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Handcrafted to be enjoyed responsibly.

vol. 37 no. 4 - MAY 2018


spooked THIS ALIA!




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Editor’s Note


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EDITOR: Deborah Jackson






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Terry Mott and Deb Jackson


elcome to the May issue of National Liquor News. The retail liquor market is a challenging space for independent retailers. Finding new and innovative ways to compete without falling into the trap of heavily discounting, can be challenging, and last month I was fortunate enough to chat with two incredibly interesting retailers who are both doing things a little bit differently in their stores in order to remain competitive. For Dan Mackie from Cellarbrations Lawson and The Bottle-O in Hazelbrook it’s all about good old fashioned customer service as well as ensuring that his stores cater to his local customer base. He has implemented a rule in his two stores whereby every customer that walks through the door must be greeted within 30 seconds, and he says that he’s noticed having that personal touch helps to convert more would be browsers into sales. You can read more from Dan on page 22. Meanwhile, Chris Goodwin from L Maestro, The Liquor Master in East Killara, Sydney says that he goes the extra mile in his store by finding the best products and re-educating the customers about the industry. He says that by showing customers quality for money, expertise, knowledge and fantastic service he has been able to create a niche for himself in the crowded market. You can read more from Chris on page 50.

Also in this issue we’ve spoken to the country’s banner groups about the current trends impacting the market. We started by identifying a number of key trends and then asked each group about their thoughts around them. These trends were the strengths and benefits of banner groups, understanding your shopper, creating in-store theatre, occasion-based retailing, and the benefits of billboards and advertising. You can read what they had to say starting on page 26. This month Norrelle Goldring has also taken a look at occasion-based retailing on page 18. She’s got some helpful tips around creating an annual calendar of events and a rotating display in-store that you can change out every two weeks – if this is something that you’re already doing, then I’d love to see some pics of your displays, so please feel free to send them in! As always, keep your feedback flowing through ( This is your mag, so let me know what you want to hear and make it work for you.

Cheers, Deb

Deborah Jackson, Editor 02 8586 6206 |



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Contents May Wine


14 ProWein: James Wells reports from Düsseldorf, Germany 16 Wine News: All the latest releases and wine news 33 NSW Cool Climate: A taste for delicate wine styles is boosting NSW Cool Climate regions 44 New Releases: The latest release wines to hit bottle shop shelves 45 Wine Tasting Review: All the results from our Cabernet Sauvignon tasting

25 Brewing: What’s new in the world of beer? 32 Cider: Locally produced and boutique cider is on the up

Spirits 24 Spirits News: The latest releases, news and promotions from the spirits category


Retail Focus 18 Shopper Insights: Norrelle Goldring discusses occasion-based displays 20 ALSA-IRI: The 2018 ALSA-IRI State of the Industry Report launches 22 Retailer Profile: We catch up with Dan Mackie from Cellarbrations Lawson and The Bottle-O Hazelbrook 26 Banner Groups: Andy Young discusses trends facing the current market

50 Shop Talk: Shop Talk chats with Fisher Fine Wines and L Maestro, The Liquor Master

Regulars 8 News: The latest liquor industry news for retailers around the country 10 IRI: The latest industry insights from IRI 12 Contributors: We share insights from the experts 17 People: All the latest industry appointments 48 Events: An exclusive peek at last month’s launches and events










OUR GOLDEN 2017 All Star IPA - 5 x Gold Australian Pale Ale - 2 x Gold Seis Hermanos Lager - 2 x Gold




