefitted from this shift in consumer behaviour. “The Liquor Barons team has worked hard to deliver a profitable year for our members. Throughout 2023 we supported our members with best-in-class marketing and merchandise programs, and getting the balance right for these two key functions was pivotal.”

Rising retail crime

Protecting communities

While Liquor Barons had a successful year, staff safety was a growing

A major focus for Liquor Barons in 2023 was its continued

concern amid an increase in reported assaults from liquor retail

support for responsible service of alcohol in the West

workers in WA.

Australian community, which O’Brien says will continue over

“The number one focus for Liquor Barons has always been to keep our staff safe,” says O’Brien. “We work in close collaboration with the Liquor Stores Association of Western Australia (LSA WA),

the next 12 months. “We understand that a small portion of the community has a problem with alcohol, and we work closely with LSA WA

West Australian Police and WA media to ensure this important issue

to make sure we can be part of the solution. We strongly

continues to be mitigated.

support the continued trial and roll out of the banned

“We want to ensure our staff have a safe place to work and will

drinkers register, spearheaded by LSA WA.”

continue to support legislation for stricter restrictions and tougher penalties for violent customers.”

consumers are seeking out value. While we’ve got the major chains battling it out on price, as a 100 per cent WA owned and operated

Delivering value

co-op, Liquor Barons offers our customers so much more than that.

Looking to the year ahead, O’Brien says: “The immediate focus for

We pride ourselves on providing them with real value, which is

Liquor Barons in 2024 is simple – continuing to make our members

personal service, in-depth knowledge, a tailored range, convenience

more profitable. We will continue driving our best-in-market

and support for local communities.

marketing and merchandise programs to remain as WA’s premier liquor retail brand.” One example is the Legit Value brand campaign, which took the previous Legit Locals campaign one step further by showcasing the value that Liquor Baron’s Legit Locals credentials offer its customers. “In this interesting economic environment, West Aussie 56 | National Liquor News

“We know that one size doesn’t fit all, and we recognise this individuality. Our business model is designed to support individual stores to service their local communities better, and a big focus will be to strengthen this model. “We’re committed to running our Perth-based marketing and merchandise team, who have eyes on the ground here in WA where we can properly support West Australian businesses.”

Liquor Legends

Liquor Legends’ key to success

With several new programs completed and integrated over 2023, Liquor Legends plans to continue growing its members’ profits with effective and innovative technological solutions.

John Carmody Managing Director Liquor Legends

Technology integration and development has been a key focus for Liquor Legends over 2023, and this is expected to continue into 2024, as Liquor Legends Managing Director John Carmody told


National Liquor News. “We’ve invested in technology since day one. With the projects completed in 2023, and a few more in early 2024, we are in the strongest possible position to drive sales and profitability for our members. “We have delivered even more support for our members’ businesses, having developed and integrated our new CRM program, promotional planning app and electronic shelf label application programming interface,” Carmody said. Another recently completed technology initiative is the Legendary Auto Replenishment App (LARA), which allows for more efficient business operations around stock holdings, stock turn, forecasting and budgeting. Customer loyalty and data gathering initiatives have been particularly successful, supported by the integration of the ‘Project Swordfish’ CRM program. As of December 2023, Liquor Legends has 840,000 loyalty members across the network. “Our rewards and loyalty program has grown significantly, as monthly rewards member points redemptions now exceed 90 per cent,” Carmody said. For Carmody, the use of technology across member stores is one of the biggest assets for Liquor Legends.

Liquor Legends, Toronto Hotel

International adventures Liquor Legends held its international conference in Italy

“Our members appreciate the hands-on support in-store and the

this year, which saw a record attendance of 155 members,

advantages delivered through our end-to-end technology,” he said.

suppliers, and staff. At the conference, the group presented

Due to rising cost-of-living pressures, Carmody expects to see

strong performance, Advantage Survey success, exciting

a change in shopper frequency, and encourages the industry to be

transformative digital marketing plans and technical retail

aware of changes to consumer demographics and behaviours in 2024.

advancements with electronic shelf labels.

Liquor Legends has already noticed changes in purchasing

“The idyllic locations of Milan, Lake Como, Florence

behaviours, such as a reduction in purchases of 1L spirits bottles in

and Rome served as a fitting backdrop for our supplier

favour of 700ml options. Additionally, with a promising increase in

partners and members to secure invaluable time together

beer consumption, Liquor Legends is re-segmenting its beer category,

for introductions, topical discussion, information sharing and

anticipating a growing interest in the easy drinking segment.

ultimately, solidifying business relationships. Liquor Legends

Carmody expressed Liquor Legends’ desire to support banner members to succeed amid these difficult economic conditions. “We see the opportunity to support even more businesses in the current economic environment,” he said. 58 | National Liquor News

values the relationships formed on this trip and has no doubt they will contribute to the future success of the group,” Carmody said.

Great Taste. Low Carb & Mid-Strength. How Good.

Liquor Marketing Group

There’s more in store for LMG

Gavin Saunders, CEO of Liquor Marketing Group (LMG), discusses the group’s exciting recipe for success that continues to create great results for its network.

Gavin Saunders CEO Liquor Marketing Group

Last year was one that offered both opportunities and challenges for Liquor Marketing Group (LMG). As CEO Gavin Saunders noted: “LMG members started the year


on the back of three years of extraordinary market-leading growth and we are pleased to have been able to cycle and maintain positive like-for-like growth, although at more modest rates.” Nevertheless, the market has been a difficult one to navigate, thanks to the rising cost-of-living, price inflation and high interest rates all impacting customer spending. In this environment, LMG believes the retailers who win and retain customers are those that can engage through the best marketing, the ideal physical and digital store environment, and the most outstanding localised service, and this is what is behind the LMG network’s success. The marketing side of that equation was boosted by LMG in 2023 with the launch of its “There’s more in store” campaign for the Bottlemart and Sip’n Save brands. The tag line recognises the

platform (and all existing assets) to a greater degree over the

evolution of the brands’ offerings to now be a network which offers

coming year. This includes through the wide scale launch of LMG

significantly more for the shopper.

loyalty through the Zen Global platform (acquired by LMG in

“The great thing about the brand position is that ‘more’ represents different things to different shoppers - this can be more great service,

2022), and upgrading Martech to enhance shopper engagement, personalisation and offers.

more innovations, or more convenience, etc. Sales results and brand

Saunders says that with each move LMG makes in this space,

scores have both exceeded expectations since the campaign was

a core focus will remain – to always add value to its membership.

launched and there will be much ‘more’ to come,” said Saunders.

“Loyalty presents a great opportunity to further enhance a retailer’s offer to the shopper. Greater knowledge of the shopper

Digital integrations

allows for more tailored promotions and drives higher conversion.

Another great result of 2023 that will be built upon in 2024

While loyalty is complementary to the retail offer, the fundamentals

revolves around the ‘digital store’, which Saunders says has become

of pricing, service and experience need to be maintained. LMG has

a requirement for all retailers.

seen the power and insights of first party data through the Zen

“One-in-four shoppers are undertaking a digital search pre-store.

acquisition and trial. But collection of transaction data is just one

The digital store is no longer only about e-commerce transactions, but

component. Equally important is ensuring that the engagement

a shopfront for your store for both current and prospective customers

enabled enhances your brand’s offer,” Saunders said.

to browse before buying in-store or online,” Saunders noted.

“Our focus for 2024 is to win more shoppers for each of our LMG

“In the past year, LMG has enjoyed +60 per cent growth in unique

retailers. Market conditions will continue to be volatile, but what

visitors to our platforms. With over 300 stores online, each of these

we can control is how our brands, consumer offer, service and our

prospective customers are able to view their local store’s range,

members’ stores exceed the shoppers’ expectations and continue to

pricing and much information to engage and convert them into a

win market share.

shopper with an LMG retailer.” LMG is looking forward to leveraging and boosting this 60 | National Liquor News

“LMG’s structure supports long term success, and we continue to operate solely for the benefit of our members.”

Lyre’s taps into the moderation movement CEO Paul Gloster discusses the opportunity behind using NoLo drinks to moderate alcohol intake, rather than abstain completely.


Lyre’s Spirit Co.

Paul Gloster CEO Lyre’s Spirit Co.

As the no and low alcohol (NoLo) drinks segment continues to boom, 2023 was another great year for category leader Lyre’s Spirit Co. CEO, Paul Gloster, said the year was marked by growth not only for the brand but the wider category. “With global economic pressure and stress on consumer spending, it has been fantastic to see maintained growth of the category. As a business we prioritised brand growth and customer support in key markets where we were able to convert wider awareness into Highlights of the year were those that

Optimising your NoLo offering

choice of non-alcoholic options, but also to

helped widen awareness of Lyre’s and

As the number one best selling and

play a role within the industry for lower ABV

NoLo moments. This includes strategic

number one top trending non-alcoholic

drinks when partnering with full strength

uptake of the brand,” said Gloster.

partnerships across the country and the globe with charity abstinence challenges via Dry July in Australia and New Zealand, and Dry January in the UK and the US. Not only did these partnerships build brand and category awareness, but they also raised funds to support the work of these organisations, something that Lyre’s is especially proud of.

spirits brand globally (2024 Drinks International Brand Report), Lyre’s has great insight into the best ways to optimise offerings in the space in 2024. “With there being so many incredible options across the NoLo category, retailers have seen success in visibly carving out a section or bay for the

spirit brands and venues that are looking at offering lower ABV drinks, without lowering their margins.” In terms of what products will be trending in the NoLo retail sector, Gloster notes that price will be a big factor that consumers will consider when navigating the category.

category and focusing on products

Convenient and affordable RTD products are

that resonate with what their shoppers

tipped to be big sellers in 2024, especially as

focused, Gloster emphasised that this is

are purchasing across the alcohol

more brands enter the market.

not the sole focus of Lyre’s. Moderation is

category. Variety is key, offering

the key driver behind the brand and will

shoppers more accessible RTD options,

Gloster predicts that “a lot of brands will

continue to be an opportunity for 2024.

a few great non-alcoholic spirit options

move away from the simple non-alcoholic

and similarly non-alcoholic wine and

spirit and mixer (such as a G&T) and explore

While these occasions are abstinence

“In the next 12 months, the greatest opportunity for Lyre’s is to target and capitalise on the changing demographic

beer is the best place to start,” advises Gloster.

of the core NoLo consumer – 78 per cent

On the other end of the spectrum though,

more sophisticated cocktail offerings like margaritas and mojitos, that will drive trial and uptake of the category.”

of consumers who uptake the category are

flavours of the classic cocktails and mixed

This is where Lyre’s core products, like

drinkers who are choosing to moderate their

drinks, allowing a full spectrum of ABV in

the Dry London Spirit and Italian Spritz, will

alcohol consumption,” Gloster explained.

the same drink, depending on whether you

continue to perform well and drive brand

“We see a great organic rise in low strength

are drinking, not drinking, or moderating.

growth, alongside other trending non-

drinks and Lyre’s seamlessly blends into the

We look forward to not only offering the best

alcoholic spirits like Lyre’s Agave Blanco.”

February 2024 | 61

Never Never


Never Never looks to future with market shaping strategies The leading Australian distillery attributes its success to its commitment to quality, flavour and fun.

Sean Baxter Co-Founder & Brand Director Never Never

Last year, the spirits industry was presented with some unique challenges. Speaking to National Liquor News, Sean Baxter, CoFounder and Brand Director at Never Never, explained how the South Australian gin distillery maintained growth. “The Australian craft spirits sector is premium by nature given the costs associated with production, labour and excise, so when the category takes a hit through economic downturn it’s often the premium segment that feels the pinch first. “Our Cause A Stir brand message has continued to build momentum through multiple activations. Our Valentine’s Day Breakup Box was a surprise for us earlier in the year becoming one of the most widely shared pieces of content we have created, and our April Fool’s Day Oyster Shell Blimp caused a few waves among our Sydney-based gin enthusiasts.” As a category leader, Baxter says innovation and collaboration was a huge growth driver.

A call for change

“We continued to innovate with two new collaborative releases that have been exceptionally well received. Our Pink Pepper

Tax always has and always will be one of the biggest

Gin and Coffee & Cacao Gin celebrate our relationship with

challenges for any brand attempting to grow in Australia,

the global industry and deepen our understanding of our

according to Baxter. With the most recent tax hike in 2023

flavour capabilities.”

putting spirits excise at over $100 per litre of alcohol, Australian producers are feeling the pressure.

What to expect in 2024

“To make serious inroads as a small business in the

Anticipating that consumer spending will remain soft in 2024, Baxter

spirit industry in Australia requires an immense amount of

spoke about overcoming the challenge of growing competition.

investment and creativity to have the cut through required

“It’s up to us to continue to take market share off the big

to make an impact in the market.

international brands through superior spirit and creative

“If excise tax persists as the obtuse and outdated beast

marketing strategies. This is challenging in a market that’s seeking

it currently is, it will continue to harm the industry over the

value. It means you need to work even harder to keep winning

coming years,” Baxter concluded.

lifelong brand fans and encourage new customers to convert to premium local gin. “We can do this if we stick to the strategies that we have built over

but we’ve always been connected to the way future trends begin

the last few years and continue to walk the walk when it comes to

to shape the market. Expect to see these trends filter through into

our brand messaging. The more we cause a stir with our flavour and

the way we collaborate and innovate in a market that demands

brand, the more cut through we will have.”

creativity and excellence,” adds Baxter.

While the timeless Triple Juniper Gin continues to drive the business, category disrupting innovations remain a priority. “We have a busy schedule when it comes to product development, 62 | National Liquor News

“We have been able to maintain this level of excellence since we started production in 2017 and continue to do so with everything we make.”

Nip of Courage celebrates 10th anniversary With rising popularity of Australian-made spirits, Nip of Courage Founder Kathleen Davies says the industry should prioritise provenance and sustainability.

Kathleen Davies Founder Nip of Courage

As a leading wholesaler of Australian craft

As consumers become more appreciative of

spirits, Nip of Courage is committed to being

locally made spirits, Davies says the industry

a one-stop-shop for Australian products.

should prioritise sustainability and discuss

Celebrating its 10 birthday, 2023 saw the

ways to reduce environmental impact.


expansion of market presence through new

“This includes exploring eco-friendly

distribution channels, and diversification of

production methods, sustainable sourcing of

its product range.

ingredients and implementing responsible

Since Nip of Courage first began operating,

waste management practices. Collaboration

there has been a general shift in consumer

and knowledge-sharing on sustainable

preferences towards craft and artisanal

practices can help drive positive change

products, and Founder Kathleen Davies says

across the industry.”

the spirits industry is no exception, creating

Similarly, Davies feels that industry-wide

a favourable environment for Aussie craft

discussions are key to addressing issues

spirits to thrive. “Retail consumers and trade are increasingly interested in the story behind the

Mya Clemente, Marketing & Communications Assistant

products they consume. Aussie craft spirits,

Cheers to 10 years

with their focus on using locally sourced

Reflecting on the 10-year anniversary,

ingredients and traditional production methods, align well with this demand for authenticity and connection to the land.” With many Australian spirits producers putting an emphasis on provenance, Davies says commitment to sustainability has also resonated with consumers. “Craft distilleries in Australia, at

Davies says the milestone marks a decade of growth, challenges and accomplishments. “Since 2013, Nip of Courage has established a strong presence in the Australian spirits industry. From the initial range of spirits in 2013, we have introduced new and innovative

within the regulatory landscape, as well as promoting meaningful engagement and collaboration with Indigenous communities. “Discussion around the regulatory landscape is crucial to ensure compliance and maintain industry standards. We need reform for spirits excise, labelling and production regulations for new and emerging Australian spirit producers. “Engaging in dialogue with regulatory bodies like the Australian Distillers Association and ABAC can help shape

products, collaborating with local

policies that support the growth and

the forefront of flavour innovation and

distilleries to showcase a broader

development of the industry.

experimentation, are known for pushing

selection of Australian spirits.

“Discussions should also focus

boundaries, using native botanicals and

“As Nip of Courage has grown,

on fostering respectful relationships,

incorporating indigenous ingredients to

we’ve gained recognition within the

acknowledging and respecting Indigenous

create distinctive flavour profiles, which has

Australian spirits industry, through

knowledge and cultural practices, and

captured the attention of consumers.

global awards, industry partnerships

exploring opportunities for collaboration

“There’s also growing awareness and concern among consumers about sustainability and ethical practices. Aussie craft spirits have the advantage of being able to prioritise sourcing, eco-friendly packaging and supporting local communities.”

and positive media coverage, [which] solidifies our position as a leader in the emerging Australian craft spirits industry, [and our contribution] to raising consumer awareness of Australian spirits.”

and economic empowerment. “This dialogue can help create a more inclusive and culturally aware industry. Brands like Seven Seasons are doing a wonderful job of promoting cultural change and diversity within the Australian community.”

February 2024 | 63


Nip of Courage

Parafield Airport Liquor Store

Diversity key to success at Parafield Airport Liquor Store Throughout 2024, South Australian retailer Sam Cufone will continue sharing diverse and boutique drinks with his customers.

Sam Cufone Owner Parafield Airport Liquor Store

Sam Cufone, Owner of Parafield Airport Liquor Store (PALS) in Adelaide’s north, has amassed 35 years of experience in


liquor retailing, and still finds joy in the day-to-day operations of working w ith customers. “I still love the simplicity of showing people new products. It began when I fell in love with wine. I’ve always loved showing people new and different wines, especially when I’m introducing them to new styles or products. I still love getting that excitement factor from a customer, and that will never change,” he said. Cufone’s passion for the liquor industry continues into his personal life, driven by his love for diverse and unique flavours. “Flavour is really important to me. One of my favourite things is going out to

the broader liquor industry and encourages industry-wide action on the issue.

restaurants and trying different foods and

“It’s been a difficult year for customers,

trying new products to match with food,”

with interest rate rises and cost-of-living

he said.

increases. Even though we’ve had a really

Due to its large store footprint,

good Christmas period, I think that’s why

Cufone can stock a wide range of unique

we’re not going to have that same buoyancy

products at PALS, and local products are

as before.

a major drawcard.

“Pricing is getting crazy. Late last year

“Over the years, we’ve moved away

with CPI increases, the prices on products

from the big company products. There’s

went through the roof. I don’t know how

a commercial reality, of course, that you

much more we can sustain those sorts of

must stock what people want. But for us, it’s

large increases,” he said.

about getting people to try different things.

However, Cufone is excited about the

That’s the experience that people enjoy,

new and innovative products that will

that’s what gets people to come back to us

continue to hit the scene.

because we don’t just have what everybody else has got,” he said.

“We’re going to keep doing what we

Flavour explosion The RTD category was a standout in 2023, with a local South Australian seltzer South Ave and Billson’s RTDs dominating sales – the latter of which outsold the rest of the RTD category combined. “What we discovered is that for us it was about having plenty of range. I think the real mistake we could have a made is if we’d said, ‘let’s choose the top five or 10 products,’ and stuck with those. that wouldn’t have driven people to come to us. The people who want to chase down the smaller

currently do, which is showing people great

products, they come to us because

Coming into 2024, Cufone is concerned

new products and discovering different

we seem to have everything,”

about the effects of the Customer Price

wineries, different winemakers, and all these

Cufone said.

Index (CPI) increases on customers and

great new distilleries,” he said.

64 | National Liquor News

Paramount Liquor

Ambition and innovation drive Paramount Liquor forward 2023 was a year of growth, achievement and expansion for Paramount Liquor, and CEO Nathan Rowe says the company is driven to propel Australia’s retail industry.

Nathan Rowe CEO Paramount Liquor

It was all systems go for Paramount Liquor in 2023, a year that saw the business tick over $500 million in revenue paired with almost 200 per cent growth in the last two years. Nathan Rowe, CEO of Paramount Liquor, said: “The year just gone has seen us take 100 per cent ownership of LSB (Liquid Specialty Beverages, now branded as Paramount to Queensland from top to bottom. “In a year that delivered cost increases for freight and goods, the introduction of CDS to Victoria, and staff shortages, we’ve

Tapping into trends

doubled down on an already impressive year

With a number of interesting trends unfolding in the retail space last year, Rowe

of growth. “With proactive planning, driven by data and insights from our beverage management software and more efficient warehousing and sustainability procedures, we’ve been able to maintain our momentum in a challenging time.”