A report from Roy Morgan has revealed that Australians find catalogues to be the most useful media when it comes to purchasing alcoholic beverages. The report detailed that 38 per cent of those questioned said catalogues were the most useful media, ahead of internet search, with 22 per cent, other websites at 10 per cent, newspapers at 4.2 per cent, television at 3.4 per cent and magazines at 1.7 per cent. More women agreed catalogues were the media most useful for purchasing alcohol, with 43 per cent of women choosing catalogues compared to 34 per cent of men. Older age groups are also more likely to view catalogues as the most useful media for purchasing alcohol, with 47 per cent of 50-64 year-olds and 41 per cent of 35-49 year-olds choosing catalogues as the media most useful. Michele Levine, Roy Morgan’s CEO said: “Catalogues are the media most useful when purchasing alcohol, with 38 per cent of respondents in the Roy Morgan Single Source survey agreeing that they are the preferred media when making a decision about where to buy alcohol, far ahead of internet, as well as newspapers, television, magazines, radio, and the Yellow Pages. “With alcoholic beverages featuring in both the large supermarket catalogues as well as the liquor stores, including Liquorland, BWS, and First Choice Liquor, the space is highly competitive when offering choices to consumers. Whether there are the lowest offers on beer, wine, cider, or spirits, or when supermarkets offer a frictionless option to purchase alcohol along with groceries, catalogues are the most useful when consumers shop around for alcohol.” She added: “The Alcohol Retail Currency Report contains a detailed overview of the alcohol retail market and consumer purchasing of packaged alcohol for off-premise consumption in Australia today together with trended data for market size and share (in dollars), customer numbers and cross visitation at overall purchase channel types as well as looking in-depth at major supermarket retailers spanning five years.”

Roy Morgan has published its Alcohol Currency Report, which has revealed that while more Australians are choosing to consume wine, beer is the biggest category being consumed, by volume. The report showed that 69.3 per cent of Australians 18+ drink alcohol in an average four-week period. Of all Australians 18+ years old, 44.5 per cent consume wine, 39.1 per cent consume beer, 27.5 per cent consume spirits, and 13.6 per cent consume cider. Beer has the highest ‘Share of Throat’ across Australia, accounting for 44 per cent of all alcohol volume consumed by drinkers, compared to wine at 32 per cent. The report also said that while cider has experienced an increase in popularity over the last decade, it still represents only 3.3 per cent of all alcoholic volume. Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan, said: “While wine is the most popular choice of alcoholic drink among Australians, it’s interesting to note the largest volume of alcohol is beer, representing 44 per cent of all alcohol in a 12 month period.” In revealing some of the other trends detailed in the report, Levine added: “There has been a decline in alcohol consumption among men, who in the last five years have gone from 76.5 per cent consuming alcohol to 73.9 per cent in an average four-week period. This is contrasted by the rise of women consuming alcohol, which has increased from 64.1 per cent to 64.8 per cent. “Young people have also declined in alcohol consumption, with 18-24 year-olds decreasing from 71.8 per cent alcohol consumption to 68.1 per cent in an average four-weeks. This is compared to 50+, who have increased from 69.4 per cent to 70.2 per cent.” The Roy Morgan research also found that women are the biggest consumers of wine, with nearly 50 per cent of all women drinking wine in an average four-weeks compared to 39 per cent of men. In contrast, beer is consumed by 59 per cent of men in an average four weeks, compared to only 20 per cent of women. Cider is fairly evenly split between the genders with a slight skew towards women, but is heavily skewed to younger Australians.

EXCHANGE FOR CHANGE APPOINTED FOR ACT CDS The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government has confirmed that it has appointed Exchange for Change as the Scheme Coordinator for the ACT Container Deposit Scheme (ACT CDS). The ACT Government’s NoWaste is responsible for the scheme in the territory and they gave a presentation at the Liquor Stores Association NSW & ACT briefing in Canberra on 28 March, when it was revealed that the ACT CDS would be similar, but different to the heavily criticised NSW Return and Earn scheme. The ACT CDS will be started on 30 June 2018 and the Government said: “The Scheme encourages recycling within the Canberra community and aims to reduce waste to landfill via increased source separation of eligible containers at CDS collection points and material sorting efficiency increases at the Hume Material Recovery Facility. Most aluminium, glass, PET, HDPE, steel and liquid paperboard beverage containers between 150


millilitres and three litres (inclusive) will be eligible containers under the Scheme. The LSA NSW & ACT’s Executive Director, Michael Waters said: “Given the absolute debacle that the NSW CDS has, and continues to be, the ACT Government should be very careful not to make the same mistakes, and from the conversations I’ve had to date with Minister Fitzharris’ office and ACT NoWaste, it would appear as though they have been willing to engage and actively listening to industry’s concerns,” Waters said. “Having the focus on over-the-counter collection points as opposed to large reverse vending machines will also enable more small local Canberran businesses to get involved and support their communities. “We look forward to continuing to liaise with the Minister’s office and with ACT NOWaste in the lead up to the CDS commencement on 30 June.”


CARLYLE EYES ACCOLADE REPORT ESTIMATES KAUFLAND’S AUSTRALIA GROWTH FUTURE AFTER A team of analysts at Morgan Stanley has published a report, which details the potential for Kaufland’s growth in Australia. $1BN BUY With the German discount supermarket preparing to open The Carlyle Group has told National Liquor News that it is looking forward to supporting Accolade Wines after agreeing a $1bn deal to buy the Australian wine producer. Accolade was previously owned by Champ Private Equity, who had an 80 per cent stake in the company and Constellation Brands, who owned the other 20 per cent. The $1bn deal sees Carlyle buy 100 per cent of Accolade and a spokesperson said that Carlyle was happy to have finalised the deal. “We are very pleased to have finalised an agreement with Champ to acquire 100 per cent of Accolade Wines,” Carlyle’s spokesperson said. “This is a company with great brands and strong market positions, with multiple growth opportunities, particularly in Asian markets. “We look forward to supporting Accolade Wines with Carlyle’s global resources, and investing in the business and working with staff, suppliers and customers to drive growth.” The Carlyle Group describes itself as a ‘global alternative asset manager’ with $195bn of assets under management across ‘317 investment vehicles’. Across its corporate private equity and real asset segments, Carlyle has investment in over 200 portfolio companies that employ more than 650,000 people worldwide. After making significant investment in Accolade’s production facilities, with a new bottling and warehousing facility due to open in Berri, South Australia next year, Champ said that it was pleased with the work it had done in rejuvenating core brands. “I know Sir James and Bill Hardy are very pleased with the renewed trajectory that their family’s heritage brand is taking and since Accolade’s acquisition of Grant Burge, sales have increased by more than 80 per cent,” Champ CEO John Haddock said. “Champ is proud to have been the custodian of so many widely respected brands, to have contributed to the great Australian wine industry and to have added export value to Australia. We are very pleased that a global firm of such experience and capability as The Carlyle Group will now take Accolade forward.”


its first stores in Australia, the report predicts that up to 300 Kaufland stores could follow and that the retailer’s more flexible approach could see it do better than Aldi in this market. Morgan Stanley analysts Monique Rooney, Thomas Kierath and John Lee compiled the report, which also included details of why Kaufland is expanding in Australia and where some of its stores could be built. “Discounter disruption has only just begun in Australia,” the report said. “The Australian supermarket industry is ripe for further discounter disruption as Kaufland soon enters. Very high labour costs, high store rentals, low competitive intensity and high existing margin structures all enable another discounter in Australia.” It added: “Store penetration differs by market in Europe, from Slovakia the most penetrated at 82k people/store to Poland at 181k. Using these benchmarks Australia’s 24m people could theoretically support 133-295 Kaufland stores.” Australia represents Kaufland’s first expansion outside of Europe and the analysts claim reasons for the move include: Australia being a relatively high growth market; existing margin structures here are high by global standards; discount penetration is low and that Kaufland has historically followed Aldi into new markets with success. With the closure of the Masters building stores, there are a number of big box retail spaces available to Kaufland for its Australian expansion. “Based on our understanding of the market and on precedents we estimate that Kaufland may be targeting to open seven to 10 stores when it ‘launches’ in Australia in either late 2019 or early 2020. It is possible that Kaufland has taken options to buy other sites that it will execute on over the coming 12 months. “There is likely enough Big Box retailing space available in Australia for our Kaufland store rollout forecasts to be realistic.”