Reshaping retail

says the resurgence of RTDs stole the show, especially those in the premium $90 plus price range. “Suntory -196, Billson’s and Hard Solo (now Hard Rated) have driven this category, and we’re excited to see what’s to follow. “Over the last three years, we’ve seen a tequila boom in the on-premise, which has now begun to hit retail markets with interesting prospects for growth. Locally, we’ve seen strong performance from Australian whiskies like Lark, Archie Rose and Starward, which we hope will continue in 2024.”

The retail space promises to be a big one for Paramount Liquor in 2024, and Rowe

by significant growth, product innovation

focus on an expansive remit, ranging from

says the focus will be bolstering its existing

and e-commerce.

sales, administration and warehousing to

banner group, Sessions, and adding more stores across all states.

“Re:Tail will give attendees access to

customer service and marketing.

the people and the tools reshaping retail,

“This investment demonstrates our

“On top of that, we’re thrilled to

equipping them with the knowledge and

commitment to the retail sector along

announce something we’ve been cooking

ability to take their business to the next level.”

with our ambition to continue to grow and

up behind closed doors,” he added. “We’ll be

Anticipating a strong year in the retail

deliver exceptional service to our customers

introducing a new banner group to market

sector, Paramount Liquor will boost the

in the first quarter of 2024, with more details

performance of its retail banner groups with

“We’d like to thank all our existing

to come imminently.

the introduction of more digital assets and

customer and supplier partners for their

investment from suppliers with innovative

ongoing support. We wouldn’t be where we

new products, brands and activations.

are today without all of you, and that isn’t

“Also to come is our new tailor-made event for the off-premise, Re:Tail. This event will take a holistic view of the ways

“We’ve been preparing for this growth by

in which the retail landscape is influenced

introducing a national retail team that will

and partners.

lost on us. We look forward to a big 2024 with you all.”

February 2024 | 65


Liquor) expanding our East Coast operations

Pernod Ricard Australia


Pernod Ricard kicks goals in 2023 Following a successful 2023, Pernod Ricard looks to add value to retailers amid challenging market conditions.

Kevin Mapson Commercial Manager Director Pernod Ricard Pacific

For Pernod Ricard, 2023 was a year of progress and celebration, according to Kevin Mapson, Commercial Managing Director of Pernod Ricard Pacific. A highlight was Jacob’s Creek’s sponsorship of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which saw impressive gains for the brand. “The FIFA Women’s World Cup provided a jump off point for Jacob’s Creek


to shine, with a clear brand role of bringing together friends and family to enjoy ‘A Drop Worth Sharing’. In total, over 12.4 million people were reached through our

16696_Mumm_Terrior_210x275mm_R1.indd 1

Jacob’s Creek media campaign, 147,000

“Following a hugely successful pilot

glasses were consumed in stadiums,

at the FIFA Women’s World Cup with a

and we saw a 17 per cent uplift in retail

stadium-exclusive 250ml can, the Olmeca

sales value for the core SKUs featured,

Altos RTD is now the number one growth

ultimately leaving Jacob’s Creek with

driver to the Tequila RTD segment (FYTD)

its highest brand consideration in three

in Australia,” Mapson said.

years,” Mapson said.

Pernod Ricard, like many businesses,

Sparkling wine, such as the Mumm

expects inflation to pose a significant

Terroirs collection, has also driven growth

challenge in 2024. In particular, the

for the business.

business is conscious of the flow-on effects

“Sparkling wine has seen extraordinary growth over the past 10 years, growing to be twice the size of Champagne.

to its customers.

Industry recognition Pernod Ricard was named Best OffPremise Supplier at the Australian Liquor Industry Awards (ALIA) and Overall Supplier of the Year at the Retail Drinks Awards, with many more awards in between. Mapson attributes these achievements to Pernod Ricard’s focus on employee development. “Last year we launched a new capability development program for

“Getting the balance between meeting

our commercial teams, which focuses

current economic pressure while investing

on developing our people for high

“Mumm Terroirs is now positioned

in the growth drivers of tomorrow is a

performance by embedding new

as the number one premium sparkling

constant balancing act that will ultimately

skills and applying a consistent way

brand in the $30+ segment and the launch

provide clear market opportunities.

of building commercial capability

of Mumm Central Otago in 2023

“While we as suppliers face challenges

allowed us to unlock a higher value

and external pressures such as inflation,

price segment and key gifting occasion,”

it’s important that we also recognise

Mapson said.

the same is true for our customers. Our

Another notable success has been

role is to ensure we provide value to

the launch of Altos RTD Margarita,

their businesses that is aligned to their

following the 2022 introduction of Olmeca

strategies without adding any additional

Altos Tequila.

unwarranted complexity.”

66 | National Liquor News

23/11/2023 11:54 am

and driving a performance culture. “Creating a successful learning culture requires more than just a fancy development program, though. There must also be the opportunity for teams to receive coaching in how to apply these theoretical learnings practically in the workplace,” he said.

Porters Lansvale

Porters Lansvale finds its niche in premium spirits Recognising its position in a region that demands high-end spirits, Porters Liquor Lansvale has expanded its horizons by playing into the premiums.

“When customers come to you, and you can give the customer what

reputation as a premium liquor retailer with a unique range of spirits, adapting to the niches of the community in which its store is situated. “We’re not scared to have a crack. We think you’ve got to do something different and you’ve got to be different. Without being demeaning, anybody can be a liquor retailer, but for us it’s about trialing something completely different,” says Minissale.

While tequila is gaining momentum in-store, Minissale expects several spirits to continue on an upward trajectory in the year to come. “Everybody’s calling gin down, and while I agree, I think there’s still going to be some interest in gin. Rum, we are seeing a little bit of interest, especially high-end rum and specialties. “Interestingly, we are seeing a change in buying habits for liqueurs, and that’s because people are making more cocktails at home. We get asked for a lot of oddball liqueur products. Another interesting trend to come from this is the

Tuning into customer tastes

purchasing of miniatures and half bottles of all varieties,

In the Western Sydney suburb of Lansvale, Minissale quickly realised

and I think that comes from the mentality that for a cocktail I

he had an eclectic customer base, with Cognac being a big player

only need this much.”

in the region. Deliberately targeting Cognac to customers, the store began converting customers to high end spirits. “Cognac, in-store, is now representing probably 30 per cent of our business. Hennessy, Martell and Rémy would be our top three products, followed by unique top shelf brands.” Having established itself as a premium liquor retailer, Porters Lansvale has since expanded its services digitally to develop Porters Lux, a luxury beverages online retailer. In-store, Porters Lansvale was facing the challenges of limited shelf space and ineffective visual merchandising, and in 2022 the store was given a complete refresh, to allow for the expansion and diversification of its range. “From there, we had developed this expertise in Cognac, which naturally grew out into whiskies. As consumer tastes started changing, things like Macallan, Johnnie Walker and Chivas became really important to our store,” says Minissale. “Customers were saying ‘you have nice Cognac, but do you have any nice whisky?’, and they were looking for expensive whisky. We went all out and began to buy unique and rare bottles. “What we’ve found is that our customers aspire to buy high quality product that they can’t find anywhere else. Now, we’ve expanded again from our whiskies and we’re carrying 1,200 SKUs just in spirits. Tequila we have found is now in huge growth and you’ll see things in Porters Lansvale that you won’t see anywhere else.”

February 2024 | 67


It’s exactly this attitude that has earned Porters Liquor Lansvale its

Director Porters Liquor Lansvale

Top trends

they want, eventually they will forget about others in the market,” says Giuseppe Minissale, Director of Porters Liquor Lansvale.

Giuseppe Minissale

Proof Drinks Australia


Success and sustainability for Proof Drinks Australia After a successful year of growth and a continued focus on sustainability, new brands are on the horizon for Proof Drinks Australia’s portfolio.

Drew Doty Managing Director Proof Drinks Australia

For Proof Drinks Australia, 2023 was a successful year that represented growth and innovation. Drew Doty, Managing Director, says the real focus last year was growing the team and portfolio, and bringing new brands to Australian consumers. “We had a few key highlights last year, including working closely with our retailer and venue partners to drive innovation and excellence while ensuring we tailored our offering to their needs.” Now in its third year of operation, the distributor has quickly resonated with the Australian market, much of which Doty attributes to its ability to provide mutually beneficial opportunities. “Since entering the market we have strived to be a partner of choice for the brands we represent, but we also feel that this needs to be passed onto our customers. The success thus far has certainly not been easy, but we hope that our unique way of doing business and the portfolio we have will continue to suit Australia’s demands. “Continued brand growth and customer support remain our biggest priorities for 2024. We will be looking at some new brands to fit our portfolio in the coming year, and we can’t wait to let everyone know about them when the time is right.”

The future of sustainability Sustainability is a key pillar to Proof Drinks Australia, the brands it represents, and the way it operates as a business, Doty explains. “Some of the key areas that our brands focus on are giving back to the community, ensuring sustainable ingredients are used in production, and utilising all components of the resources to reduce waste. “We reduce waste through recycling and limiting the number of printed materials. We also aim to support sustainable opportunities with our customers and have supported flexible work environments to help save on energy and materials. “Most of the brands have organisations that they support, such as The Lost Explorer Mezcal, which partners with the Voice for Nature Foundation to support Oaxacan communities. “In the year ahead, we will continue to spread the message about how our brands are sustainable and the reason for supporting these brands. Not only are they award winning, but also sourced ethically. “Our business will continue to work hard to decrease our need for materials and energy consumption, and increase our support for our customers best practices.” 68 | National Liquor News

Off-premise opportunities Under the current economic strain, most businesses in the industry will have noticed adjustments in consumer spending and overall market expectations. According to Doty, these economic conditions have driven a shift towards value, a trend he predicts will continue into 2024. “At home consumption will increase as consumers move away from the on-trade drinking occasion due to cost. In response to this, retailers should drive RTD beverages and simple cocktails.” Combining this notion with the growing popularity of agave spirits creates further opportunity for retailers, Doty explains. “The agave category is one of our top performers. Consumers are driving the success of tequila at the moment. With almost every venue having at least one Margarita available on the menu, this has now translated into at home consumption.”

Red Bottle

Customers mean community for Red Bottle Following the opening of its latest store, Red Bottle sees an opportunity to create a community in the year ahead.

Andrew McKay Associate Director Red Bottle

Independent Sydney-based retail group Red Bottle enjoyed another successful year in 2023, kicking off with the opening of its


12th retail store in February. “Located to take advantage of the future metro rail expansion in the CBD, this new premium wine and spirit store continues to grow and is quickly establishing itself in its local area,” says Andrew McKay, Associate Director. Although Sydney’s post-pandemic bounceback has afforded Red Bottle the opportunity to expand, McKay says that the their portfolios and offerings. Breweries

Digital age

a significant decrease in corporate spending on

have leant into the seltzer and ginger beer

Despite the continued acceleration

entertainment and office drinks.

markets, and spirit companies have segued

of online shopping and digital

continued ability to work from home has seen

“As working from home becomes more

from classic spirit/soft drink mixers into

entrenched, we see fewer office workers

a range of hard/’spiked’ versions of non-

in the commercial heart of Sydney, which

alcoholic alternatives.”

means we will continue to evolve into

Faced by economic pressures, McKay

community-based stores that understand

acknowledges that customers are making

their local demographics and cater to the

the choice to trade down, particularly in

needs of the local community.

spirits categories, and retailers will need to

“Following some interesting licensing decisions, we are seeing the emergence in

adapt their ranging and promotional activity to reflect these economic changes.

conveniences, McKay says that e-commerce only acts as an ancillary part of the Red Bottle business. “We’re happy that the big guys are paving the way in these unchartered e-commerce waters. In the broader liquor industry space, the relationship between e-commerce and responsible service is still being worked out, and we don’t want to ruffle any legal feathers.

many neighbourhoods of smaller specialty

“For 2024, we will see Australian

grocery stores incorporating liquor into

distilleries moving away from the

that we are always adopting best

their retail offer, which will impact the retail

premiumisation trend towards better value

practices. Being members of Retail

landscape in NSW.”

ranges that will speak to provenance and

Drinks Australia, we can ensure that

quality. Archie Rose has led the way this

we are within all boundaries of liquor

Tastes and trends

year with great success, and I think we’ll

Reflecting on the last 12 months of liquor

see others follow.”

“At Red Bottle we want to ensure

retail and striving to do things the right way.”

retail, McKay says that category crossover

As customer preferences shift and new

gained momentum in 2023, a trend that Red

trends emerge, McKay says Red Bottle will

more informed customer, I believe we

Bottle will continue to capitalise on in 2024.

focus on the needs of its local customers in

must continue to build on our core values

“[In the RTD space] we have seen how

its 12 individual locations to succeed in the

of good old-fashioned customer service,

suppliers from more traditional categories

year ahead as a community-based retailer.

knowledgeable staff and being a trusted

have been moving into new areas to diversify

“Faced with a better educated and

advisor to our customers.”

February 2024 | 69

Regal Rogue


Regal Rogue looks to expand in Australia and abroad amid category growth Mark Ward

The Australian vermouth brand is on a strong growth trajectory, with plans to introduce product innovation and reach new markets in the coming year.

Founder Regal Rogue

It was an excellent year for Regal Rogue, setting its sights on global expansion as awareness and demand for vermouth reached new heights. Although it wasn’t without its challenges, Regal Rogue Founder Mark Ward looks back fondly on the year’s achievements. “We’ve opened a few new European markets with Japan towards the end, which is a new focus market,” he said. “The key highlight was seeing our broader global team and production find further synergies as we look to 2024 as a key growth year. “The ongoing rise in popularity of

Australia’s appetite for vermouth In recent years, vermouth producers have successfully raised the profile of the

vermouth, aperitifs and lower ABV

category among customers and consumers.

continued to support our proposition with

“When we started in 2011 we were the only Australian brand in the market,” says

more consumer and trade demand for

Ward. “To think that there are now over 35 brands with up to 120 varietals is a clear

organic, low sugar, vegan and gluten-free,

indicator of where it’s got to and where it’s going, and there are some great brands

with our five litre BIB sustainable format

in the Australian offering.

showing fantastic results.”

“It’s a dream to see that kind of traction in a niche category and with that kind of

Due to its use of Australian botanicals and organic wine, one of the challenges faced

offering it helps all of us to continue to change the perception and popularity of drinking vermouth as an aperitif over ice or long with a mixer.”

by Regal Rogue is the long-term forecasts versus the wine harvest, but this is not a new

expansion is a priority for the year ahead,

learning and constant task to monitor.

fuelled by experimentation.

While the brand will look to new innovations, continuation of its core range

“We work to the Australian wine harvest

“Our biggest opportunities lie in

with our blending,” says Ward. “Continuing

Australia, the UK and Spain for the business

“The Bold Red and Wild Rosé are always

to monitor depletions over forecast growth for

and growth of our sustainable formats on-

the [star performers] in our range, and this

the 15-24 months ahead has been an ongoing

and off-premise, seeding our RTDs (hint

doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon

task, but we’re seeing all markets settle back

hint) and seeing what all of this presents

in all markets.

down with more space since Covid, and every

for new innovations around our core range

“The key for any craft brand is not

channel springing into action with zest.”

in the form of collaborations (another hint)

to overinvest unless it’s a growth driver,

for any Australian brands out there.

be nimble and listen to every customer,

New horizons

is a key growth driver.

“We firmly believe that 2024 will be our

consumer and feedback from every market,

As Australian vermouth establishes itself in

best year yet, and we are truly ready for it

to see if there’s a gem in there that we haven’t

the global market, Ward says international

across every department and team member.”

seen yet.”

70 | National Liquor News

Thirroul Cellars

Knowledge is power at Thirroul Cellars

Rory O’Carroll

With a new tasting bar in-store, Thirroul Cellars is well-positioned to continue educating customers on its wide range of products.

Co-owner Thirroul Cellars

The past 12 months have been a year of innovation for Thirroul Cellars, with Coowner Rory O’Carroll and his team finding


new ways to share quality products with the local South Coast NSW community. O’Carroll began working at Thirroul Cellars with several years’ experience in the liquor industry, including both retail and hospitality roles. “Both my wife and I wanted our own business, so when the liquor store she was managing was up for sale, we begged and borrowed to buy it,” he said. O’Carroll’s passion for liquor retailing is equally driven by the people and the products that he encounters on the job. “Obviously, I enjoy my team, our customers and the banter but I also love

customers to gain knowledge in a social environment,” he said.

having the opportunity to try unique, eclectic

Alongside local South Coast beers and

and rare products and hear the history and

spirits, the no and low-alcohol sector was a

stories that go with them,” he said.

standout at Thirroul Cellars last year.

Managing product mix The diversity of products at Thirroul Cellars allows O’Carroll to capitalise on the ‘less but better’ trend.

Thirroul Cellars is set apart from its

“Non alc beer was massive in 2023, and I

local competitors by its range and the

believe the non alc market will continue to

premium products, from local and

customer service that an extensive product

grow in all categories in 2024,” O’Carroll said.

international spirits to natural wines,

Coming into 2024, O’Carroll is

craft beers and interesting premixes.

selection requires. “We like to engage with our customers to ensure they have all the knowledge needed to choose products that they will enjoy,” O’Carroll said.

concerned about the difficult position of independent retailers. “The biggest challenge in the industry is the dwindling independents. Having

The store has recently added a new

a couple of companies with market share

tasting bar, which will enable O’Carroll and

dictating to manufacturers can’t be good for

his team to share their product knowledge

anyone, including customers,” he said.

with customers in a new setting.

With this in mind, O’Carroll provided

“We decided to build the bar for a

some advice to other independent retailers

few reasons. Firstly, to give that area a

and those entering the liquor retail industry.

facelift, but also as a dedicated space to

“Work hard, listen to your customers,

offer tastings and education nights. We

and don’t be afraid to have a broad range of

believe it will add a unique experience for

products,” he said.

“We have a unique range of

“We will also special-order products in for people who request them,” he said. However, it is still important to balance this with popular brands that customers may be expecting to find. “Having big brands is very important, which our buying group take care of. That allows us to search out a more diverse range, from premium drinks to lesser-known value brands that punch above their weight,” O’Carroll said.

February 2024 | 71

Thirsty Camel Victoria

Thirsty Camel Victoria celebrates all-round success Adrian Moelands, General Manager of Thirsty Camel Victoria, reveals how growth in all areas has been possible for the group this year, despite hurdles.

Adrian Moelands General Manager Thirsty Camel Victoria

“2023 proved to be a resounding success story for Thirsty Camel Victoria on all fronts,” says Adrian Moelands, General Manager of Thirsty Camel Victoria, when reflecting on the past year.


Growth was a core theme of the year, with great achievements across the business commercially, and in its growing membership base. It’s something that the member-focused business is incredibly proud of. “Our membership grew by nine per cent in 2023, a testament to our commitment towards fostering growth and success in our members and for their stores,” Moelands said. Not only did new membership grow, but engagement with existing members in the network was higher than ever, a critical element to continued success. Throughout 2023, this culminated in the biggest Thirsty Camel international conference on record, alongside fantastic interest in the group’s annual Forum and Awards event. On the customer front, loyalty was a key area of growth with the continued success of Thirsty Camel’s Hump Club. “In the past year, Thirsty Camel has achieved notable milestones

“Our key priority this year, as it is every year, will be to deliver strong margins and profitability for our 131 Victorian members. Collaborating closely with our suppliers, we’re dedicated to identifying innovative programs that not only increase member profitability, but also foster growth opportunities for our valued suppliers.

in loyalty. We saw unprecedented Hump Club engagement through

A focus area for this strength in 2024 will be an alignment to

our Bonus Rewards and Thirsty Bonanza campaigns and witnessed

digital channels, both through operations and through advertising.

a massive 25 per cent increase in unique loyalty customers in the

Thirsty Camel’s recently launched e-commerce platform, and its

month of September in line with our national Footy Finals campaign,”

integration with the loyalty program, has expanded the group’s

Moelands explained.

appeal and offering to new audiences.

“Since its inception in 2012, data shows that our Hump Club

“The introduction of our new platform presents an opportunity

members spend 40 per cent more than the average liquor customer.

to leverage technology for brand expansion, audience diversification,

These are incredibly encouraging results that make it clear to us how

and to communicate Thirsty Camel’s unique brand identity in the

much of a priority loyalty must be.”

digital realm,” Moelands said.