CONSUMERS RESPONDING WELL TO ITALIAN ROSÉ Liquor and food distributor, Combined Wines & Foods, has revealed that the market has responded well to its recently introduced Italian rosé, as the pink bloom continues in Australia. Pasqua 11 Minutes Rosé comes from third generation Italian winemakers Pasqua Vigneti e Cantine and Combined Wines’ General Manager, Joe Molinari, said the company is very happy with the market response to the wine. “Combined Wines are very excited that in the current climate of pink Provence rosé, we have released to the market the Pasqua 11 Minutes Rosé from Italy,” Molinari told National Liquor News. “The market has responded to the wine enormously well in a short period of time, having only been released in Australia in September 2017. “Pasqua are one of the largest family wine producers in Italy, and have always been in the forefront of production and marketing.” The rosé is a blend created from noble Italian native varietals like Corvina and Trebbiano di Lugana and varietals like Syrah and Carmenère. The name 11 Minutes refers to the duration of the skin contact, with the full load of grapes being pressed very softly. The winemaker said: “In this optimal length of time we extract the most noble qualities of the grapes and obtain the slightly rosy shade that characterise this wine. Once the precious must is created, it is cooled and transferred to a steel tank where it remains for about 11 hours, the necessary time for the more solid parts to decant.” The 12.5 per cent ABV wine comes in both 750ml and 1.5l bottles, with the winemaker saying that the wine is ideal as an aperitif and as an accompaniment to the most delicate dishes.




WINE CATEGORY • Wine is in growth of +3.1 per cent value but has seen a slight decline of -0.1 per cent volume in the year to 04/03/18, now worth $4.5bn. • Smaller manufacturers are worth 10 per cent of the total wine category but contributed 44 per cent of all wine growth this year vs. the previous year. • Bottled red wine continues to be the largest growth driving segment, accounting for 42 per cent of all growth in the category (off the back of a 34 per cent dollar share of wine).


$4.5bn (+3.1%) VOLUME

41m* (-0.1%)

1. Other Manufacturers (+15%)

3. Brown Brothers (+10%) 4. Pernod Ricard Australia (+4%) 5. Casella Family Brands (+8%) 6. Australian Vintage Limited (+8%) 7. McWilliam’s Wines (+6%) 8. Moët Hennessy (+3%) 9. Casama Group (+8%)

*9 Litre Equiv (000)

10. Negociants Australia (+11%)



$3.7bn (+4.4%) VOLUME

7.1m* (+2.4%) *9 Litre Equiv (000)



2. Private Label (+3%)

SPIRITS CATEGORY • Glass spirits has 21 per cent share of total liquor, and is in growth of +4.4 per cent value and +2.4 per cent volume in the year to 04/03/18. • Whiskey/Scotch has seen great growth, driven by the success of the Jameson, Haig Dimple, and Bells brands, which all feature in the top 10 growth driving spirit brands. • Glass spirits had the second highest dollar growth rate behind the RTD category, adding 23 per cent of all liquor growth in the last year.


1. Bundaberg UP Rum 700ml (+21%) 2. Haig Dimple Scotch 12yo 700ml (+34%) 3. Russian Standard Original Vodka 700ml (+45%) 4. Jim Beam Devil’s Cut 40% 700ml (NEW) 5. Jameson Irish Whiskey 700ml (+13%)


1. Campari Australia (+13%) 2. Pernod Ricard Australia (+6%) 3. Other Manufacturers (+33%) 4. Diageo (+1%) 5. Bacardi-Martini Australia (+9%)


BEER CATEGORY • Beer is in growth of +4.2 per cent value and +1.2 per cent volume in the year to 04/03/18, now worth $6.6bn. It remains the largest category in the off-premise liquor market, with 37 per cent dollar share, and 40 per cent share of growth. • Mid-strength beer continues to be the largest growth driving segment, accounting for 63 per cent of all growth in the category (off the back of a 16 per cent dollar share of beer). • Great Northern is the key driver of the growth in mid-strength, with four Great Northern SKUs accounting for 82 per cent of all beer growth. But the successful launch of Iron Jack by Lion has cemented this segment as crucial to overall off-premise liquor growth.