Challenges and opportunities of 2024

approach, including its Everyday Value program to deliver

The great growth found in 2023 did not come without its hurdles,

consistently good value to cost-conscious customers; delivery and

with Thirsty Camel and its members navigating drastic fluctuations

click and collect options for convenience-driven customers; and a

in the Victorian market coming from cost-of-living pressures, CPI

local presence, reflecting a broader trend of consumer valuing local

spikes and the introduction of the Container Deposit Scheme. Many of

businesses. But it also includes an innovative mindset to tackle new

these challenges will continue to impact operations in the year ahead,

opportunities as they arise.

That brand identity includes core pillars of Thirsty Camel’s

but Moelands is confident in Thirsty Camel’s ability to tackle them.

As Moelands said: “Innovation is key to driving growth and

“One of Thirsty Camel’s greatest strengths has always been that

meeting changing consumer demands in 2024. We’ll work with our

we’re able to be adaptive and innovative and will remain so in the

trusted partners to deliver innovation in our program as the market

face of the ever-changing consumer landscape,” he said.

evolves and consumers look for new, exciting offerings.”

72 | National Liquor News

Top Shelf International leading the way with pioneering project After an outstanding year on the awards front, Top Shelf International has disrupted the agave spirits category with the release of Act of Treason.

Trent Fraser CEO Top Shelf International

Having received countless awards on domestic and international stages, 2023 was a year that confirmed Top Shelf International’s standing as a spirits company of exceptional quality. Trent Fraser, Top Shelf International CEO, says: “Winning the IWSC 2023 Vodka Producer Trophy for Grainshaker in London was the standout moment. “When we launched Grainshaker in the middle of the pandemic in 2020, never in a million years did we think just three years later we’d be hearing our name read out at the largest, most authoritative and competitive drinks competition on the planet, becoming

share of challenges along the way – creating

the first Australian distiller to claim this award.”

a world class agave spirit in Australia has

And it doesn’t stop there.

required innovation across agronomy,

“NED continued to go from strength to

agtech, energy, distilling and engineering.”

strength, with an expansion of its national

With the first batch selling out in 24

retail footprint and the completion of the

hours, Fraser is confident about the future

portfolio with super-premium and ultra-

of the brand.

premium brand extensions.

“Judging by the initial reaction to Act

“NED and Grainshaker still have

of Treason, the team up at the farm will be

significant room for growth. NED has

working flat-chat to meet what is an already

developed a reputation for innovation and

incredible demand.

The role of retailers Top Shelf International might be shaking up the spirits industry in Australia and beyond, but Fraser says retailers play a pivotal role in driving success. “As an industry we have the raw ingredients, we have the expertise, we have the willingness to be brave and we absolutely have the quality in our final product. Retailers are critical when it comes to consumer

ingenuity in whisky, and the team has some

“Although it’s just the start of the journey,

exciting plans in development for 2024.”

national retail ranging and on-premise

placement and more importantly,

partnerships with some of the country’s

developing partnerships with

All-Australian agave

largest hospitality groups has us set for a big

producers to deliver education

2023 also saw the launch of Top Shelf

2024. We are currently working overtime

around the category will make a

International’s third brand, Act of Treason.

to service the demand that has been

Creating of a one-of-a-kind Australian

created. The response from customers and

agave spirit, Top Shelf International brings

consumers has been incredible.

a new category not only to Australia, but to

“Most important however, the spirit is

the world, and Fraser hopes Australia will

exceptional. It has the hallmarks of agave

become renowned for it.

but with a uniqueness that could only come

“This project has been years in the making and has certainly thrown up its fair

from one place – the Whitsundays in the dry tropics of Norh Queensland.”

exposure, so prominent shelf

huge difference. “We love having open dialogue with our retail partners and we are always interested in creating mutual opportunities to promote the local industry – passionate and informed retail staff are a huge asset to all of us.”

February 2024 | 73


Top Shelf International

Treasury Premium Brands


Treasury Premium Brands innovates with purpose Peter Neilson, Managing Director ANZ, reflects on the solid base the company will enhance in the year ahead to meet changing consumer needs.

Peter Neilson Managing Director ANZ Treasury Premium Brands

When reflecting on the past 12 months, Peter Neilson, Managing Director ANZ of Treasury Premium Brands (TPB), acknowledges that the Australian wine industry has faced many challenges. But such challenges have not broken producers like TPB, and instead have created an environment that has continued to allow the industry to demonstrate its agility and adaptability. “Throughout 2023, Treasury Premium Brands received strong support from our customers and industry association in response to some of the changes in our operations and company focus,” Neilson said. One of the key highlights of the past year

The innovations of 2023 went beyond this category into new frontiers.

“[In 2023] our Insights team launched a large-scale global consumer research project

that reflects a pivot into areas of demand

“We tapped into Asian fusion culture

that created a framework to understand

is TPB’s launch into the mid-strength wine

and launched a world-first that broke all the

3,000 consumers and 30,000 drinking

category. Neilson notes that no and low

traditional wine norms with Sun Monkey – a

occasions in Australia, UK and China so we

alcohol wine has become a key part of

sake flavour infused wine,” Neilson explained.

are really excited about uncovering areas of

the wider Treasury Wine Estates (TWE)

“Perfect for an evening with friends, this

growth and understanding our consumers

new wine brand launched with a Shiraz

and key drinking occasions better than ever

“TWE recently invested $10 million in

Grenache and a white blend and is the go-to

before,” Neilson said.

research and development into the category

drink for a new generation of multicultural

“Further to this, by identifying and targeting

including building an in-house state-of-

experiences and thrill seekers, transforming

key growth trends in the marketplace, TPB will

the-art low alcohol production facility in

the way we see wine by bringing a subtle

continue to expand its offerings via innovation

the Barossa Valley. This truly sets us up for

complexity to fruit-forward sessionable

and portfolio expansions.”

success in delivering more choice for the

occasions, particularly paired well with

growing number of consumers who want to

Asian cuisine.”

innovation strategy.

enjoy a full flavour wine experience without the full impact of alcohol,” Neilson noted.

With everything it does this year, TPB is excited to keep supporting both the off- and on-premise industries as they navigate an

Innovating with purpose in 2024

increasingly vibrant post-Covid landscape.

TPB capitalised on the success of no and

Going into this year, the focus for TPB will be

As Neilson said: “Our business is

low alcohol Matua Lighter and Wolf Blass

continuing to enhance its offerings to meet

focused on meeting evolving consumer

Zero by expanding the portfolios of other

the needs of a changing consumer base.

interests across the globe, and on delivering

well-loved brands, launching zero and mid-

Technology and innovation will remain as a

sustainable growth. Everything we do is

strength Squealing Pig ranges and a mid-

key growth area, to enable the brand to deliver

dedicated to realising our TWE ambition

strength Pepperjack, with plans to evolve

on this. Also enabling this enhancement is a

of becoming the world’s most admired

this more in the coming year.

key piece of work from last year.

premium wine company.”

74 | National Liquor News

William Grant & Sons


William Grant & Sons well placed for growth in 2024 After further solidifying its position in the premium and luxury spirits market last year, the company is innovating for a bright new year.

Jonathan Sully Marketing Director ANZ William Grant & Sons

For William Grant & Sons (WG&S) Australia, 2023 was a year that solidified its leadership in the country’s premium and luxury spirits market. Innovative launches into Australia, complemented by local brand partnerships and activations, drove great results on our shores, alongside a significant global achievement. Jonathan Sully, Marketing Director ANZ, said: “William Grant & Sons being recognised as Distiller of the Year for the eighth year in a row at the prestigious International Spirits Challenge 2023 was a global highlight. The industry-leading awards are known for setting the international benchmark for quality and recognising excellence in spirits worldwide, and to achieve such an accolade year after year is a testament to our commitment to excellence.” Stars of the local portfolio in 2023 were single malt whiskies, headlined by the Glenfiddich and The Balvenie. Both brands launched exciting new SKUs last year (Glenfiddich Yozakura and The Balvenie 60 Year Old), and Sully noted they “represented key growth drivers through organic growth and localised brand collaborations”. Highlight collaborations that elevated these brands included the continuation of the successful partnership between Glenfiddich

Cocktail culture on the cards Sully noted that consumers are continuing to develop their spirit repertoires, with cocktails set to drive spirit premiumisation this year. “The resurgence of a cocktail culture through innovation in drinks is introducing people to new ways to drink and serve spirits... It is a huge growth opportunity for the industry,” he said.

and Australian Fashion Week, and a new partnership between The Balvenie and renowned chef Lennox Hastie from award-winning

This means we can expect an array of interesting developments

Firedoor restaurant, to create an immersive culinary experience and

from the WG&S portfolio this year. From Hendrick’s for example,

targeted lifestyle campaign.

this will include continued innovation in the concept-led gin space, off the back of the late 2023 launch of spring inspired gin Flora Adora,

Triple win strategy continues into 2024 In 2024, WG&S will be building on its leadership position to keep delivering the best.

as well as through the limited edition ‘Cabinets of Curiosity’ range. While the premium and luxury space is important to WG&S, one of the key strengths it has is a portfolio that caters to so many

As Sully noted: “Driving our ‘triple win’ strategy for consumers,

different consumers, tastes, trends and occasions. Sully noted this

our customers and the William Grant & Sons business will remain

will be an important asset to staying ahead of consumer trends,

a core focus for 2024.

understanding customer needs, and bringing its brands to life in

“We aim to achieve this through our commitment to building

ways that are creative, distinctive and memorable.

brands for the long term, supported by a highly capable team and

He said: “The opportunities [of 2024] lie in the breadth and depth

ensuring that we are investing in disruptive activations and impactful

of our portfolio that showcases multiple categories and speaks to an

advertising campaigns that deliver significant reach and engagement

array of drinking occasions.

in the Australian market.

“From our luxury single malts under Glenfiddich and The Balvenie

“Innovation in our premium liquids, doubling down on growth

through to our premium crowd pleasers such as Hendrick’s and Monkey

of our challenger brands and extending our luxury credentials will

Shoulder and our cocktail enhancers with the De Kuyper range of

form the building blocks of 2024.”

liqueurs and schnapps, we are well placed for growth in 2024.”

76 | National Liquor News

Research & Associations

To make the smartest business decisions, it’s important to have the most up-to-date and useful insights from across the market. In this section, thought leaders from our industry associations, data organisations and researchers reveal key predictions and things to watch in the retail industry in 2024, while analysing some of the most important reflections of 2023.

Activate Group Australia

Activate Group responds to a dynamic customer environment With a fast moving and competitive liquor market, Activate Group is connecting retailers to the resources they need to adapt and grow.

Keith Quigg Managing Director Activate Group Australia

Not only was 2023 a milestone year for Activate Group Australia, as it celebrated its 40-year anniversary, but it was also a year of transition. Several long-term directors departed to make space for younger leaders, and it was the first time that Activate Group welcomed non-member directors onto the board. Activate Group Managing Director Keith Quigg told National Liquor News that this has proven to be a positive change. “The rewards of bringing in non-member directors has started to take effect and the direction of the group has changed positively. “One of the key values that younger members bring is know-how in connecting with the younger employees within the retail industry. While the level and quality of service provided by members is recognised at senior level, it is important that we can engage with the younger and upcoming managers. They will be the ones making the sales and

environment, Quigg expects the tone of

promotional controls will expand rapidly,

marketing decisions in the not-to-distant

advertising to change.

which is where Activate members come in.


future and it is essential that they are fully

“Advertising in liquor has consistently

“The expansion outside the major brand

aware of Activate and our services,” he said.

taken a rather ‘ocker’ approach. Advertising

producers with the plethora of small-

agencies may find that a more middle-of-

to-medium enterprise (SME) breweries

A competitive market

the-road approach is necessary to keep up

and distilleries will see those companies

Looking to 2024, Quigg is conscious of the

with the liquor consumer trends,” he said.

seeking support for their plans to enter the

increasing number of new products entering

Additionally, Quigg anticipates that more

mainstream markets. Outsourcing is their

the market, and the potential challenges this

retailers will seek out external services to

could pose for retailers.

support the expansion of their businesses.

Activate provides a network for its

“The key battles will be for the major

“Liquor is a market that continues to

members to find these services, regardless of

brands to fend off the possibly overwhelming

evolve, and, like fast-moving consumer

the branch of retail that members work within.

rush of new brands into the market. Part of

goods (FMCG), it is primarily in the hands

“For a long time, members were

that battle is being able to second-guess the

of major retail groups. Competition in

perceived as FMCG only. This is far from the

millennial consumer’s interest in moving

liquor is also evolving and along with this

case. Activate members provide outsourced

away from known brands and towards the

evolution comes the need to fine-tune brand

services across the entire industry, providing

unknown,” he said.

management. The use of outsourced services

to blue-chip clients, SME clients and to the

for merchandising, data collation and

major retailers directly,” Quigg said.




78 | National Liquor News


only option,” he said.

Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code

ABAC introduces new Code amid rise in complaints As the ABAC celebrates its 25th anniversary, a new Code has been introduced to keep pace with changing marketing and advertising methods.

Tony Smith Chair ABAC

2023 marked a significant milestone for the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC), celebrating 25 years of regulation of alcohol marketing in Australia. In that time, the ABAC has proved to be a powerful industry watchdog, having considered 31,557 pre-vetting requests, 4,742 of which were rejected before reaching market, delivered industry compliance training to more than 3,700 participants, and adjudicated 922 public complaints. In 2023, Harry Jenkins AO retired after five years at the helm of ABAC, succeeded by ABAC Chair Tony Smith who stepped into

New ABAC Code The heart of the ABAC Scheme is the ABAC Responsible Alcohol Marketing Code, and following an extensive 15-month public consultation process and comprehensive review, a new Code was launched in April 2023 and fully implemented from 1 January 2024. Smith said: “The strengthened Code includes changes in key areas to further protect minors from exposure to alcohol advertising and

Responsible digital marketing In December 2023 the ABAC released a revised Best Practice Guide for Digital Marketing, outlining the application of Code standards to digital marketing, and supporting industry members to make socially responsible choices. “The ABAC Code requires that age restrictions are used to exclude minors from receiving alcohol ads via digital media,” says Smith. “The best practice recommendations go further and in

to keep pace with changing marketing and advertising methods on

addition to providing guidance on working with influencers,

social and digital media.”

and moderation of user generated content, outline a wide

Key changes include extension of the Code to no- and low-alcohol beverages, clearer restrictions preventing alcohol being positioned as a coping mechanism or negatively portraying the choice to abstain, and stronger placement restrictions on alcohol advertisements.

range of currently available measures to further reduce the risk of ads reaching minors. “We encourage alcohol companies to draw this important guide to the attention of all their marketers, ad agencies, digital agencies and influencers. Familiarity with the guide

Complaints increase In 2023, the ABAC saw complaints increase after a significant decline

will help digital marketers meet community expectations and avoid complaints.”

in 2022. The ABAC Adjudication Panel received 207 complaints with 127 referred for adjudication, compared with 126 complaints received and 69 referred for adjudication in the previous year. “Alcohol marketing communications having strong or evident appeal to minors continues to be a significant cause of complaints and Code breaches,” says Smith.

“In addition, 2023 saw a large increase in breaches of the safety standard, mostly due to complaints about social media posts depicting the consumption of alcohol before or during water-based activities, particularly in swimming pools. “Digital marketing communications, especially on Facebook and

“The Panel considered a wide range of marketing, but importantly

Instagram, are most likely to raise the concerns of complainants, and

considered for the first time, the use of a well-known soft drink

as in prior years, feature heavily in upheld determinations. Alcohol

brand on alcohol packaging, finding it had strong or evident appeal

packaging is also an area that commonly attracts complaints and

to minors.

breaches of the Code.”

February 2024 | 79


the role late last year.

SAVE THE DATE Wednesday 30 October 2024 The Star Event Centre Sydney

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Brewers Association of Australia

Australia’s brewing sector

John Preston, CEO, Brewers Association of Australia, shares an update on the association’s achievements over the past 12 months and its plans for the year ahead.

John Preston CEO Brewers Association of Australia

“We have a fantastic brewing industry here in Australia and we play a critical role in supporting suppliers, particularly in the agricultural sector, across the country.” – John Preston


For beer in 2023, we saw the launch of the Parliamentary Friends

Consumers continue to embrace mid-strength beer and zero

of Beer Group, which brings together Federal MPs of all parties

strength beer is growing rapidly. Low carbohydrate beers are also

to support Australia’s fantastic brewing sector. The Group was

now an established sub-category within beer with consumers

launched at an event at Parliament House in Canberra early in

increasingly looking for more choice in terms of product content.

the year, which provided a fantastic opportunity for brewers large

Linked to this is the work the Brewers Association has done

and small to meet with Federal MPs and Ministers and discuss the

with Food Standards Australia and New Zealand to ensure that the

challenges for our sector.

reviews they have underway into labelling of energy content and

Going into 2024, we will continue to build on this success and

statements relating to sugar and carbohydrate content mean that

work with MPs to show how critical the brewing sector is for

beer drinkers get the information they want on the label. This will

Australia and particularly for our farmers who provide the barley

continue to be a priority for the Brewers Association and the alcohol

and hops, which make our beer so special.

industry more broadly into 2024.

Two more significant beer tax increases in 2023 and another on

We have a fantastic brewing industry here in Australia and we play

the way in early February 2024 mean that the high rate of beer tax in

a critical role in supporting suppliers, particularly in the agricultural

Australia continues to be an issue for everyone involved in brewing.

sector, across the country. We are looking forward to another year

The Brewers Association has done a lot of work over the past two or

of working with our supply chain to highlight our sector and keep

three years to ensure that everyone understands how high the tax is,

delivering for our consumers.

particularly compared to other beer producing countries, and the impact this has on brewers and beer drinkers. 82 | National Liquor News

This article was written by John Preston, CEO, Brewers Association of Australia.

Cider Australia

Cider Australia celebrates new category trends The industry body observed several emerging trends in 2023, from preferences for local produce to no-alcohol offerings.

Warwick Billings President Cider Australia

From the annual AusCider conference to the 2023 Australian Cider Awards, it was a successful year for Cider Australia and the industry, despite experiencing a cooler summer. “Cider sells when the sun shines,” said Warwick Billings, President of Cider Australia. “That said, craft cider is holding its own as cider drinkers increasingly look for local and relevant offerings. “Novel flavours continue to pop up and give the cider category a hold in the seltzer/RTD/beer/sour area, but the heartland of wellmade apple cider remains strong.”

Recognising success Held in October last year, Billings says the 2023 Australian Cider Awards, where Californian Educator and Pommelier Darlene Hayes appeared as a guest judge, was a resounding success. “The number and standard of entries received was encouraging, with our judges awarding more medals across the board than ever we had winners from all cider regions and a mix of established and newer entrants on the podium. “Entries of no-alcohol ciders grew as expected, sufficient to carve

Staying relevant With an established place in the industry, Billings says the organisation has undertaken strategic planning to ensure its focus remains relevant in years to come.

out a new, standalone class. Entries of traditional ciders also increased,

“We’d like to get more involvement from the bigger

as did the number of single varietal ciders made from purpose grown

players, so that we can all talk together about simplifying

cider fruit. Specialty classes performed well, with producers showing

some rules and encouraging innovation that is hampered by

finesse at integrating fruits, herbs and spices in their cider.”

entrenched views on what cider should be.

Another notable trend was the growth of cans as a packaging format, Billings recalls. “Thirty-six per cent of entries were packaged in cans, a 34 per cent year-on-year increase and more than double the proportion in cans than seen four years ago. At this rate, cans will soon overtake

“We’ll also give the 100 per cent Australian Grown trust mark more airspace, to help consumers identify craft ciders made from locally grown fruit. Our trust mark was on the labels of a record 69 per cent of entries in the awards last year, and we’re aiming for even higher this year.”

small format glass bottles as the container of choice for Australian craft cider.”

alternative to wine, and many people are experimenting with cofermenting wine and cider together.

Category innovation

“De-alcoholised ciders, as opposed to lightly fermented, are

Looking forward, Billings sees a number of emerging trends

beginning to appear in Australia and it will be interesting to see

gaining traction.

how these perform against their beer and wine contemporaries.

“We’re expecting consumers to keep seeking out Australian-made

Australian producers are entering this space carefully and seeking

craft cider with growth in this segment pushing up the category average.

out advice from technical experts on how to retain the flavour and

“There is massive interest overseas in cider as a low-alcohol

texture that customers expect.”

February 2024 | 83


before. The gala presentation dinner in Melbourne was well attended,


RTD leads the way, but is beer back?