$6.6bn (+4.2%) VOLUME

128m* (+1.2%) *9 Litre Equiv (000)


Great Northern Super Crisp (+76%) Great Northern Original (+68%) Iron Jack (NEW) Furphy (+212%) Corona Extra (+5%)



$0.5bn (-2.0%) VOLUME

8m* (-1.5%) *9 Litre Equiv (000)

RTD CATEGORY • RTD has seen a real turnaround in the last 12 months, now worth 14 per cent of total liquor dollars, and in growth of +5.2 per cent value and +2.8 per cent volume in the year ending 04/03/18. • Beam Suntory is the largest growth contributor in the last year. This is driven mainly by the success of Canadian Club, which is the largest growth contributing brand in RTD (growth is more than twice the rate of its nearest competitor, Bundaberg UP). • The top 10 growth SKUs are worth less than a tenth (seven per cent) of the category but contributed almost half (48 per cent) of RTD growth in the last year.

CUB (+6%) Asahi Premium Beverages (+14%) Other Manufacturers (+42%) Private Label (+9%) Coopers/Premium Beverages (+2%)


CIDER CATEGORY • Cider is the only category in decline, with dollars down -2.0 per cent and volume down -1.5 per cent in the year to 04/03/18. • There are some bright spots in the category including the continued growth of Pure Blonde and the higherABV Mercury Hard cider. Some of the ‘craft’ cider brands such as Orchard Thieves and Little Green are performing well, as well as growth in low carb and low sugar varietals from Strongbow and 5 Seeds. • Smaller manufacturers are key growth contributors, up nine per cent vs. the previous year, now accounting for eight per cent dollar share of the cider category.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

CUB (+10%) Other Manufacturers (+9%) Private Label (+1%) Gage Roads Brewing (NEW) Phoenix Beers (-46%)


1. Orchard Thieves Apple Cider Bottle 330mlx6 (NEW) 2. Mercury Hard Cider Can 375mlx10 (+381%) 3. Pure Blonde Crisp Apple Bottle 355ml carton (+81%) 4. Pure Blonde Crisp Apple Bottle 355mlx6 (+44%) 5. Pure Blonde Crisp Apple Can 375mlx10 (NEW)



1. Canadian Club (+16%) 2. Bundaberg UP (+7%) 3. Cruiser (+10%) 4. Smirnoff Pure (+101%) 5. Wild Turkey 101 6.5% RTD (+13%)

$2.4bn (+5.2%) VOLUME

24m* (+2.8%) *9 Litre Equiv (000)


1. Beam Suntory (+6%) 2. Asahi Premium Beverages (+7%) 3. Brown-Forman (+6%) 4. Diageo (+3%) 5. Campari Australia (+5%)




Just in case you thought that creeping regulation had gone away – consider this. While we recognise that the Northern Territory is a unique environment, it is hard to comprehend the recent NT Liquor Review where the current proposals will see licensed stores in the NT regulated out of existence in seven years under a recommendation of ‘phasing out of store licences to reduce the number of corner grocery stores that sell alcohol’. This would mean their weekly sales may be reduced by 30 per cent or more, as takeaway liquor may only be permitted to be sold from a standalone business in which the primary focus of the business is the sale of alcohol. There are 675 people directly employed in a total of 95 licensed packaged liquor stores (including licensed corner stores) in the NT, so this recommendation is of great concern to our members, their customers and their employees. It seems an odd goal for the NT Government to destroy small local businesses which underpin local shopping precincts. Regulation that may see their weekly sales reduced by those proportions, will mean many of these small local stores and potentially other businesses around them will not be viable to continue operating and serve the needs of their local communities. There is no evidence to support the claim that alcohol sold from licensed mixed businesses is any more harmful in the unique NT environment than standalone liquor stores or drive-through bottle shops attached to hotel licences. On the contrary, liquor is integrated with groceries in stores in many countries around the world and there is no evidence that this increases alcohol related harm. The merit or otherwise of a liquor outlet should be determined by the standard of operation of the licence, not by the licence type. Current businesses could comply with the proposed change by simply removing all the food and grocery items from their stores and increasing the available range of alcohol. How would this contribute to a reduction in harm? That would result in no reduction in availability as the same number of licences will remain, albeit in larger premises and if the government policy has its way, they will be entirely focused on selling alcohol beverages. No evidence has been produced to support this narrative and so far, the NT Government appears to be reluctant to work with the Liquor Stores Association of NT (LSA NT) to develop a cooperative approach in achieving their harm reduction goals. ALSA’s local members in the LSA NT, stand ready to assist with a government funded education campaign for members, their staff and their customers.