Will Granter, Senior Associate Consultant at Circana, examines the growth of RTDs in 2023 and the categories we should expect to see boom in 2024.


2023 was undoubtedly the year of Ready to Drink (RTD) Spirits,

There has been an increased consumer preference for vodka-

dominating the liquor market and outperforming all other categories

based, citrus flavoured RTD beverages. If a new or existing brand

for dollar growth. The sheer quantity of options available on shelf

is looking to quickly succeed, a core range revolving around these

to consumers is remarkable, with both new entrants and ongoing

attributes may be the best not-so-secret recipe. However, it’s never

brands demanding greater space through unique selling points,

that simple. The brands driving RTD have complemented this

influencer ties, nostalgic branding and flavour innovation.

recipe with zest, vibrancy and familiarity across all elements of their

There’s no hiding from the cost-of-living squeeze facing all

marketing mix. The almost boundless range of playful premixed

Australians, who are stretching their dollar further than they have

drinks from Billson’s, including Fruit Tangle, Creamy Soda and

ever needed to before. The growth recognised by RTD is even more

Advent Calendar exclusives, have led the brand to the top position

impressive when placed alongside this context, especially from new

for growth in RTD and all liquor. The headline-grabbing Hard

brands, as shoppers tend to stick with the products they know and

Rated (formerly Hard Solo) isn’t far behind, as nostalgic ties to an

love in times of financial uncertainty.

Australian icon land this beverage as a category trailblazer. Flavour

Where has this growth come from? And what can other brands learn from these stories of success? 84 | National Liquor News

playfulness and discernible branding have been the key within RTD, however, category density may reach a tipping point in 2024.


Will 2024 tell a similar story? Or could we be in for a plot twist? Undoubtedly, RTD will continue to record remarkable sales this year, as liquor consumers are clearly drawn towards trendy brands that fit within modern trends, which offer fresh flavours, often low calorie and/or low sugar. Nonetheless, beer is already putting it’s hand up to lead liquor growth in 2024. Plausible growth among brands (including Great Northern, Hahn Super Dry and James Squire) playing off the trends seen in RTD prompt beer to be in the perfect place to further cement itself as the leading liquor category. The growing presence of midstrength, low calorie and new flavour options in a mature category is truly encouraging. What will win this year? And who will drive this? Only time and data will tell…

“Plausible growth among brands (including Great Northern, Hahn Super Dry and James Squire) playing off the trends seen in RTD prompt beer to be in the perfect place to further cement itself as the leading liquor category.”

Data: Circana MarketEdge; Australia


Liquor Weighted; MAT To 03/12/23

February 2024 | 85


A change for the better

DrinkWise highlights a positive shift in the way a majority of Australians are consuming alcoholic beverages.

Author: Simon Strahan CEO DrinkWise

DrinkWise had a great year in 2023, largely driven by increased partnership opportunities



community organisations, media and the industry. These partnerships are critical to the DrinkWise whole-of-community approach, whereby the combined efforts of multiple stakeholders will lead to better overall outcomes (as opposed to individual or exclusionary approaches). Opportunities allowed new audiences to be reached, increased awareness of positive attitudinal and behavioural changes towards alcohol and more sustainable in-situ (venue) alcohol education messaging.

Reinforcing those improved behaviours is

active steps to reduce their overall

New and expanded programs in 2023

important and will see a refresh of some

alcohol consumption, through options

saw DrinkWise activate initiatives in

existing successful campaigns, such as

such as lower-strength or zero alcohol

conjunction with: the Parliamentary

How to Drink Properly and You won’t miss

alternatives, should be encouraged to

Friends of Preventative and Public Health

a moment if you DrinkWise. v

continue to moderate.


(Federal); a range of alcohol support

Importantly, some of these cultural

This, again, reflects the essential nature

services, the Queensland Government;

changes (such as the changing consumption

of partnerships. DrinkWise has been able



habits of those attending Schoolies) have

to increase its presence in a variety of

Clubs Queensland; New South Wales

sparked the interest of media, allowing

ways because of the willingness of media,

Government; New South Wales Police;

more stories that highlight how things

sporting organisations, support services,

South Australian Government; South

have changed for the better. This causes

government, academic institutions,

Australia Police; AHA South Australia;

the broader community to rethink their

community organisations and industry

the University of Adelaide; and the

relationship with alcohol and understand

recognising that supporting a consistent

Australian Wine Research Institute. These

the need to cut back if consuming at risky

message around alcohol education and

initiatives were in addition to the ongoing

levels – or abstain if underage, pregnant

moderation will have better results.

work to extend DrinkWise messaging

or having trouble managing consumption

through opportunities with DrinkWise

and behaviour.


contributors, the AHA and Retail

Of course, we still have a proportion of people that consume at risky levels,

It is also apparent through underage

which is why ongoing education is critical.

and adult abstinence rates that the notion

DrinkWise will continue to explore

In 2024, as we see the overwhelming

of pressure to consume is disappearing.

each and every opportunity to reach

majority of Australians that choose to drink

The community at large is – and should

those people in an effort to help them cut

do so in moderation and responsibly, it

be – confident to not drink if that is

back or abstain so that we can continue

allows the DrinkWise messaging to evolve

their choice and should be supported in

to see reductions in risky alcohol

to reflect those positive cultural changes.

that decision. Likewise, people taking


Drinks Australia.

86 | National Liquor News

Euromonitor International

Australia’s evolving retail liquor industry Euromonitor International’s Head of Research, Tim Foulds, and Research Analyst, Arshad Mawla, explore opportunities for liquor retailers in 2024. The Australian liquor industry is experiencing a significant transformation in the way it operates and engages with consumers. This is driven primarily by digital transformation, which has reshaped the overall retail landscape, and evident from the accelerated shift to e-commerce during the pandemic. Following which, the majority of fastmoving consumer good (FMCG) categories now have elevated levels of e-commerce sales. Direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales have also emerged as a potential area of growth, and this shift is in response to greater consumer expectations, the proliferation of online channels, and the advent of new business models such as marketplaces.

Shift to online: Wine sales are heavily over-indexed in e-commerce compared to other alcoholic drinks

white wine. On the other hand, during the

handling of products. However, spirits and

summer months when temperatures are

wine have a much higher share of sales

When it comes to the online sale of wine

highest, white wine exceeded red wine by

through e-commerce. Further segmenting

in Australia, the shift to e-commerce

25 per cent in the first quarter of 2023.

the wine category, still white wine and still


accelerated during the pandemic with

Additionally, analysis has shown that

red wine have much stronger proportional

wine sales being heavily over-indexed in

consumers still prefer to purchase sparkling

sales in e-commerce channels compared

e-commerce compared to other alcoholic

wine in-store, due to the tactile experience

with sparkling wine.

drinks. Euromonitor’s e-commerce

of interacting with the product and the

solution reveals that the sale of wine in

gratification of purchasing a product with

Potential of direct-to-consumer sales

Australia accounts for more than 37 per

a high price point in-person. However,

The Australian wine industr y is

cent of alcoholic drinks sales online,

Australian shoppers tend to prefer

experiencing a significant transformation

while just 23 per cent of sales are made

purchasing still red and white wine online,

in the way it operates and engages with

through traditional bricks-and-mortar

given the superior selection and information

consumers. This is primarily driven by

retail channels.

that online retailers provide.

digital transformation reshaping the

The seasonal preferences of consumers

On the other hand, bulky and often

overall retail landscape, with direct-to-

also come into play for sales over the course

impulse purchased categories such as

consumer sales emerging as a potential

of the year. For instance, red wine performed

Ready-To-Drinks (RTDs) are more heavily

area of growth in the industry. This

the strongest in Australia’s winter months of

indexed at bricks-and-mortar channels. This

shift is in response to greater consumer

July to September, with 40 per cent higher

is given consumers’ preferences in terms of

expectations, the proliferation of online

sales compared with online sales of still

temperature, as well as the shipping and

channels, and the advent of new business

88 | National Liquor News

Euromonitor International

models like marketplaces. The rise of these models signifies a significant evolution in the retail sector, impacting how retailers and brands collaborate. The prospect of DTC sales is especially promising, as consumers are increasingly seeking personalised experiences and direct connections with wineries and vineyards, and DTC offers a unique avenue for such engagements. When it comes to beer, traditional brick-and-mortar stores still dominate in Australia. Beer is more of an impulse

there is certainly demand for in-store

curious’. This group of consumers do not

purchase than wine, with an absence of

experiences. For instance, consumers

necessarily abstain from alcohol altogether

collectors and aficionados as with wine.

still prefer to purchase sparkling wine

but aim to reduce their consumption.

Most liquor stores carry a wide range of both

(including Champagne) in-store because

Younger consumers in particular have been

traditional beer and craft beer, negating a

of the tactile experience of interacting

embodying the ‘less but better’ mantra when

key draw for buying wine online, namely

with the product and the gratification of

it comes to alcohol consumption. Mindful

the availability of smaller, difficult-to-

purchasing a product with a high price

drinking and sober curiosity, dry venues,

find brands. Furthermore, drive-throughs

point in-person.

and NoLo focused retailers are blurring

purchases practical.

Within beer, consumers are moving away from traditional strong-tasting beer to those

the lines between the alcoholic and nonalcoholic universes.

Despite the many benefits of the DTC

with a fresher of lighter taste profile, hence

New formulations are targeting a

model, it is not without its challenges. The

Corona is the most popular imported beer

plethora of consumption occasions; with

future prospects for DTC are not as flawless

in Australia. Flavoured beer – such as fruit

more of them increasingly replacing

as they may have previously seemed.

– is also increasing in popularity, especially

simplistic de-alcoholising approaches and

Several challenges have emerged that

among younger consumers, and there is a

experimentation with new ingredients.

cast a shadow over the sector, including a

plethora of interesting craft flavours and

This makes the NoLo landscape one of

softer consumer sentiment, and the initial

varieties available to the consumer.

the most innovative and exciting in the

novelty of DTC has worn off for some.

The RTD category has also performed

alcohol ecosystem. This once niche trend

Furthermore, challenges of this model

well in Australia, driven by the growing

is now established, evolving, and holds

remain, including increased competition

popularity of products like hard seltzers. As

much untapped potential. Overall, health

and greater responsibilities for brands.

part of their appeal, RTDs offer consumers a

and wellness concerns are likely to remain

more convenient method of enjoying their

at the forefront of consumers’ minds, with

Evolution of consumer preferences

favourite cocktail flavour combinations.

the moderation trend, sober curiosity, and

The palate of Australian consumers is

New product development is particularly

sugar avoidance shaping innovation in the

evolving, with younger consumers of legal

strong in the RTD category with many new

liquor industry.

drinking age in particular preferring easy

brands jumping on the premiumisation

The liquor industry has been evolving

drinking products with a light and fresh

trend, resulting in higher quality products

over the years, driven by factors such as

flavour profile. This sees consumers shifting

for consumers.

digital transformation and the rise of sales

away from heavier flavours such as Shiraz

through channels such as e-commerce and

Sober-curiosity and moderation on the rise

DTC. Additionally, changing consumer

Consumers are also becoming

According to Euromonitor’s research,

trends have unveiled new opportunities for

increasingly educated when it comes

the trend of moderation has continued

retailers and industry players to identify

to wine and are seeking sophisticated

to grow in Australia in the last two years,

where they fit in, and to tap onto these

drinking experiences. This shows that

with more consumers becoming ‘sober-

potential areas of growth.

in wine, towards lighter still rosé wine and sparkling wine.

lifestyles and preferences led by new

February 2024 | 89


proliferate in Australia, making heavier

Growth Scope

Category Double Jeopardy: Why penetration is crucial Growth Scope examines why category strategy is even more critical for brands in smaller categories.

Author: Irene Rix Director - Data & Analytics Growth Scope

Marketing Double Jeopardy

Category penetration: The percentage of Australian alcohol

As many marketers are aware, brands with smaller market share tend

consumers who consumed the category within the last month.

to experience a lower level of loyalty within their customer base.

Category loyalty: Of those who do consume the category, the

This combined effect of a smaller number of customers together

percentage who chose that category for any given consumption

with a lower share of wallet within that base is referred to as ‘Double


Jeopardy’, a concept widely researched and publicised by Andrew Ehrenberg and Byron Sharp. Double Jeopardy means that smaller brands need to work even harder to grow, and that their growth will predominantly come from

What we found The results clearly show that categories are subject to a Double Jeopardy effect.


improving penetration. So, the growth strategies of smaller brands

Across all categories (e.g. beer, cider, red wine), there was a 96

should focus on penetration ahead of directly addressing customer

per cent correlation* between penetration – the size of the customer

loyalty, which can come later.

base – and loyalty within that customer base. That is, categories with

But what if it’s not just brands? Could smaller categories and even subcategories be at risk of Double Jeopardy in the same way that smaller brands are? The team at Growth Scope set out to find out.

What we did Growth Scope is a liquor insights platform with data on more than 40,000 liquor consumption occasions across Australia. To find out whether Double Jeopardy extends beyond brands to categories, the Growth Scope team evaluated two metrics across the Growth Scope database of liquor occasions: 90 | National Liquor News

higher penetration also enjoyed higher loyalty, while categories with lower penetration tended to have lower loyalty.

Growth Scope

For example, looking at two categories at different ends of

documented brand Double Jeopardy effect, it suggests that there may

the spectrum:

be a ‘Quadruple Jeopardy’ effect for small brands in small categories: 1.

The category has a small(er) pool of consumers (first category jeopardy)


The category makes up a smaller proportion of consumption even within that category’s consumers (category Double Jeopardy)


The brand gets a small proportion of the category’s consumers (first brand jeopardy)

Results at a subcategory level (e.g. craft beer, apple cider, shiraz, fortified wine) show a similar pattern: there is a 92 per cent


The brand makes up a smaller proportion of consumption even within that brand’s consumers (brand Double Jeopardy)

correlation** between penetration and loyalty within the base. This means subcategories with higher penetration like shiraz or vodka have much higher loyalty within their customers than lower penetration subcategories like fortified wine or seltzer. For example:

* ** Both correlations were highly significant with p<0.01 This means that category planning is more important than ever, and

What it means

brands operating in smaller categories or subcategories may benefit

The strong relationship between penetration and loyalty to

more from growing category penetration than previously thought.

categories means penetration drives growth twice because – for

For Australian liquor brands looking to level up their category

example – each ‘fortified wine drinker’ is worth less to the fortified

planning, Growth Scope is Australia’s leading insights platform.

wine subcategory than each ‘shiraz drinker’ is worth to the shiraz

With the largest database of Australian liquor consumption

subcategory, and this loyalty is driven by penetration.

occasions, and new data monthly, Growth Scope helps

This category-level Double Jeopardy effect is on top of that

brands to keep their finger on the pulse of the ever-evolving

already found at a brand level and has implications for the interplay

market. For more information contact Growth Scope at

of category and brand strategy. When taken together with the


February 2024 | 91

Insight – Norrelle Goldring

Craft beer:

the shakeout we had to have?

A perfect storm of economic, manufacturer and consumer-driven factors have seen craft beer take a dive since the pre-Covid and Covid high times. So, where to from here?

In the first half of 2023 alone, 35 Australian craft

per 74,000 people, and the higher number nearly equal

breweries went into insolvency, nearly as many as for

to the world’s highest per capita craft brewery market,

the entirety of 2022 . The back half of 2023 saw further

the UK, with one brewery per 37,000 people2.


receivership and administration announcements.

This wasn’t so much of a problem when shoppers

These have been the result of a range of events and

were buying craft beer like the clappers during

factors, not just CPI related, or government imposed.

Covid because they had more money, courtesy of

Below I take a macro spin through the events of the

government handouts like JobKeeper and JobSeeker,

past few years and their impact on the craft beer sector,

and fewer options to spend it on when they couldn’t

and the potential outlook for the near term.

go out or travel. And some consumers – the beer geeks

Author: Norrelle Goldring

in particular – were dying to experiment to relieve the


The way we were – Covid

boredom of lockdowns in some states, a challenge ably

The seeds were sown pre-Covid, with craft breweries

met by breweries producing ‘out there’ often esoteric

mushrooming and a number putting substantial effort

and arty styles and ingredients, regularly with higher

into education and community building.

ABVs. At the same time, government handouts and

About Norrelle Goldring Norrelle Goldring has spent 20+ years in

Depending on the source and measurement metric,

tax stays meant breweries could operate profitably

the liquor and FMCG

the number of independent breweries in Australia by

with arguably fewer costs, at a time consumer demand

industries in strategy,

2021 ranged from 350 to 700, although the upper end

was high.

research, category

of the range could be partially explained by ‘zombie’

This relative utopia, during which some breweries

brewery labels without their own tanks or taprooms

expanded their enterprises through capital investment

for manufacturers,

simply subcontracting others to manufacture. The

and acquisitions, would not endure. The Covid

retailers and consulting

Australian market was at saturation point. To illustrate

lockdown and supply chain issue-driven increase

houses. Contact her on

this in brewery-per-capita terms, the lower number put

in consumer parochialism, disguised as ‘supporting

Australia nearly on par with the USA, with one brewery

local’, was just one omen.

92 | National Liquor News

and marketing roles


Insight – Norrelle Goldring

The post-Covid fallout: inflation and the cost-of-living crisis

consumer cross-category repertoires have increased, and pervading

Once the Covid government handouts stopped, some consumers

becoming increasingly difficult.

parochialism means nationwide, or even statewide, distribution is

began belt tightening, even in advance of interest rate rises.

Craft breweries that will endure need to have a well-known brand

Government business handouts ceased and the ATO came calling

and have their own taprooms to create brand experience, even if at

on independent brewers who hadn’t paid tax during the Covid

the expense of some on-premise venue ranging. To actively create

years, at a time that consumer spend per purchase on craft beer was

and educate communities and not just assume people will come for

beginning to fall. Cost-of-goods, transport and shipping increased

the product alone. To produce familiar style beers that are quality,


value for money, and consistent in both quality and supply. They

Consumer on-premise visitation failed to return to pre- Covid levels (at time of writing it is still only around 75 per cent) through

could consider expanding into styles and categories that are growing, such as ginger beers, RTDs and seltzers.

a combination of Covid-learned health-concern paranoia and

They should consider restaurants as a distribution supplement to

unaffordability through a succession of interest rate rises. (Taprooms

pubs, particularly for more innovative styles because consumers are

remain fraught; consumers, particularly sub-35-year-olds go for the

more likely to experiment in the on-premise than the off-premise.

experience, but some on-premise venues refuse to range breweries

They need to reduce expectations of statewide and local ranging;

who have their own taproom).

instead assuming constrained volumes through a hyper-local market

These rises further dented consumer discretionary incomes.

in financials, capital expenditure and operating costs. And therefore,

Consumers began trading down; from cases into four and six-

sew up the local market around the brewery in its entirety, before

packs, from craft back into mainstream labels, and moved away from

looking further afield.

expensive multiple hopped and high ABV or experimental beers into more familiar territory such as hazys. Or increasingly, brewing

In sum, do the basics well; offer a good product and price point, with an authentic story. Stick to the proverbial knitting.

their own beer3. And accelerating their shift into seltzers, RTDs, gin,

The past couple of years in Australian craft brewing may turn out

Bourbon, and conversely no- and low-alcohol (NoLo) alternatives.

to be the shakeout we had to have. Those who survive will be the

With less money in which to operate, lower consumer demand,

smartest operators who meet, and cultivate, the market. Not merely

the ATO calling, market saturation, and consumer shift into other

the most innovative.

categories, craft breweries, particularly those who had perhaps overextended themselves during the Covid years, began to feel the pinch. Some have met the market by producing four-packs at consumer-friendly price points, or moving into more familiar styles such as lagers (although it remains to be seen how many consumers will pay substantially more for a craft lager than a mainstream lager that is the heartland of the two global brewers). Many are

Sources: 1 2,U.S.%20and%2016%20 in%20Germany. 3

shifting away from using salaried sales representatives and back into distributors and focusing more on banner groups and wholesalers.


Brewery closures have been the result of a perfect storm of increased input costs, market saturation, overexpansion, expensive and niche products made for only a minority of the market, declining consumer demand, and reduced consumer discretionary incomes. As disinflation (reducing inflation levels) and deflation (actual falling prices) occur over the next 12 months to two years, theoretically consumer wallets should open a little more and craft should see an uptick. However, as much as I hate to break it to you, the halcyon days of craft beer in Australia are likely over. It’s no longer the coolest kid on the block. The market has become more fragmented; February 2024 | 93

Independent Brewers Association

IBA advocates for members amid adversity Independent brewers have been faced with numerous challenges over the last 12 months but were backed by continued support from the IBA.

Kylie Lethbridge CEO Independent Brewers Association

With economic pressures, excise increases, and softening consumption, last year posed significant challenges for the independent brewing industry. In 2024, the Independent Brewers Association (IBA) will continue to support its members throughout the challenges of 2023, lobbying for government action, providing timely resources, applying for grants and ensuring members have a chance to catch up, support each other and celebrate all things indies. According to IBA CEO Kylie Lethbridge, the alcohol excise is a significant burden on independent brewers. “Australia has the third highest tax rate on beer manufacturing in the world. The Consumer Price Index rate, which determines the indexation of alcohol excise, is directly correlated with inflation, with excise rates increasing every six months. In 2023, the rate increased by nearly eight per cent, which was a massive blow to the cost of manufacturing for breweries,” she said. This was not the result that the IBA expected from the postCovid period.

With consumers dealing with their own economic pressures, the


“After two years of reduced business, the industry was looking

beer sector is becoming more competitive, and premium-priced

forward to a strong recovery, only to be hit by massive increases in

independent breweries are unable to match the prices of larger

costs for CO2 (up by 50 per cent), raw materials (up by 37 per cent),

companies. Additionally, the growing popularity of RTDs has

and packaging and freight, as well as staff shortages,” Lethbridge said.

negatively impacted the market share of independent beer. “There is no single cause of the challenges facing independent

Government demands Lethbridge outlined the short-, medium-, and long-term actions that the IBA is calling for from government bodies. 1.

Support for the IBA to secure the future of our Australian independent beer industry.


Development of a national framework to support the industry in the longer term – a national policy.


Freeze indexation of alcohol excise for a period of two years.


Index the excise remission in line with excise rates.


Offer an extension/allow for flexibility for pay back terms for those independent breweries carrying an excise debt as a result of deferrals during the pandemic.


Support small brewing businesses to convert to more sustainable sources of energy.

brewing – rather it is a layering of decades of structural challenges in the brewing industry, together with broader economic issues and increasing regulatory burdens,” Lethbridge said. However, independent brewers are adapting to the difficult economic circumstances through investing in technology to improve efficiency and diversify product offerings. “Although the story we paint is dire, we have still seen some positive signs of breweries being innovative, adapting styles, and responding to consumer trends by creating more brewed seltzer and products like hop water,” Lethbridge said. In this difficult climate, Lethbridge believes the most important thing for the independent beer industry is continued support from industry and consumers. “At this time, more than ever, we need drinkers to support their community breweries, our Aussie small businesses. It’s the only way many of our members will get through this,” she said.

94 | National Liquor News

Liquor Stores Association of Western Australia

LSA WA champions its industry members

While alcohol restrictions continue to change in the retail sector, LSA WA CEO Peter Peck says fair regulations are the primary focus of the association.

2023 was an important year for liquor retailers in Western Australia,

Peter Peck CEO LSA WA

with the strengthening of the Banned Drinks Register (BDR) to

Tequila comes out on top

improve its effectiveness in reducing alcohol-related harm, a reform

Australia’s liquor market continues to evolve year-on-year,

widely welcomed by the industry.

with new trends already emerging across all categories.

Amid changing liquor retail restrictions in 2023, Liquor Stores Association of Western Australia (LSA WA) CEO Peter Peck says the association has communicated with the Government behind closed doors to advocate for its members. “It really comes down to us communicating with the Government and working with them to make sure they don’t make decisions based on haste. “We will continue to advocate and ensure that the Government

Despite the continued growth of RTDs, Peck predicts that spirits will dominate liquor retail in the year ahead. “I really believe that gin is going to keep moving, and vodka will be a big player. But surprisingly to me, tequila has really started to show its head and in so many different variations. “The variants of tequila are mind-blowing, with plenty of new releases coming directly from Mexico. Tequila is the one to watch.”

is well informed about the ramifications of what they may put in place, and the damage that ill-thought-out restrictions can have on

“By being constantly vigilant and on our front foot, we’ve been

communities and small businesses, and the lack of effect it has on

able to diffuse situations with the Government, and put ideas in place

the people they’re challenging.”

that have led to balanced programs. There will always be challenges,

of the association’s role, and it’s the commitment to members that allows LSA WA to be a powerful voice for the industry.

but that’s why we’re here, to be a solid partner for every one of our members,” says Peck. “We’re here to make sure our members aren’t regulated out of existence. We need to keep people’s doors open, the tools rolling, and people employed, and we’ll use every tool in our toolbox to make sure that happens.”

A night to remember A highlight in the calendar for WA liquor retailers is the annual LSA WA Liquor Industry Awards. Returning to the Hyatt Regency in Perth for its 28th year, Peck says members engaged with members of Parliament and celebrated the hard work of the industry. A new addition to the ceremony was the Employee of the Year award, an age-inclusive replacement for the Young Liquor Retailer of the Year award based on how big an advocate you are for your industry. “We had a fantastic winner, Guy Southern of Copper and Oak, who is just a walking liquor encyclopedia and a really deserving recipient of the award. It was a coming of age. By making a broader award it invites more people to be recognised, who in the past may Guy Southern of Copper and Oak

have slipped through the cracks. It’s about passion, advocacy, and a real connection to the industry,” says Peck.

February 2024 | 95


Anticipating the challenges that lie ahead is an important part

New Zealand Winegrowers

Fertile ground for New Zealand Winegrowers New Zealand Winegrowers saw a year of record export growth in 2023, reflecting a growing international interest in New Zealand wine.

Catherine Wansink Australia Market Consultant New Zealand Winegrowers

Despite economic and environmental challenges over the course of 2023, the export industry for New Zealand wine grew significantly, as Catherine Wansink, New Zealand Winegrowers Australia Market Consultant, explains. “Our wine exports have surged to new record levels with the largest ever oneyear growth, lifting 23 per cent in value to $2.4 billion. With value growth outpacing volume (+19 per cent), it is clear consumers are prepared to pay for the distinctive flavours and commitment to quality that New Zealand wines deliver,” she said. Additionally, during 2023, New Zealand Winegrowers made significant inroads in defining its international brand identity. “We launched our new brand platform, New Zealand Wine Altogether Unique,


the result of defining the brand essence of New Zealand wine and its accompanying

Premium potential Premiumisation offers a significant opportunity for the New Zealand wine industry, with growing interest in premium Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc. “All these varieties strongly reflect New Zealand’s unique terroir and huge diversity of regions, providing an opportunity to continue building our own niche in the market with a consistent story of provenance and what makes New Zealand wine unique and different,” Wansink said. This will help to insulate the New Zealand wine industry from other economic challenges.

new visual identity. Telling the story of

“We are extremely optimistic about the year ahead, although we are aware of

what makes New Zealand wine unique and

challenges in the current operating environment, such as increasing business costs

distinctive is particularly important in the

and the destocking of global supply chains.”

Australian market,” Wansink said. The quality of New Zealand wine was

producers are facing daily and is impacting

“This programme was well received by

recognised with Hawke’s Bay being named

day-to-day decisions. To address this

members and provides a good model for

one of 12 Great Wine Capitals of the World.

challenge, the Bragato Research Institute,

future emergency responses,” Wansink said.

“This shows that while New Zealand’s

our wholly owned research subsidiary, has

Looking to the future, New Zealand

wine growing industry is still young, we

research programmes in place to develop

Winegrowers will focus on building the

offer quality to rival the world’s oldest,”

new planting material to meet the challenges

Pinot Noir New Zealand 2025 conference

Wansink said.

of a climate-altered world,” Wansink said.

and continuing to progress towards the

Unfortunately, climate change and

Additionally, support was provided to

Roadmap to Carbon Zero 2050. Additionally,

extreme weather events affected the New

vineyards and wineries to mitigate damage

New Zealand Winegrowers will capitalise

Zealand wine industry in 2023.

caused by Cyclone Gabrielle in the North

on the opportunities presented by market

“As with other primary industries,

Island, with specialist viticultural experts

premiumisation, style and sub-regional

climate change is one of the major challenges

providing producers with on the ground

diversification of Sauvignon Blanc, and less

facing our sector; it is now a reality that

advice to recover affected vineyards.

common varietals.

96 | National Liquor News

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Retail Drinks Australia

Retail Drinks Australia celebrates five years Through economic challenges and rising retail crime, Retail Drinks Australia continues to give a voice to the retail liquor industry.

Celebrating five years since it

able to help hundreds of independent

established, after the consolidation of the

liquor store owners save an average

former state and territory associations,

of $3,648 per annum on energy bills,

2023 marked a milestone year for Retail

$3,785 per annum on merchant fees and

Drinks Australia.

$1,813 on business insurance premiums

Last year, the team held more than

In late 2023, Waters says that Retail

lodged 24 submissions to federal, state

Drinks’ board and management team

and territory regulatory reviews, held

came together for a strategic planning

500 formal meetings with members and

workshop to set the direction of the

stakeholders, and conducted 2,400 store

business for the next five years, and to

visits across the country.

ensure that it remains best equipped

Waters, CEO, Retail Drinks Australia, says the launch of the new Safe to Serve initiative was a highlight.

liquor industry. “As consistently demonstrated over the past five years, Retail Drinks represents


the interests of all packaged liquor

of staff and customer safety] by equipping

retailers in Australia, acting as a consistent

store owners and staff with the necessary

and unified voice to advocate for the

tools and resources to create a safer and

rights of all liquor retail, with all levels of

more secure retail environment.

government. This role is complemented

items near the point of sale, where staff


with the delivery of relevant, cost-effective services to members.


Visit for more information

Online sales In 2023, Retail Drinks Australia launched

are located, rather than near the entrance

“From a policy and advocacy

has meant fewer thefts of those items.”

perspective, we will continue

alcohol sale and delivery sector, having

our proactive engagement with

commissioned Frontier Economics to

Advocating for the industry

governments and policymakers across

undertake a first-of-its-kind study.

Thanks to its position as an essential

the country on a range of policing

service during the pandemic, the liquor

issues, including the development and

million transactions from retailers,

retail market experienced significant

implementation of online alcohol sales

marketplaces, and delivery companies,

growth between 2020 and 2022.

and delivery regulation.

Increased economic pressures proved

“From a member services perspective,

challenging for liquor retailers in 2023

it’s exciting to reveal that after over a year

and resulted in limited growth, an issue

in development, we will shortly launch

that Retail Drinks was able to support

our new Industry Training platform,

its members with.

which includes nine new online learning

“Thanks to the ongoing support of our industry partners, Retail Drinks was 100 | National Liquor News


to be a voice for Australia’s retail

“Safe to Serve aims to combat [issues

“Simple steps like placing high value

CEO Retail Drinks Australia

in 2023,” Waters explained.

120 formal meetings with government,

Of the year’s achievements, Michael

Michael Waters

courses specifically tailored for liquor store owners, managers, and staff.”

new research into Australia’s online

“[The research] analysed over $10

representing around 70 per cent of the $2.1 billion online alcohol sale and delivery market,” says Waters. “[It] has provided a robust information base to address knowledge gaps and has helped inform the development of legislation and regulation concerning online alcohol sales and delivery.”


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Roy Morgan

Australia’s changing consumption habits Australian alcohol consumption is higher than pre-pandemic with more than 14 million Australians now consuming alcohol – driven by sustained increases for wine and RTDs, writes Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research.

New data from Roy Morgan’s Alcohol

(14,013,000, 68.1 per cent) aged 18+

extra consumers and in the 12 months to

Consumption Report shows the proportion

consumed alcohol in an average four-week

December 2021 there were 6,759,000 (33.8

of Australians who drink alcohol was at 68.1

period compared to 13,073,000 (66.3 per

per cent) Australians drinking spirits, however

per cent in the 12 months to September

cent) in the year to March 2020 – an increase

this ‘boost’ has now receded. There are now

2023, up by 1.8 per cent points since the

of nearly one million Australians and higher

5,623,000 (27.3 per cent) Australians drinking

pre-pandemic period in the 12 months to

than at any point during the pandemic.

spirits, down slightly from 5,671,000 (28.7 per

March 2020 (66.3 per cent).

The standout alcoholic beverages over the

cent) pre-pandemic.


The number of Australians drinking

course of the pandemic have been RTDs for

In contrast to wine and RTDs, the major

wine, beer and spirits reached pandemic

which consumption increased from 2,138,000

category that hasn’t been able to arrest a

highs during 2021 as Australians were

Australians (10.8 per cent) pre-pandemic and

long-term decline is the beer category.

stuck at home for extended periods during

has more than doubled to 4,319,000 (21.0

Although consumption of beer did increase

the many lockdowns that different parts of

per cent) in late 2023 – a massive increase of

during the early stages of the pandemic this

the country experienced. Consumption of

more than two million people.

momentum quickly dissipated.

all of the ‘big three’ alcoholic beverages has

The most popular alcohol is wine, which

Now under a third of Australians,

since declined over the last two years as we

has stretched its lead over the last few years

6,725,000 (32.7 per cent) consume beer,

emerged from pandemic restrictions.

with the number of Australians drinking

down significantly from the 7,413,000 (37.6

However, consumption of RTDs has

wine increasing from 8,096,000 (41.0 per

per cent) who did so in the 12 months to

continued to increase and in late 2023 is

cent) pre-pandemic to 9,068,000 (44.1 per

March 2020 just before the pandemic struck

now at a record high of well over one-in-

cent) in the 12 months to September 2023

and turned the world upside down during

five Australians.

– an increase of nearly one million people.

much of the past four years.

In the year to September 2023 a total

The spirits category enjoyed a clear

The fifth most popular category alcohol

of more than 14 million Australians

‘pandemic boost’ of more than one million

is cider, which dipped significantly during

102 | National Liquor News

Roy Morgan

Proportion of Australians aged 18+ who consume alcohol in an average four-week period

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, Apr. 2019 – Mar 2020, n=14,632. Oct. 2022 – Sep. 2023, n=62,929. Base: Australians aged 18+.

the pandemic but has since recovered much

pre-mixed spirits/RTDs (860,000) or non-

average four weeks (cf. only 16.1 per cent

of this lost ground. During the 12 months to

alcoholic spirits/gin/whisky/Bourbon

of women) whereas wine is more popular

December 2021 only 1,620,000 (8.1 per cent)

(860,000) – about 4.2 per cent of Australians

among women (46.4 per cent of women, cf.

consumed cider, down by nearly 500,000

aged 18+.

41.6 per cent of men).

compared to pre-pandemic consumption of

Non-alcoholic beer is far more popular with

Although wine has the highest consumption

2,114,000 (10.7 per cent). Since this low point

Australians born in India, China or the Middle

incidence of the types of alcoholic beverages,

in 2021 consumption has recovered by over

East compared to locally born Australians and

beer is clearly the top in terms of volume

300,000 to 1,953,000 (9.5 per cent) in late 2023.

those born in Western countries such as New

(number of glasses). Beer accounts for 39.6

Zealand, the United Kingdom and Ireland or

per cent of the glasses of alcoholic beverages

Europe and North America.

consumed, more than wine (31.3 per cent) and

parts of Asia and the Middle East drive

The same trends are even more evident

consumption of non-alcoholic beer,

for other non-alcoholic alternatives. Indian-

A look at alcohol share of volume by

wine, cider, spirits and RTDs higher

born and Chinese-born Australians are

gender shows a significant contrast. Beer

The latest Roy Morgan data on the drinking

more than twice as likely as locally born

comprises more than half (51.6 per cent) of

habits of Australians shows increasing

Australians to consume non-alcoholic wine,

the total volume of alcohol drunk by men

numbers of Australians are drinking non-

cider, spirits and RTDs.

more than double the volume of wine (23

alcoholic varieties of beer, wine, cider and

spirits (14.0 per cent).

per cent) and far ahead of spirits (13 per

spirits – and many of those choosing the

Men are more likely to drink alcohol

non-alcoholic alternative are immigrants from

than women with beer the drink of

Asian countries including India and China.

choice for men

for women comprising 47.3 per cent of the

The most popular non-alcoholic drink

A look at the overall Australian alcohol

share of alcohol volume equal to the next

in Australia is non-alcoholic beer, now

market shows that more than seven in 10

three combined – beer (16.3 per cent),

consumed by over 1.8 million Australians

(72.5 per cent) adult men consume alcohol

spirits (16.0 per cent), RTDs (11.4 per cent)

(8.8 per cent of population) ahead of non-

in an average four weeks, almost a full 10

and cider (3.7 per cent).

alcoholic wine consumed by almost 1.1

per cent higher than the 63.8 per cent of

million (5.2 per cent).

adult women.

cent) and RTDs (7.5 per cent). In contrast, wine is the dominant alcohol

The findings in this report are from the Roy Morgan Single Source survey, Australia’s

Non-alcoholic cider is consumed by

Beer is the most popular choice of

most trusted and comprehensive consumer

just over 950,000 Australians (4.6 per cent)

alcoholic beverage among men with 49.9

survey, derived from in-depth interviews

while similar numbers drink non-alcoholic

per cent of men consuming beer in an

with over 60,000 Australians each year.

February 2024 | 103


Immigrants from India, China, other

Shopper Intelligence

Three reasons shoppers are the key to your success in 2024

Understanding shopper behaviour and turning insights into actions will drive sales in 2024.

Shoppers matter to your business. Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Perhaps, but in some cases, shoppers’ preferences, behaviours, and needs are not being accounted for in off-premise liquor as well as they could.

Author: David Shukri Australian Client Service Director Shopper Intelligence

1. Shoppers and consumers are not the same thing This distinction may be clear to you, but it is not yet a universally appreciated fact. Recognising that consumers and shoppers aren’t always the same

This is one reason why shoppers have told Shopper Intelligence

person is fundamental to tailoring your business strategies effectively.

their satisfaction with the channel is at its lowest level for five years.

That’s because in the Australian off-premise liquor market, a significant proportion of shoppers buy not just for themselves but also for others. Specifically, 22 per cent of shoppers are purchasing for someone else, and another 25 per cent are buying for both them and others.


This highlights how important it is to understand shoppers’ motivations and needs right along their path to purchase. It also underscores the fact there can often be two different mindsets and two different experiences at play. Blending them into a single, coherent story will help you achieve your goals this year. While flavours, occasions, and experiences are crucial, so too Building plans, strategies, and activations without strong shopper insights is like watching a movie with half the screen blank – you’re missing out on crucial parts of the story. So here are three ways how embedding the shopper into your business processes will help you perform better in 2024. 104 | National Liquor News

are more practical factors such as signage, product information, and shelf layout. Put these nuances at the top of your agenda in 2024 and you’ll begin to craft more rounded proposals that carry more weight with your trading partners.

Shopper Intelligence

Lead with what shoppers actually said when they shopped with your retail partners, and you may find you can more easily turn the conversation towards something more profitable for you and them.

3. Motivation drives behaviour, creates opportunity Right at the start I said that consumers and shoppers don’t share the same mindset or motivations. Well, shoppers can and do approach categories in very different ways too. You have to be on top of this if you want to get more of your products into their basket. Take what they plan to buy as an example. • Around half of all liquor shoppers plan based on a specific brand. • About one-in-six plans to buy whatever brand was the best value for money (VFM) on the day.

2. Get an accurate read on value vs. values

All well and good, you now have solid evidence to support leading

My advice to you is do not listen to the mainstream media. Well, if

with a strong pre-store brand message in many situations.

Media outlets don’t make their money from good news stories. It’s

But this is where shopper insights come into their own because there is more value lying beneath the surface of these facts.

in their interests to talk up the economic ‘crisis’ and over-emphasise

Shoppers planning by brand:

households’ focus on price as part of their weekly shopping.

• Are much more likely not to want to run out of a specific category.

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s what 20,000 liquor shoppers

• Exhibit more loyalty to a specific retailer when categories are

said last year:


• In 15 categories, price did increase in importance year-on-year. But

By contrast, VFM planners:

it also decreased in importance in 20 categories.

• Are more often persuaded to buy extra once in-store.

• Being able to identify good value at shelf did increase in importance

• Are more likely to buy an extra item to try something new

in 15 categories. But it also decreased in 20 others.

or different.