The positive trends in Australians’ alcohol consumption are a clear indication of increasing public awareness of the importance of drinking responsibly and in moderation. While the vast majority drink sensibly, certain groups do still require the support of programs that focus on education, awareness and changing their behaviour regarding alcohol. Labelling can play an important part in providing complementary messaging to this broader public health awareness. In Australia this occurs via voluntary industry initiatives to promote the healthy use of alcohol through labelling or point-of-sale advertising, with agreements reached between industry and government. To support this, DrinkWise has developed consumer information messages for alcohol labels to assist Australian consumers to better understand the facts about alcohol consumption. Incorporating these messages on alcohol labels talks directly to consumers. The messages encourage people to ‘Get the Facts’ from the DrinkWise website – where they can find evidencebased information about alcohol. In 2010, DrinkWise successfully developed consumer information messages for voluntary inclusion on alcohol labels to allow Australian consumers to better understand the facts around alcohol consumption. Similarly, producers have the option of adopting the issuespecific message ‘It is safest not to drink while pregnant’ or the ‘pregnant lady’ pictogram. A recent audit has shown 62 per cent of all alcohol products now carry a pregnancy health warning label, and when broken down between types of alcohol and price points, this is much higher. It’s also much higher when looking at products consumed by volume – particularly those sold through large retailers, with many segments at or close to, 100 per cent. The focus of DrinkWise and industry associations is now encouraging similar uptake by the smaller, independent and emerging craft operators, who often sell direct to consumers and are just starting out. Public awareness around drinking and pregnancy is encouragingly high, with 98 per cent of Australian women stopping or significantly reducing their drinking when they find out they are pregnant. However, there is a limit to which labelling and awareness can solve the complex problems around harmful consumption by pregnant women. Behavioural change must be gained through public health campaigns with the cooperation of industry, not through restrictions on businesses. Australian governments are currently discussing the labelling issue via the Council of Australian Governments process and the temperance activists are continuing to push for draconian interventions and regulation, like compulsory labelling with shocking graphic images and warnings. With this in mind we should encourage all new and emerging participants in our industry to do their bit to help maintain the current high awareness levels.







In May, Australian Grenache will be taking centre stage at Vinexpo Hong Kong. The second day of the international wine fair will be dedicated to the variety, with three masterclasses exploring the complexity and flexibility of Australian Grenache. It has a distinguished history in international and Australian wine production, and recent trends are suggesting a resurgence in its popularity. Australia has some of the oldest Grenache vines in the world and up until the late 1960s it was the most widely planted variety in Australia, as it was well suited to the fortified wines that dominated Australian wine production. With the boom in red wine consumption in Australia in the 1970s and a swing to white wine in the 1980s, Grenache plantings were soon overtaken by Shiraz, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The extraordinary growth in Australian exports in the 1990s saw vineyard plantings of these four varieties increase further. Over the past 20 years, attitudes to Grenache have gradually changed. In 2017, almost 18,000 tonnes of Grenache grapes were crushed nationally – an increase of 33 per cent compared to 2016. The proportional increase was twice as much as that for Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, but that said, it is still not one of the top 10 varieties grown. The increase in the crush reflects the growing demand for Grenache wines, particularly for Grenache blends such as Grenache Shiraz Mataro (Mataro is also known as Mourvédre). In 2017, a year when off-trade wine sales overall in the domestic market were flat in volume terms and increased by just two per cent in value terms, Grenache blends (in the red bottled category) grew by 19 per cent in value and 24 per cent in volume. Grenache as a straight variety on the other hand decreased by one per cent in value – reflecting the change in the way this variety is being used by winemakers. In exports, the top five Australian label claims with Grenache in the name are Shiraz/Grenache, Grenache/Shiraz/Mourvédre, Grenache/Shiraz, Shiraz/Grenache/Mourvédre and Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon/Mourvédre/ Grenache – indicating the versatility of this variety. Another opportunity for Grenache is in rosé wines. Grenache is one of the most commonly used varieties in this wine style, which has shown dramatic recent increases in popularity. To illustrate the revival in Grenache, in 2017, for the first time, the Jimmy Watson Trophy was awarded to a Grenache. The fruit for the winning Turkey Flat 2016 Barossa Valley Grenache was predominantly sourced from 98-year-old Grenache vines grown in the Turkey Flat vineyard. The revival in Grenache exemplifies the Australian grape and wine community’s commitment to innovation and questing to make wines with a sense of place. We now grow more than 100 different grape varieties in 65 wine regions across the country.