• Product authenticity was judged as less important in 19 categories

In other words, while the shopper planning by brand is a powerful traffic

than it was the year before. But it also became more important in

driver, the one focused on VFM is in fact an important spend driver.

16 categories. So, what is this telling you? It’s telling you price is unquestionably important in this channel, and you can’t afford to get it wrong. However, it’s also indicating that prices are not an overriding

More than being interesting observations, these are actionable insights with practical implications both pre-store and in-store. Get your pre-store comms right for the brand planners and work extra hard on in-store execution.

obsession for all liquor shoppers, on all occasions, in all categories.

Meanwhile, highlight innovation in-store and deliver

The truth is more delicate than this and differentiating factors

compelling, volume-driving promos for those planning to buy

such as premium cues and healthy choices are just as much a part

the best VFM brand.

of the equation as they’ve ever been.

To wrap it all up... Knowing what motivates shoppers in your category gives you the power to shape their experience most optimally. If you can bring that to bear in more scenarios this year, you will gain an advantage over your competitors. And the icing on the cake is that with shoppers at the heart of your conversations, you’ll find 2024 is the year you start getting buy-in, and stop having to sell-in. So, let’s make this year one where we truly listen to and understand our shoppers, turning insights into actions that drive their satisfaction, as well as your sales.

February 2024 | 105


you do, exercise extreme caution.

Spirits & Cocktails Australia

Spirits & Cocktails Australia supports industry growth With a vibrant and growing spirits industry, Spirits & Cocktails Australia highlights the importance of long-term planning to ensure longevity.

Greg Holland CEO Spirits & Cocktails Australia

2023 presented both opportunities and challenges for the spirits industry, with increased consumer interest and premiumisation set against supply chain disruptions and increases to the spirits excise tax. Following positive milestones like the successful launches of several new Australian spirits brands last year, Spirits & Cocktails Australia CEO Greg Holland outlined the major factors contributing to the industry’s growth. “Key drivers of growth for the Australian spirits industry have included a surge in consumer interest in premium and craft spirits, an expanding cocktail culture, and an increased focus on the provenance of spirits. Collaborations between distilleries and bars, legacy, and local brands, along with the rising popularity of unique locally inspired ingredients, have further fuelled growth. The industry’s commitment to sustainability and ethical practices has also resonated with consumers, contributing to a positive trajectory,”

sustainable long-term policy settings for the industry will be key

he said.

focal points,” he said.

While this growth is undoubtedly positive, long-term planning is becoming more important. “As the industry continues to grow, the need to create effective


industry policies to foster sustainable long-term growth has become even more pressing,” Holland said.

Additionally, Holland expects continuing economic uncertainty, both for customers and for producers, to become increasingly relevant to discussions around excise tax. “Striking a balance between meeting the demands of an evolving consumer landscape, especially post-pandemic, and shaping a policy and regulatory environment geared for long-term growth will be a

Taxation pressures

delicate challenge. Navigating these challenges will require continued

The spirits excise tax was a major focus for Spirits & Cocktails

collaboration among industry stakeholders and responsiveness to

Australia in 2023 and will continue to be a key concern this year.

emerging opportunities,” he said.

“Spirits & Cocktails Australia continues to advocate for fair and sustainable tax reform, alongside our peers at the Australian

A resilient industry

Distillers Association. We are engaged in an ongoing, constructive

Despite the obvious challenges posed by the economic climate, the

dialogue with government to build awareness of the industry’s

outlook for the spirits industry in 2024 is a generally positive one.

economic contribution and potential to contribute to the economy

“As we look ahead, the Australian spirits industry remains resilient

beyond the $5 billion paid in excise tax each year, through increased

and dynamic. Spirits & Cocktails Australia is committed to fostering

trade, tourism, and hospitality,” Holland said.

a thriving and innovative environment. We encourage consumers to

Holland emphasised the importance of collaboration when tackling these challenges.

explore the rich diversity of spirits available for purchase in Australia, from the global spirits brands they know and love to innovative

“Collaborative efforts with stakeholders, including government

new brands. There are boundless opportunities to celebrate the

bodies, will remain a priority to address challenges and create an

craftsmanship that goes into each and every bottle. Together, as

environment conducive to growth and innovation. Strengthening

an industry, we will navigate challenges and seize opportunities to

collaborations between members and building support for

ensure a vibrant future for spirits in Australia,” Holland said.

106 | National Liquor News

non-alcoholic cocktails make it a lyre’s

DISCOVER THE RANGE Contact the team at


NPD – building brand equity through exposure Strikeforce’s Stephen Wilson discusses how retailers can navigate the challenges of successfully launching new products and position themselves for long-term growth and profitability.

Author: Stephen Wilson Category & Insights Manager Strikeforce

The off-premise liquor retail sector presents

time of development may suddenly become

chain, exploring strategies to enhance

unique challenges and opportunities for

outdated and unwanted.

customer engagement, ensuring compliance

businesses at the best of times.

Existing brands are not going to simply

to planogram and maximising operational

Throw in the challenge of cutting through

cede space to allow new competitors in

efficiency combined, will give the new

the wall of color and noise to introduce a new

their patch, making entry difficult at times,

product the best chance of success.

line or brand extension to get traction with

with new entrants needing to navigate a

A focus on basic hygiene factors, pre- and

liquor shoppers and it can be quite daunting.

minefield of strategies designed to protect

post-launch, supported by an experienced and

retail real estate.

trusted merchandising partner from planning

So, being planned and targeted is critical


to not only establishing a toe hold in the

Communicating with the end user

through to implementation is recommended.

market but also embedding the new line or

is a non-negotiable from grabbing their

The following is not an exhaustive list

brand’s longer-term success.

attention in the first instance, providing an

but some practical tips to help new brands

The failure rate for new products is

understanding of what the proposition is,

along the way.

extremely high, estimated to be between

and why they should buy into purchase.

Strategic merchandising in-store, grouping

70 per cent and 90 per cent of all NPD, due

Finally, securing and managing space

products logically, arranging liquor products

to changing consumer preferences, intense

and maintaining a healthy supply chain are

based on store specific planograms lay out the

competition in the category, and poor

essential ingredients in determining the

blueprint for success, locating the new product

marketing and positioning.

success or otherwise of new product entrants.

in the best possible position in the category,

Shoppers are fickle and unpredictable

While there are no certainties when

whether that is near similar products or

so a new product concept that seemed

launching new products, optimising

category leaders making it easier for customers

aligned with consumer preference at the

product displays, managing the supply

to find what they are looking for.

108 | National Liquor News


Secondary locations are particularly

signage to create an inviting atmosphere will

approachable, helpful, and knowledgeable,

important during the launch phase, building

encourage customers to explore the store

creating a positive shopping experience.

eye-catching displays in highly visible

and discover new products.

Effectively displaying products and

locations, preferably in or near high traffic

Assessing, adjusting ordering quantities

maintaining a streamlined supply chain

lanes, to encourage impulse purchasing

accordingly, either up or down, will ensure

are critical aspects of success in the off-

while announcing that ‘the brand has

that momentum gained will continue to

premise liquor retail sector, particularly

arrived’ and increasing overall sales.

grow, avoid out of stocks, or moderate stock

when launching new products.

At the fixture, coolroom or fridge,

holdings based on shopper response and

By implementing strategic product

effective signage and labels grabbing

demand, freeing up cash flow if the new

display strategies and adopting efficient

shoppers’ attention and alerting them to

product takes a while to gain traction.

supply chain management practices,

the new product give the product presence in a ssometimes-clutteredoffering.

The final piece of the puzzle is employee

retailers can enhance customer engagement,

training about the new product’s features

and optimise opportunities created when launching new products.

Ensure that prices are prominently

and benefits, arming them with knowledge

displayed on each product, to reduce any

and confidence to answer the shopper

customer confusion and expedite the

questions that will inevitably follow.

purchase decision.

Moreover, investing in employee training and engagement contributes to

Providing product knowledge training,

a positive shopping experience, fostering

Providing product information, where

equipping staff with comprehensive

customer loyalty and setting the stage for

possible, about the origin, flavour profiles,

knowledge about key product attributes

sustained success in the competitive off-

or special characteristics of particular

will enable them to assist customers, make

premise liquor market. With a focus on

liquors and educating customers can remove

recommendations, and provide a high level

these practical tips, retailers can navigate

uncertainty and barriers to purchase.

of service.

the challenges of successfully launching

This in turn fosters a customer-

aesthetically pleasing shelving, lighting, and

friendly atmosphere by training staff to be

new products and position themselves for long-term growth and profitability.


Investing in attractive displays using

February 2024 | 109

Wine Australia

Australian wine shows pride and resilience Wine Australia reflects on what was a challenging year for the Australian wine sector and provides an outlook on the year ahead.

Author: Dr Martin Cole CEO Wine Australia

The Australian wine sector will remember 2023 as a particularly challenging year – with difficult growing conditions in some regions causing lower yields, the continuing issue of oversupply and a global decline in wine consumption in many mature markets. However, it’s in challenging times that progress is often made and in 2023, we put our minds together and collaborated across the sector to drive solutions to the issues we’re facing. A key milestone in this regard was the


development of the One Grape & Wine

We are facing these challenges by

We have also seen encouraging growth

Sector Plan – a strategy co-designed with

continuing with our marketing strategy of

of our Sustainable Winegrowing Australia

industry following broad consultation with

intensification where we have a presence,

program, which now has upward of 1400

producers, growers, and other wine sector

and diversification to establish a presence

members. Our Emissions Reduction

professionals alongside Australian Grape

in new markets. We had a large presence at

Roadmap, which was developed with

& Wine and consultancy firm ACIL Allen.

events like Prowein in Dusseldorf, Vinexpo

and for the sector, outlines the steps that

The level of engagement in each consultation

in Singapore and Prowine Mumbai as well

wineries can take to reduce their carbon

was inspiring and while discussions were

as trade tastings in the UK, Denmark and

footprint in every aspect of their business.

sometimes robust amid varying sector

Sweden. Our Market Entry Program in the

These programs help to demonstrate the

interests, there was a concerted effort to focus

US also saw a great deal of success, with

action our sector is taking to reduce its

on common priorities that would benefit the

several large-scale distribution agreements

carbon footprint.

sector broadly. At the time of writing this

being signed because of the hard work of

Our immediate focus in 2024 will be

article, the draft One Grape & Wine Sector

our US team. We were also thrilled to

supporting the sector as vintage begins and

is open for final comment from the sector

host members of the Société des alcools

to keep businesses informed as we await

before the final version is released publicly.

du Québec (SAQ), the alcohol monopoly

the outcome of China’s review of duties on

A major challenge for the wine sector

from Quebec, for a tour of Australian

Australian wine. While we cannot predict

has been the continuing issue of oversupply,

wine regions, which led to some very

the result of review, we are working with

which continues to affect businesses across

encouraging conversations.

stakeholders in our sector so that we are

the country – particularly in our warm

We’ve continued to see a growing

inland winegrowing regions. Vintage 2023

demand for no and low alcohol wines, and

The Australian grape and wine sector has

was also plagued by inclement weather,

we expect this trend to continue in 2024.

a lot to be proud of. In testing times, people

disease pressure and low tonnage. The

We’ve been investing in research to assist

continue to show tenacity and perseverance.

effects of the 2023 vintage and national

the sector in the creation of a mid-strength

We look forward to delivering key outcomes

oversupply will continue to be a challenge

wine category, so that wine businesses of

for the sector in 2024 to support our overall

to our sector going into 2024. This created

all sizes can take advantage of the growing

strategy of building profitable, resilient, and

especially challenging operating conditions

demand for lower alcohol wines and wines

sustainable winegrape and wine businesses

for businesses across the sector.

for different occasions.

into the future.

110 | National Liquor News

prepared for any outcome.

175 IN



Six generations. 175 years. One family enamoured by exceptional craft, with a collection of brilliant fine wine stories and an inherent desire to forge a future for Australian fine wine.

Year in Review

Year in Review We take a look back at some of the defining industry news from 2023.


Record high for Irish whiskey exports The Irish Whiskey Association (IWA) revealed that 2022 exports

Brown Forman completes purchase of Diplomático Rum

of Irish whiskey surpassed €1

Brown-Forman announced that it completed the

as representing a more accurate

acquisition of Diplomático Rum and related assets from Destillers United Group in Spain. The two companies agreed to a deal in October 2022, with some reports suggesting a price of US$725m for the super-premium rum brand. Speaking at the time, Brown-Forman’s CEO and President, Lawson Whiting said: “Brown-Forman’s super-premium portfolio continues growing to meet the preferences of global spirits consumers. “We’re pleased to officially welcome more than 100 new employees to Brown-Forman as we close on our acquisition of the Diplomático Rum family of brands, and add the number one super-premium and ultra-premium rum to our portfolio.” As part of the acquisition, Brown-Forman added an aging, bottling, and shipping production facility located in Panama to the company. Destillers United Group S.L. will continue to produce and age Diplomático Rum at its original distillery at the foot of the Andes mountains.

billion for the first time ever. The IWA said it regards export value picture of the contribution to the all-island economy than global retail value. William Lavelle, Director of the Irish Whiskey Association, said: “Breaking one billion in export value represents another important milestone in the Irish whiskey renaissance and confirms the importance of our unique all-island industry to our shared economy, north and south. “Across the island of Ireland, the growth in Irish whiskey exports has created more quality jobs, brought more investment into regional and rural communities, and led to more purchasing from Irish farmers.” In its Irish Whiskey Global international trade report, the IWA identified premiumisation, market diversification, growing e-commerce channels, and interest from millennial and generation Z consumer segments as drivers for the export growth.

Euromonitor Global Consumer Trends report shows more selective spending ahead In its Global Consumer Trends report for 2023, Euromonitor International revealed a climate of selective spending, with 75 per cent of consumers not planning to increase overall spending in 2023 and 28 per cent actively planning to decrease spending. Euromonitor warned that major brands cannot rely upon consumer fidelity, stating: “Affordability and bargains often precede brand loyalty.” As for retailers, more than half (56 per cent) of those professionals surveyed said that their company had increased prices of products or services as a response to inflation. Two-thirds said the rising cost of raw materials had an extensive impact on their company in 2022. In good news for the alcohol industry, Euromonitor is tipping the return of in-person social events, with 39 per cent of consumers saying that more of their everyday activities will be in person over the next five years. “Consumers are settling into new schedules and navigating a return to reality. Companies should prepare for a surge in out-of-home consumption,” the report read.

112 | National Liquor News

Year in Review

James France leaves Vanguard Luxury Brands


James France announced his plans to leave Vanguard Luxury Brands, the award-winning premium spirits importer and distribution business that he founded in 2008. Lion bought a stake in Vanguard in 2019 and France said as he approached a milestone birthday, he decided it was time to move on. “After months of deep reflection and as I turn 60, I have come to the decision that it’s the right time for me to leave Vanguard. I have worked closely with the Vanguard and Lion teams to ensure a smooth transition. With this now complete, I am so happy to see that Vanguard is now standing strongly on its own two feet and ready to enter the next phase of its growth,” he said.

Coles appoints new CEO Coles Group announced the appointment of Leah Weckert as its new Managing Director and CEO, following Steven Cain’s decision to retire. Weckert, who has been with Coles since 2011, has held a number of positions including Chief Executive, Commercial and Express; Chief Financial Officer; People and Culture Director; and, State General Manager, Victorian Supermarkets, and has been a senior member of the Executive Leadership Team since the demerger of Coles from the Wesfarmers Group in 2018. She said: “I am very honoured to be

Australian whisky shines at World Whisky Awards

appointed as the next CEO of Coles, which

The World Whisky Awards

retailing for more than 100 years and play

revealed its medal winners for 2023, with Australian whiskies performing wella. Iniquity Whisky and Manly Spirits both won twice, and gold medals also

has been such an important part of Australian a part in its ongoing contribution to the Australian community.” Following the transition of Coles’ leadership to Weckert in May, Cain will remain with the company for an interim period to assist in an orderly transfer of executive responsibility.

went to Overeem Whisky and Morris Whisky. Australia also performed admirably in other areas, with The Whisky List’s Emma Cookson named Whisky Communicator of the Year, Whisky & Alement named Bar of the Year, Lachlan Watt at Whisky & Alement named Bar Manager of the Year and Ally Bhana at Sullivans Cove named World Whisky Brand Ambassador of the Year. There were also Highly Commended recognitions for Sullivans Cove as Visitor Attraction of the Year and Brand Innovator of the Year and The Whisky List as Online Retailer of the Year. Paul McLeay, CEO of the Australian Distillers Association, said the results are evidence of the quality of Australian spirits. “Building on strong foundations and previous years success, the multiple winners from across Australia demonstrates the sophistication and depth of the Australian product,” he said.

February 2024 | 113

Year in Review


Holly Klintworth

Australian Distillers holds its second annual conference The 2023 Australian Distillers annual conference took place over three days in Melbourne, with the theme of ‘Safe. Smart. Sustainable’. ADA President Holly Klintworth welcomed a record number of delegates to the conference, saying: “I am optimistic about the future of our industry. While we have over 400 producers, our volume output is small. Let’s not forget that total craft spirits consumed in Australia accounts for roughly five per cent of total spirits consumed across the country. There is still so much room for growth. And even with Covid disruptions, analysts project the Australian spirits industry’s growth over the next five years will exceed the growth experienced over the last five years. “There is strong consumer demand for cocktails and pre-mixed spirits and the underlying trend of increased premiumisation in the medium-term is still projected to be strong. And on top of this export is a dream many of us are yet to fully realise. So, the opportunity for growth both locally and internationally is real.” Klintworth also told delegates that Australian Distillers was happy with the partnership it has formed with Spirits & Cocktails Australia and called for further government support for the industry.

Vijay Subramaniam

Bacardi reveals its new President for Australia region Following the retirement of Francis Debeuckelaere, Regional President Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand (EUROC), Vijay Subramaniam, Regional President of AMEA and Global Travel Retail, will add Australia and New Zealand to his responsibilities, and Ignacio ‘Nacho’ del Valle will take on the role of Regional President, Western Europe. Debeuckelaere has been with Bacardi for nearly 30 years and will retire from his role at the end

Victoria Bitter launches a new brew

of March, and then move into a

Victoria Bitter released Victoria Bitter Xtra, or VX, which comes

transition and continue to provide his

in 250ml bottles with a six per cent ABV, compared to 4.9 per

expertise to the company.

cent in classic VB. Brand Director Sarah Wilcox said: “Australians are increasingly

consulting role to oversee the

“It has been an honour to be a part of Bacardi and to build my

moderating their alcohol consumption – with almost 30 per

spirits career here. This company is

cent of Carlton & United Breweries’ beer sales now, zero, low

truly special, and I am glad to leave

and mid-strength beers. However, higher-alcohol beers are

strong teams and brands behind.

increasingly popular in the craft segment, and we think there’s a

I am proud of the work we have

market among traditional beer lovers who also want bolder and

accomplished together and look

more intense flavours. It’s all about choice.”

forward to seeing Bacardi thrive for generations to come,” said Debeuckelaere.

114 | National Liquor News

Year in Review


Vodka Cruiser Double launches Vodka Cruiser Double brought a twist to its classic RTD to liquor retailers nationwide in three flavours: Guava, Raspberry and Lemon Lime. At 6.8 per cent ABV, the new RTD contains around two standard drinks, and is presented in a 375ml can. Vodka Cruiser said it had switched Double from its traditional glass bottle to appeal to a range of drinkers across different occasions. Georgina Chao, Brand Manager at Vodka Cruiser said: “Vodka Cruiser Double is a highly anticipated innovation by the number one Light RTD in Australia, inspired by recent drinker trends. We can’t wait for Vodka Cruiser Double to be embraced by customers and their friends as their drink of choice for a night out.” Vodka Cruiser Double is available to retailers nationwide and carries a $29.99 RRP for a four-pack.

Alcohol share of wallet falls, but confidence is improving Research from alcohol industry analysts IWSR found that while overall spend on alcohol was falling in many markets, consumer confidence about finances and the future was improving and looking more positive year on year. IWSR said that consumers were cutting back on alcohol spend as inflations saw the price of necessities like meat, fish, poultry, and cleaning products increasing. This trend was most pronounced in the UK, where inflation was seen rising at double-digit rates, but was also notable in Germany and Australia. “To allay the impact of the cost-of-living crisis, beverage alcohol consumers are becoming more selective in how and when they spend on alcohol,” said Richard Halstead, COO Consumer Insights, IWSR Drinks Market Analysis. However, premium consumption behaviour continued in many markets, albeit at a more moderate rate than previously. In addition, whisky consumption remained positive, although momentum slowed in Australia due to adverse economic and tax conditions. The moderation trend was also observed to be continuing, with IWSR saying there is “consistently positive sentiment” towards moderation as a moneysaving strategy.

Darren Blackhurst steps down from Coles Liquor Coles announced that Darren Blackhurst would be stepping down from his role as Chief Executive of Coles Liquor at the end of June. Blackhurst had been in the role since 2020 and decided to step down to return home to his family in the UK. In an email sent to all Coles team members, Coles CEO Steven Cain recognised the significant impact that Blackhurst had on the liquor business. “Darren has made an outstanding contribution to Coles Liquor since joining in January 2020. “Under his leadership, we reset our liquor strategy to be a simpler, more accessible and locally relevant drinks specialist. This included renewing 426 Liquorland stores to the highly successful ‘black and white’ format, increasing sales of exclusive and local liquor brands, significantly enhancing our omnichannel presence and building capability and leadership at all levels within the business,” Cain said. Darren Blackhurst

February 2024 | 115

Year in Review

Industry reacts to Federal Budget The Albanese Government handed down the 2023-24 Budget, with a deficit forecast of $13.9 billion (0.5 per cent of GDP) in 2023‑24 and a small surplus of $4.2bn (0.2 per cent of GDP) in 2022-2023. The Budget garnered a mixed response from industry. Spirits & Cocktails Australia and the Australian Distillers Association welcomed efforts to provide cost-of living relief to families but said sector-specific interventions were needed. Retail Drinks Australia CEO Michael Waters backed measures to help small businesses. “Retail Drinks welcomes the measures announced in last night’s Budget supporting the retail liquor sector, including measures designed


to assist small businesses in managing their energy expenditure and helping protect them against cyber-security threats,” he said. However, Kylie Lethbridge, CEO of the Independent The Papa Salt founders

New Australian gin has a touch of celebrity

Brewers Association, was underwhelmed by the support given to small businesses. “Our members are local community minded businesses providing jobs for thousands of Australians and contribute approximately

Papa Salt Gin is a new Australian Coastal Gin that was

$1.93bn to the nation’s economy annually so it would have been

launched by Margot Robbie, her husband Tom Ackerley and

reassuring to see at least some support to ensure that business

friends Josey McNamara, Regan Riskas and Charlie Maas.

sustainability can contribute to driving positive change,” she said.

The gin is infused with roasted wattleseed, pink peppercorn, wax flower, cardamon, ginger, orange and lemon peel, plus a little minerality from oyster shells. Juniper is the only Papa Salt ingredient not sourced from Australia. The founders said: “It started as just an idea between five gin loving friends five years ago. After many sunny afternoons in the backyard concocting compound gins using every combination of ingredients we could think of we finally got serious and started working with Brian, our distiller, to hone in on our favourites. Fifty-nine recipes later – here we are.”

Lecca revives Kaddy Marketplace as Kaddy Reborn Weeks after Kaddy Group announced it had gone into voluntary administration, Kaddy Marketplace announced a partnership with leading Singapore-based food and beverage-focused investment company, Lecca, which saw a revamped business model known as Kaddy Reborn. Since February, Kaddy Group had been in a trading halt, requesting extensions for a voluntary suspension pending an announcement “in relation to capital raising,” according to ASX documents. Kaddy Reborn will be led by the CEO of Kaddy Limited, Steve Voorma and Lecca, and promises a simpler business model, refreshed management team, wider range of products, more competitive pricing and improved application features for its suppliers and customers. Founded by Rich Coombes and Mike Abbott, Kaddy entered the Australian drinks market in 2019, providing a new way for drinks businesses to order, pay and trade. The platform went national in 2021, and in the same year was acquired by Wine Depot‘s company, Digital Wine Ventures, which moved the wider business to the Kaddy name in 2022 and began focusing solely on B2B trade. 116 | National Liquor News

Year in Review

June Crime Stoppers targets sly grogging in Northern Territory Crime Stoppers NT announced a campaign to target sly grogging across the Territory, joining forces with NT Police

Coopers welcomes sixth-generation brewer

and retailers.

Coopers has now welcomed the third member of its sixth-

Through online advertising and prominent campaign

generation, with Iain Cooper joining his cousin and sister at

posters displayed at key locations, the new campaign

the company to become Technical Brewer. Cooper brings

reminds people about legal regulations, discouraging the

international experience to the role after spending the past

sale or supply of alcohol from unauthorised individuals or

three and a half years with Carlsberg in Copenhagen. “Any family member keen to join the brewery is strongly

unlicensed stores, and asks for community support to catch ‘grog runners’. Chair of Crime Stoppers NT, Catherine Phillips,

encouraged to first earn their stripes outside the business. So, I headed overseas to do just that,” Cooper explained.

explained the issue around sly grogging and said: “There

Cooper reflects on the brewery being a key part of his life

are some individuals who buy alcohol on behalf of their

for as long as he can remember, but wasn’t sure he would join

banned drinker relatives and friends, bypassing the

the family business, initially pursuing a degree in media and

intended restrictions.

economics. However, he later turned to his passion for brewing,

“We want everyone to understand that when they do

traveling to Edinburgh to work in local breweries and complete

that, they risk being placed on the Banned Drinking Register

a Master of Science in brewing and distilling. He now looks

and receiving significant penalties,” she said.

forward to contributing to his family’s world-class brewery.

Hairydog Group acquires Boozebud Hairydog Group acquired Boozebud, bringing together Boozebud’s e-commerce infrastructure and Hairydog’s experienced and knowledgeable team. “Through this acquisition, we’re not just expanding our business footprint, we’re strategically aligning the strengths of BoozeBud’s advanced e-commerce capabilities with Hairydog’s proven retail expertise,” said Ryan Agar, Head of E-commerce for Hairydog Group. “This merger of two brands creates a powerhouse that is set to transform the online liquor retail space to provide better drinks and experiences to our customers.” Hairydog said the acquisition boosts the group’s annual revenue beyond the $75m threshold, driving incremental profitability and reinforcing its position as a dominant player in the online liquor retail industry. In May, Boozebud announced it was going into voluntary administration, and ceased online orders. Now, the site has been relaunched, with Damien Smith, former Chief Technology Officer at BoozeBud, becoming part of the Hairydog team to help ensure a smooth transition.

February 2024 | 117

Year in Review


Diageo Australia appoints new Managing Director Diageo announced that Dan Hamilton would become Diageo Australia’s new Managing Director, replacing Angus McPherson on 1 October. Hamilton joined Diageo in 2011 and held senior roles in Diageo’s China, Japan, Europe and Korea markets, most recently as Managing Director for Korea and Japan. His appointment follows Diageo Australia’s announcement that McPherson would leave the business at the end of September 2023 to pursue an opportunity outside the company. Diageo Asia Pacific President John O’Keeffe said the business was delighted to be able to confirm the appointment of Hamilton to the role of

Lyre’s appoints new CEO following multi-million funding round Australian brand Lyre’s announced the completion of its latest strategic funding round, successfully raising close to £18m to meet increasing global demand.

Managing Director Australia. “We know Dan’s deep knowledge of the business, his relationships within the industry, and his strategic insights will set him up well to continue Diageo Australia’s strong growth trajectory,” he said.

Now the most awarded non-alcoholic spirits producer in the world, the fundraising was endorsed by pedigree investors DSquared and Morgan

Dan Hamilton, Managing Director, Diageo Australia

Creek Consumer Fund, as well as existing shareholders. Experiencing extraordinary year-on-year growth, this investment is crucial in supporting the continued growth of the world class beverage business and enhancing its global supply footprint. Since the announcement of its funding milestone, Lyre’s has appointed Paul Gloster, previously Chief Marketing Officer, as its CEO. “I am humbled to be given the opportunity to lead Lyre’s into a new chapter of growth and build upon our vision of changing the way the world drinks,” said Gloster.

Vodka Cruiser enters canned cocktail space Carlton & United Breweries launched its latest range of Vodka Cruiser Cocktails, available in three flavours. CUB has timed the release ahead of summer entertaining season, and will be released in Passionfruit Daiquiri, Raspberry Cosmopolitan, and Lime Margarita. Vodka Cruiser’s Head of Marketing, Hayden Turner, said the cocktails add to the existing range of premixed vodka beverages. “We’re always looking for new ways to bring Vodka Cruiser to a wider range of consumers and as premixed cocktails have risen in popularity, this feels like a natural progression ahead. We are looking forward to seeing customers embrace the canned cocktails as their new go-to drink,” Turner said. The cocktails are blended with triple distilled vodka, with an alcohol content of 5.5 per cent and 1.2 standard drinks per serving, slightly higher than the core range.

118 | National Liquor News

Year in Review

August ILR appoints new CEO to oversee growth strategy ‘Outrageous’ spirits tax tops $100

Independent Liquor Retailers (ILR)

The twice-yearly increase on Australia’s spirits tax continues to hit producers,

CEO to lead the business‘ new

consumers and operators, as the inflation-linked spirits excise was increased once

strategic direction and next phase

again, going up to $100.05 per litre of alcohol from 1 August.

of growth.

appointed Anthony Abdallah as

With Australia’s spirits industry seeing unprecedented growth in terms of distillers,

Abdallah brings a wealth of

calls are increasing for this out-of-date, out-of-touch spirits excise to be reformed

industry experience with him,

to help see the industry fulfil its potential.

having worked in senior roles

The Federal Government confirmed the news that all spirits producers had been

across Metcash, ALM, and AUR. He

dreading after the Australian Bureau of Statistics released the CPI figures. Now with

is also no stranger to ILR, having

spirits tax hitting a level that had previously been forecasted not to be reached until

previously served as a Director and

2029, spirits manufacturers are calling on the government to freeze tax and help this

Chairman. He will work alongside

growing Australian industry.

the existing ILR team to execute the business’ strategic plans and

Suntory Oceania launches as new $3bn drinks giant

take it into the future.

A new $3bn drinks giant is launching

delighted to announce Abdallah’s

in Australia, with Suntory merging its

appointment, saying: “His deep

alcohol business, Beam Suntory, with

knowledge and experience in both

the non-alc Frucor Suntory, which will

partnerships and relationships will

create the fourth-largest beverage

deliver growth for all stakeholders

group in Oceania.

resulting in improved sales, margin,

The new business, Suntory Oceania,

John Krnc, Chairman of ILR, was

and profit as a result of growing

will have full end-to-end control of

our market share.”

its portfolio, including manufacturing, sales, and distribution, with preparations now underway to ensure the partnership is operational for mid-

L-R: Darren Fullerton, CEO, Frucor Suntory Oceania and Mark Hill, Managing Director, Beam Suntory Oceania

2025 in Australia and 2026 in New Zealand. Mark Hill, Managing Director of Beam Suntory Oceania, says: “Both businesses have been outperforming in this market across key segments and we see the combination of us coming together as providing us with greater agility in our supply chain and also more strategic with the portfolio innovation that we’ll be able to bring. “Our belief is that with our combined offerings we’ll be able to unlock not only the next wave of growth in core markets, but we will also be able to see growth in adjacent categories as they unfold.” The Suntory announcement brings to an end the 16-year partnership that Beam Suntory had with Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP), with the contract expiring on 30 June, 2025. CCEP’s Regional Managing Director for Australia, Pacific and Indonesia, Peter West said that the company will continue to participate in alcohol beyond the expiry of the Beam Suntory contracts and views alcoholic RTD beverages as an attractive proposition given its explosive growth in Australia and New Zealand.

L-R: John Krnc (Chairman) and Anthony Abdallah (CEO)

February 2024 | 119

Year in Review

September Campari Group CEO to retire Following 18 years with the company, including 16 as CEO, Campari Group boss Bob Kunze-Concewitz announced his plans to retire in April 2024, to pursue his personal passions.

Pernod Ricard addresses sale rumours

Kunze-Concewitz has overseen 27 acquisitions and

Pernod Ricard issued a statement about the engagement of two

was named Best CEO of the Beverages sector in the 2023

investment banks to engage in a strategic review of the business,

Developed Europe Executive Team ranking by Institutional

which some media reports have speculated would mean a change

Investor Research.

of ownership on Pernod-Ricard’s Australia and New Zealand

The Board of Directors has selected Matteo Fantacchiotti,

business before the end of 2023.

Managing Director Asia Pacific, as the new CEO nominee.

In its statement addressing the media speculation, Pernod Ricard

To ensure an orderly and smooth handover, Fantacchiotti

said it regularly conducts reviews of many areas of the business and

was appointed Deputy CEO effective immediately.

that there has been no decision made on any course of action.

After retiring, Kunze-Concewitz is expected to become

The statement said: “Pernod Ricard notes the recent market

Non-Executive Director of the company, which the Board

rumours regarding its potential divestment of its Wine activities in

of Directors will propose at the company’s Annual General

Australia and New Zealand.

Meeting on 11 April 2024.

“Pernod Ricard regularly assesses and evaluates its strategic Campari CEO Bob KunzeConcewitz

opportunities and is continuously exploring options, including divestments or the streamlining of some or part of individual business units.” The AFR speculated that Pernod Ricard was aiming to offload the Australia and New Zealand wine business, with Jacob’s Creek arguably the most attractive brand, which also includes St Hugo, Stoneleigh, George Wyndham and Brancott Estate. According to the AFR, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan have been engaged by Pernod Ricard to conduct the review, the same two banks used by the business when it previously tried to sell its wine brands in 2019.

NT Government trials changes to Gove Peninsula Liquor Permit scheme The NT government is running a six-month trial for changes to the Gove Peninsula Liquor Permit scheme, which regulates the purchase of takeaway alcohol in the Gove Peninsula. The trial will run from 1 October 2023 to 31 March 2024, and will be rolled out in Nhulunbuy, Yirrkala, Gunyaŋara and Birritjimi. The changes will reduce the six permit levels to a four-level tier system, and a maximum daily limit will replace the current unrestricted permit. The permit system review identified secondary supply of alcohol as a major issue, which has been exacerbated by the unrestricted permit. Retail Drinks Australia said the association supports the implementation of relevant, evidence-based, and targeted policies to address and reduce problems associated with the misuse of alcohol, as opposed to broad, whole-of-population control measures.

120 | National Liquor News

Year in Review

October Big changes at Coles Liquor Coles Liquor announced changes to its store structure and leadership team,

ALIA celebrates Australia’s off-premise On Wednesday 25 October, the liquor industry celebrated its night of nights, the

as well as the introduction of a Buy by Category, Sell by Banner strategy. “The changes create greater

Australian Liquor Industry Awards (ALIA), held at Sydney’s Star Event Centre. With

simplicity in how we buy and

more than 60 awards up for grabs and close to 600 people in the room, the 2023

differentiation in how we sell across

ALIAs was another jam-packed night.

Liquorland, First Choice Liquor Market

Bottlemart was named Best Retail Group for the second year running, which came as a delight to the team at Liquor Marketing Group (LMG). Gavin Saunders, CEO, LMG, told National Liquor News: “To receive this award for

and Vintage Cellars. They are designed to build on the category model that has served us well with our suppliers and

retail group of the year two years running is a fantastic acknowledgement of our

customers to ensure that our growth

incredible retailers, the LMG team and the partnership we have with our suppliers.”

continues into the future,” a Coles Liquor

Camperdown Cellars on Paramatta Road in NSW won Best Liquor Store and was accepted by an ecstatic Scott Corby (Operations Manager) and Jesse Ball (Store Operations).

spokesperson explained. Michael Bornholdt will be entering the role of Head of First Choice Liquor

The final retail award for Best Off-Premise Supplier was won by Pernod Ricard,

Market and Carmen Fellows will become

and Glen Scarlett, Managing Director for Pernod Ricard Australia, said: “This award

Head of Vintage Cellars, with the new

is recognition of our customer focus and our ongoing determination to understand

Head of Liquorland yet to be announced.

their needs and deliver solutions above and beyond their expectations.”

In addition, Ed Scully will step down from his current role of BCM of Vintage Cellars, assisting in the transition period

Chris Baddock steps down as Metcash’s CEO of Liquor

in the role of Acting Head of Commercial

Chris Baddock announced his difficult decision

the creation of individual teams for each

to retire from his role as CEO of Metcash’s

banner, which will in turn drive distinction

Liquor pillar due to ongoing health issues.

between each of the three banners.

Growth Strategy and Enablement. These executive changes will support

Baddock will take a four month break to focus on his health and will then commence a part-time advisory role with Metcash to assist with the ongoing growth and success of the Liquor pillar, which includes Australian Liquor Marketers (ALM) and Independent Brands Australia (IBA). Since joining Metcash in 2019, Baddock has overseen sales growth of almost 40 per cent across all key areas of Metcash’s Liquor pillar. John Barakat, the liquor pillar’s General Manager of Merchandise and Operations, will lead the liquor team until Kylie Wallbridge steps in as Baddock’s successor.

February 2024 | 121

Year in Review

November Australian Prosecco saved by EU trade deal rejection At the G7 Trade Ministers’ meeting in Osaka, the Minister for Trade and Tourism, Senator the Hon Don Farrell, turned down the EU free-trade deal that endangered Australian Prosecco production by preventing producers outside of Italy from using the name Prosecco. According to Brown Family Wine Group winemaker Katherine Brown the rejection of the trade deal is a win for the entire Australian wine industry, not just Prosecco producers. “It means so much for producers and by continuing our pursuit to keep the Mitchell Taylor with Taylors Heritage Label Shiraz 2022

usage of the Prosecco name in Australia, future winemaking generations will have the freedom to use all grape varieties and can continue to innovate or

$20 South Australian Shiraz crowned International Champion

work with new varieties,” she said.

Clare Valley family winery Taylors was

from a free trade deal that was not in the best interests of Australian

awarded the International Champion Trophy

Prosecco producers. The Government has made the right decision,” he said.

Australian Grape & Wine CEO Lee McLean congratulated Senator Farrell on making the right choice for the Australian wine industry. “We commend the resolve of Trade Minister Don Farrell in walking away

at the 20th annual VINUS International Wine & Spirits Competition after achieving a 100-point rating. The winning wine, Taylors

Hard Solo to relabel as Hard Rated

Heritage Label Shiraz 2022, retails at just $20

Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) will rename Hard Solo to Hard Rated, following

a bottle, marking a significant achievement

a decision by the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC) Scheme.

for Taylors Wines. The Clare Valley Shiraz was rated against more than 580 samples from 15 different countries by a panel of esteemed international wine experts, sommeliers and journalists. Having won the same trophy last year for

Though the packaging for Hard Solo originally passed the ABAC pre-vetting process, the final decision was made that the packaging breached the Code by having strong or evident appeal to minors. ABAC Panel Chair Professor Michael Lavarch said that this was a unique case for the ABAC, as Hard Solo packaging was led by the brand recognition of Solo soft drink, compared to previous RTDs that focused on a known alcohol brand.

its Estate Shiraz 2020, Taylors has become the

Though disappointed by the decision, CUB is complying with the ruling and

first winery to win the prestigious International

has ceased further orders for Hard Solo, and Hard Solo packaging will exit the

Champion Trophy back-to-back.

CUB supply network no later than 9 February 2024.

Taylors third-generation Winemaker and Managing Director Mitchell Taylor shared his excitement about the achievement. “The Heritage Shiraz is a special wine that celebrates the heritage of our family winery and takes inspiration from our very first vintage release in 1973. Fifty years on, we are proud to represent the Clare Valley and South Australia and it’s awards like this that help showcase the quality of Australian wines to the world,” he said.

122 | National Liquor News

Year in Review

Asahi Beverages announces new CEO Asahi Group Holdings announced that Amanda Sellers has been

Amanda Sellers, Group CEO, Asahi Beverages

appointed as Group CEO of Asahi


Beverages, the overall operator of the Oceania Business. Sellers has been in the position of interim Group CEO since June, after Robert Iervasi announced he would be taking a career break. Speaking about her appointment Sellers said: “It’s a tremendous honour to be entrusted with the leadership of Asahi Beverages at a key time for our business as we continue to invest in and grow our operations across Australia and New Zealand.” Sellers joined Asahi Beverages almost five years ago as the Group Chief Financial Officer, having been in the beverages industry for over 20 years, during which time she has held senior roles at Treasury Wines, including CFO Asia and Europe, and before that CFO Australia and NZ.

Glenglassaugh Sandend named Whisky of the Year 2023 Glenglassaugh’s Sandend took top spot in the Whisky Advocate’s Top 20 Whiskies of the Year, being named Whisky of the Year 2023 in the coveted poll, following a nearly unanimous vote. The whisky was created by Master Blender Rachel Barrie, who described the flavour profile of Glengassaugh as a “luscious, coastal elixir, I would say, tropical fruit, with a crack of sea salt”. She also spoke about creating non-age statement (NAS) whiskies,

Campari Group to buy Courvoisier Cognac

saying: “NAS whiskies are ones that you can really bring out different

Campari Group has announced its intention to

characteristics in, they are a bit more funky, a bit more cool and with

acquire leading Cognac brand Courvoisier from

Glenglassaugh we have got the Sanded and Portsoy, which are very

Beam Suntory for US$1.2bn, in a deal expected to

different from each other”.

close in 2024.

Glenglassaugh Sandend is matured in Bourbon, Sherry and Manzanilla

This represents the largest purchase in Campari

casks, which help to develop the sweet and salty flavours Dr Barrie talked

Group’s history and will see the group take over

about. With the Glenglassaugh distillery based close to the sea, the

the full Courvoisier brand, worth US$1.32bn. While

whisky is shaped by the coastal elements as well as the rolling farmland

Courvoisier is the youngest ‘big four’ Cognac house,

behind the distillery.

it has excelled in international spirits competitions, and is the only Cognac house to receive the Prestige Dr Rachel Barrie

de la France title. In 2022, Courvoisier achieved net sales of US$249m, and net sales from 1 January 2023 to 31 October 2023 were US$148m. Beam Suntory attributes this 33 per cent decline compared to the previous year to normalising consumption after a post-COVID peak in sales.

February 2024 | 123

Trade Buyers Guide

Provence Rosé:

Proud to be pink Provence has become one of the most famous rosé producing regions through quality, versatility, and unique appeal.

France is the top producer, top consumer, and top

Rosé has been produced in Provence for thousands

Thank you

exporter by value of rosé, with Provence rosé making

of years, beginning when the ancient Greeks settled in

up 35 to 40 per cent of all French AOP rosé production.

modern-day Marseilles 2,600 years ago. At the time,

Over the past few decades, Provence rosé has been

maceration had not been mastered, and the wine

increasing both in popularity and in production

produced was much closer to modern rosé.

National Liquor News would like to thank the Provence Wine Council and Hopscotch Sopexa for their support in arranging the wines and supplying comment for the feature.

volume, now producing 150 million bottles per year, according to the Provence Wine Council. Global interest in rosé is also growing, as worldwide consumption of rosé wine increased by 13 per cent in the last 10 years, while overall wine consumption fell by two per cent*.

Rosé production rose again in the 20th century, which Provence Wine Council Director Brice Eymard explains is because the style is better suited to the region’s warm climate. “Provence produced red wines at the time, but they decided to produce more and more rosé wines for the fresher taste,” he said.

Understanding Provence

As summer holiday vacations became more common

Located in the southeast of France, Provence is

in France throughout the 1950s and 60s, Provence

bordered by the Mediterranean Sea on one side and

became a popular destination, exposing the rest of the

the Alps on the other, creating a unique climate. The

country to Provence rosé and linking the wine with the

Provence vineyard comprises three appellations. The

summer season. The wine improved in quality, especially

largest sub-region, AOP Côtes de Provence, accounts

with the foundation of a research centre dedicated to

for 71 per cent of Provence wine production, followed

rosé wine in 1999, the only one of its kind in the world.

by AOP Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence (17 per cent) and

However, it took some time before Provence rosé

AOP Coteaux Varois en Provence (12 per cent). 124 | National Liquor News

achieved international popularity.

National Liquor News voudrait remercier Le Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins de Provence pour votre soutien avec la fourniture des vins et le don des avis pour l’article.

Trade Buyers Guide

“Except for France, no other country really drank rosé wine 10 years ago. They used to drink sugared, pink wines like Zinfandel, but rosé was a cultural exception in France. When other countries discovered this wine, there was a natural increase,” Eymard said. Currently, rosé accounts for 90 per cent of wine produced in Provence. Provence rosé has seen significant investment from major wine brands, which is promising for the region’s continued growth. Even so, Maison Mirabeau Founder Jeany Cronk believes that smaller wineries are still vital to the region’s longevity. “The big houses have invested because they’ve seen the potential of this area and its vibrancy. We want to make sure that we keep the diversity of lesser-known producers like us, who are innovating in our own ways,” she said.

The Australian appeal Provence rosé has benefited from the broader interest in rosé wine, and Provence producers hope to become the premium choice for rosé drinkers. “We’re really trying to convey the message that Provence is the birthplace of rosé,” Cronk said. Demographically, Provence rosé is proving particularly popular among millennial and older Gen Z drinkers.

Australia is the eighth largest export market for Provence and has increased in size by 23 per cent since 2017. Australian exports provide a timely boost to the Provence rosé market, as our summer is at the opposite time of year to that of France, Europe, and

“This generation is much more laid-back with their

the US. While Cronk doesn’t want consumers to stop

wine consumption habits, interested in cuisines from

drinking Provence rosé in summer, she would like to

all over the world, different occasions, and different

see its popularity continue throughout the year.

drinks,” Eymard said.

A French favourite

“Think of it as a lovely wine to have with the same kind of food or the same kind of occasion you’d have a white wine with,” she said.

• Since 1994, the French have consumed more

Additionally, Provence rosé is well-suited to

rosé than white wine, and one in three bottles

Australian consumption habits, as it pairs well with

of wine consumed in France is a rosé. This

seafood and Asian cuisines, and is well-suited to

is significantly higher than the international

outdoor and social occasions.

average of one rosé per 10 bottles.* • France consumes an average 11.7L of rosé per household per year. The second largest

“If I had to invent the perfect place to drink Provence rosé, it would be Australia,” Cronk said. With its versatile style and premium position,

consumer, Uraguay, only consumed an average

Provence rosé has the opportunity to become a

7.5L of rosé per household per year.*

celebratory wine in the Australian market. This has

• As of 2020, France produced 35 per cent

already become the case in the US, where Provence

of the world’s rosé, with a total of 23MhL

rosé is a popular choice at Thanksgiving as it pairs

per year.

well with turkey.

• Provence produces between four and five per

“It really lends itself to a light, joyous, and social

cent of the world’s rosé.

moment,” Cronk said.

*Wine Intelligence and the IWSR

*Rose Wines World Tracking by Wine Intelligence and IWSR February 2024 | 125

Trade Buyers Guide

2023 vintage update

Due to a dry climate, the 2023 vintage for Provence rosé was average in size. However, this has resulted in grapes with higher acidity, which is expected to produce fresher wines than those of the 2022 vintage.

La Madrague Gigaro 2022 AOP Côtes de Provence Gold 96 points Website: “Tangerine and orange peel on the nose are reflected on the palate and supported by a refreshing acidity. A great mineral drive completes the picture.”

Château Roubine Premium Cru Classé 2022 AOP Côtes de Provence Silver 92 points Imported by: Mind Spirits “A creamy and softly edged nose of rose petal. SI developed but in a good way with burnt toffee and preserved cherries. Medium bodied with a pleasant lingering finish.”

Pey Blanc N° 1 2023 AOP Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Gold 95 points Imported by: Vintellect “Very pale salmon colour with a lovely fresh nose. Bright and sweet with notes of soft melon and grass.”

Domaine Terre de Mistral Rosalie 2022 AOP Côtes de Provence SainteVictoire Silver 91 points Website: “Delightful acidity holds this light and dry wine together; apricot and citrus aromas give way to a long savoury finish.”

Maison Saint Aix Aix Rosé 2022 AOP Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Silver 91 points Imported by: Joval Wines / Mezzanine “The fragrant red fruit aromas draw you into this wine as much as its salmon pink colour, well-rounded, aromatic, rich and elegant.”

Gassier Sas Esprit Gassier 2023 AOP Côtes de Provence Silver 91 points Website: “Aromas of grapefruit and strawberries are reflected with more intensity on the palate. A refreshing acidity carries through the flavours.”

Rameau d’Or Rosé 2022 AOP Côtes de Provence Silver 91 points Imported by: Joval Wines “An absolute classic example of the fruit forward, dry finish rosé that Provence is famous for, a delightful wine.”

Château Les Mesclances Romane 2022 AOP Côtes de Provence Silver 93 points Imported by: Noble Spirits “A more sophisticated wine with delicate aromas and flavours of watermelon and a hint of candy with balanced acidity on the medium finish.” Château Pas Du Cerf Rosé 2022 AOP Côtes de Provence Silver 93 points Imported by: Global Grape Vine “Perfumed with hints of marshmallow, red cherry, and dried grass. Dry integrated acid and a layered finish.”

126 | National Liquor News

“Domaine Terre de Mistral was an outstanding wine with great fruit that leaps out of the glass and firm acids.” – Daryl Fisher

Chevron Villette Château Reillanne Tradition Rosé 2023 AOP Côtes de Provence Silver 91 points Imported by: Pinnacle Drinks “Light, bright, minerally, fruity, and elegant. This is a deliciously fresh wine.” Château la Mascaronne Rosé 2022 AOP Côtes de Provence Silver 91 points Website: “Enticing pale colour, with ripe red fruit flavours and balanced acidity bringing everything together superbly.” Château Lauzade Rosé 2022 AOP Côtes de Provence Silver 90 points Imported by: Langtons “Salmon pink, floral and fruity with notes of peach, rose and citrus, an enjoyable wine with a crisp, rich finish.”

Trade Buyers Guide

Château Rosan Cuvée Evidence 2023 AOP Côtes de Provence Silver 90 points Website: “Dry, integrated acid, light body, pleasant red fruits – berry, cherry, and hints of melon. An easydrinking aperitif style.” Gilardi Domaine de la Meissonniere 2023 AOP Côtes de Provence Silver 90 points Website: “The aromas of cherry, strawberry and raspberry combine to create a wine that is creamy, rich and refreshing.” Hecht & Bannier H&B Provence 2022 AOP Côtes de Provence Silver 90 points Imported by: Calabria Family Wines “Smoother acid with lingering finish. Bright palate with good lemon peel and strawberry aromas. Hints of meringue and fresh red fruit.” Château Cavalier Grand Cavalier 2023 AOP Côtes de Provence NotreDame-Des-Anges Bronze 89 points Website: “An enjoyable and complex wine, with great fruit and structure that combine for a long finish.”

The panel Andrew Graham, Australian Wine Review

Château de Saint-Martin Grande Réserve 2023 AOP Côtes de Provence Bronze 89 points Imported by: Clarity Cru Wine Merchants “Very delicate aromas of rose petals and grapefruit. On the palate, a crisp acidity and great minerality make for a really refreshing wine.”

Sustainable viticulture snapshot • The Rosé Research Centre is developing new droughtresistant varietals that maintain the quintessential flavours of Provence rosé. These new varietals stem from two parent plants, Rolle and Cinsault. • Backed by the France Relance national recovery plan, EnViProv is a project across the entire Vins de Provence industry that is helping producers and merchants reduce

Château Du Carrubier Cuvée Ingénue 2023 AOP Côtes de Provence Bronze 89 points Website: “A slightly smoky aroma followed by crisp cherries. On the palate, grapefruit and strawberries take over with a lovely mouth coating texture.”

their environmental impacts. • Provence grape growers are combining innovative and historic techniques to increase the sustainability of their vineyards, such as planting cereals, wildflowers and clovers between vine rows to increase water penetration, and planting shade trees to cool the vines.

Château Saint-Maur Cru Classe L’Excellence 2022 AOP Côtes de Provence Bronze 89 points Website: www. “A pleasant, balanced, dry wine with pretty pink edges, subdued fruit and soft acid. This is lovely with a perfect sense of pink strawberry flavours.” Clos Réal Rosé 2023 AOP Côtes de Provence Bronze 89 points Website: “Intense, rich aromas of strawberries and red cherries. A textural palate reflects the fruit with addition of a pleasant minerality and a Turkish Delight-like finish.”

Thank you to our amazing tasting panel.

Christine Ricketts, Wine Educator, Endeavour Group Daryl Fisher, General Manager, Fisher Fine Wines Jim Butcher, Mr & Mrs Romance Christina Butcher, Mr & Mrs Romance Mirko Scanu, Key Account Manager, Penfolds Max Harkness, Co-Founder, Co-Partnership Eliza Fisher, Sommelier, Roberto Sarrotto

February 2024 | 127

Trade Buyers Guide

Domaine Rinaudo Nuit Intense 2022 AOP Côtes de Provence Bronze 89 points Website: “Pleasant balance of fruit and integrated acid with notes of melon, cherry, and lemon.”

A rosé for every occasion Provence rosés are very versatile and can be consumed yearround due to the various sub-styles. Dry rosé: The classic Provence style, this rosé is refreshing and synonymous with summer. “They’re so aromatic, and there’s such great fruit expression that it doesn’t feel particularly dry,” Cronk said. Mineral rosé: These rosés are complex and can be enjoyed on their own. “Many wineries have a more mineral style that’s perfect for aperitif moments in the summer,” Cronk said. Gastronomic rosé: Grenache-forward rosés, or blends with ancient varietals such as Tibouren, can stand up to stronger foods and are a good choice during winter. “If your food becomes a bit stronger, the meat becomes a bit darker, then rosés that are punchier work really well,” Cronk said. Age-worthy rosés: These wines bear similarities to Burgundy wines and can be cellared. “We want to break away from the idea that you can only have a rosé the year after it was harvested,” Cronk said.

Maison Austruy XIIIE 2022 AOP Côtes de Provence Bronze 89 points Imported by: Wine Vendor “The soft aromas of strawberry and grapefruit belie the rich, pleasing palate, with a delightful hit of rhubarb on the finish.” Mas de Cadenet Rosé 2022 AOP Côtes de Provence SainteVictoire Bronze 89 points Website: “Peach, pear, and lime on the palate with floral notes and a slightly funky character. A complex wine with a long finish.” Terres de Ravel Les 4 Château Château Montaud 2023 AOP Côtes de Provence Bronze 89 points Imported by: Vittoria Food and Beverage “Musky, cherry blossom characters with a rich, complex, intense lingering sweet finish.” Château de l’Aumérade Marie-Christine Cru Classé 2023 AOP Côtes de Provence Bronze 88 points Imported by: Francabout Wine “Cherry flavours reflect on a bone-dry palate. Well balanced acidity with red fruits and hints of lemon curd.”

“Overall, the wines were a very consistent quality. The delicacy and pristine flavours of Provence rosé are still unmatched.” – Andrew Graham 128 | National Liquor News

Château des Ferrages Roumery 2022 AOP Côtes de Provence Bronze 88 points Website: www. “A balanced, pleasant mix of red fruits and a hint of peach with good integrated acid and a nice lingering finish.” Clos de Caille Rosé 2021 AOP Côtes de Provence Bronze 88 points Imported by: Mind Spirits “Just a little advanced but a lovely flavour. Dry stewed fruits with lemon zest, balanced and pleasant. A lovely sunny afternoon wine.” Famille Ravoire Chanrose 2023 AOP Côtes de Provence Bronze 88 points Imported by: CNV Liquor “Red cherries and a slightly green aroma. On the palate are flavours of cherries and strawberries making for a richer but pleasant style that will only improve with time.” Léoube Distribution Love by Léoube 2023 AOP Côtes de Provence Bronze 88 points Website: “Light pink colour with delicate citrus and cherry aromas. A fresh palate with lime peel and lovely fresh flavours.” Château Angueiroun Prestige 2022 AOP Côtes de Provence La Londe Bronze 87 points Website: “Lime and orange blossom aromas develop into a complex wine, with white flowers and candied citrus on the palate.”

Trade Buyers Guide

Torpez à Saint Tropez Bravade 2022 AOP Côtes de Provence Bronze 87 points Imported by: Bacchus Wine Merchant “Citrus, herbal, apple aromas, crisp palate and a rich, nutty and creamy finish.”

Domaine de la Seigneurie Château la Seigneurie 2022 AOP Côtes de Provence Bronze 87 points Imported by: Fils de Pomme Australia “Melon, citrus on the nose, red cherry and peach develop on the palate and build to a lingering finish.” Domaine Kennel Château la Seigneurie 2023 AOP Côtes de Provence Bronze 87 points Website: “Delicate aromas of rose petal and lime. A very nice wine with bright acidity, volume and freshness.” Roseblood d’Estoublon Roseblood 2023 AOP Coteaux Varois en Provence Bronze 87 points Imported by: House of Fine Wine “Light, bright and pink with strawberries and pear on the nose, a well-balanced acid structure and minerally freshness.”

Boisset La Familles des Grands Vins Cicada L’Éveil 2023 AOP Côtes de Provence Bronze 86 points Website: “Delicate aromas of citrus and strawberries, with a slightly spicy undertone, bright acid and a fresh finish.” Château d’Ollieres Classique 2022 AOP Coteaux Varois en Provence Bronze 86 points Website: www.chateau-ollieres. com “Honey, lemon shortbread on the nose, a touch of sweet spice, crisp, soft fruit and well-balanced acidity.” Château l’Escarelle Les Deux Anges 2022 AOP Coteaux Varois en Provence Bronze 86 points Imported by: Déjà Vu Wine Co “Elegant red fruits and citrus on the nose, delightful minerality, smooth, long and dry finish.”

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Trade Buyers Guide

Château l’Escarelle Palm 2022 AOP Coteaux Varois en Provence Bronze 86 points Imported by: Déjà Vu Wine Co “An enticing colour that doesn’t disappoint on the nose or palate with strawberry, citrus and melon delivering a textured wine with firm acidity.” Château Routas Rosé 2023 AOP Coteaux Varois en Provence Bronze 86 points Website: “A light, warm salmon colour with candied strawberry aromas similar to red rope liquorice with a very dry finish.” Domaine la Rosé des Vents Rosé 2023 AOP Coteaux Varois en Provence Bronze 86 points Website: www. “A complex aroma, warm pink salmon hue, aromas of red and tree fruit, good acid length and bright finish.” Domaine Le Loup Bleu Croix du Sud 2022 AOP Côtes de Provence SainteVictoire Bronze 86 points Website: “An intense and rich wine with a palate of lemon, green mango and apricot.” Château La Gordonne La Chapelle Gordonne Rosé 2022 AOP Côtes de Provence Pierrefeu Bronze 86 points Imported by: Vranken-Pommery Australia “Aromas of rose petal, some greenness, and fresh cut grass lead to a palate of strawberries and a dry finish.” Maison Becfigue Premium Rosé Bio 2022 AOP Côtes de Provence Bronze 86 points Website: “Spicy and stalky tones with strawberry flavours. A firm and rich wine with good length.”

130 | National Liquor News

Wines Tree Baron M Jardin d’Amour 2022 AOP Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Bronze 86 points Imported by: Costco Wholesale Australia “Fresh white fruit with a slight saltiness and minerality, fresh and delicate, good length and dry finish.” Château Coussin Sainte-Victoire 2022 AOP Côtes de Provence Bronze 85 points Website: “Herbal tones, grassy, soft spice, great balance with savoury fruit, fresh acidity and great length.” Château du Carrubier Ingénue 2022 AOP Côtes de Provence Bronze 85 points Website: “Floral notes with nectarine and rose petal and a slight nuttiness. A complex wine with lovely balanced acidity.” Château du Seuil Chapelle du Seuil 2023 AOP Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Bronze 85 points Website: “A lovely pale colour with rose petals and grapefruit on the nose, which follow through to the palate with a dry finish.”

Hostellerie des Vins Dde Rognes N°20 2023 AOP Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Bronze 85 points Website: www. “A very pale salmon pink wine with musky and red berry aromas. Surprisingly soft for a young wine with a dry finish and good overall length.” Miraval Provence Miraval 2022 AOP Côtes de Provence Bronze 85 points Imported by: Pinnacle Drinks “A dry, firm wine, spicy raspberry, citrus and wild herbs develop in the palate with refreshing acidity bringing an elegant finish.” Vignobles Jerome Quiot V de Verlaque 2022 AOP Côtes de Provence Bronze 85 points Website: “Aromas of rose petal, musk, and bruised apple. Creamy and complex with firm acids.”

“When it comes to more refined rosé styles, I like to pair them with pink fish or squid. But ultimately, Provence rosé is great by itself!” – Andrew Graham




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