INNOVATIVE APPROACHES TO PREGNANCY MESSAGING Since 2011 DrinkWise, in partnership with the alcohol industry, has been promoting the National Health and Medical Council’s alcohol guideline that it’s safest not to drink while pregnant via alcohol product labels and packaging. Recognising that the messages on labels is only one part of a larger consumer education effort, which is why we have created a range of initiatives to educate the community about the consumption of alcohol while pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning a pregnancy. Some of these initiatives include: Partnering with drinks retailers to promote these messages at outlets, resulting in the distribution of more than one million brochures across over 3,500 retailers nationally; Producing clinical resources for medical centres across Australia, encouraging medical professionals to discuss alcohol consumption during pregnancy with their patients. We have continued to issue thousands of resources for use in medical practices, academic institutions, schools and community centres since 2012; Distributing materials featuring the pregnancy message to every cellar door and winery restaurant across Australia; DrinkWise advertising and editorial in mothers’ magazine Shopping for baby; editorial and digital advertising on parents retail site TiniTrader provided the opportunity for innovative and targeted messaging to over 330,000 women and their partners; Promoting the pregnancy message through new mother and media personality, Bec Maddern, in the Herald Sun (pictured). Our recently commissioned consumer research revealed that 75 per cent of 18 to 40-year-olds surveyed had seen pregnancy messages on products and packaging. Importantly, this result increased to 89 per cent among the young adult population. Additionally, more than two thirds (67 per cent) of survey respondents thought the labels provided useful information, with almost 40 per cent having taken some form of action after seeing the labels, primarily reducing their consumption or sharing the information with others. It is essential that this activity is supported by every producer adopting the pregnancy pictogram and ‘Get the Facts’ logo on all alcoholic products. A recent government report showed that although 75 per cent of alcoholic products with the greatest market share carry the pregnancy message, many small to mid-size producers in cider, craft, spirit and wine categories have yet to incorporate the logos. In an effort to assist with uptake, DrinkWise has been working with industry associations to highlight the importance of including these logos on products to their membership. If you have not been contacted by your industry association, please contact them or request the logos directly from DrinkWise (







Jeff McWilliam from McWilliam’s Wines with Steve Gerrard from Hallgarten.

Andrew Blythe from Ferngrove Wines.

Brian Lamb from Paxton Biodynamic Wines.

Mike Brown from Gemtree Wines.



t was a cold and snowy Düsseldorf that greeted the Australian and New Zealand wine industry at ProWein 2018. But the weather didn’t seem to affect the business meetings and buying transactions with a record number of exhibitors on the Wine Australia and New Zealand Winegrowers stands. Overall the show attracted more than 60,000 trade visitors and over 6,870 exhibitors from 64 countries, with numbers up from 6,615 exhibitors from 62 countries in 2017. More than 75 Australian wineries with over 500 individual products were present at the exhibition. The NZ Winegrowers stand at ProWein grew by 40 per cent in 2018 with over 70 wineries on display at the exhibition.

NEW WINES HEADING TO AUSTRALIA Farnese Vini, the largest winery on the south coast of Italy, confirmed that new products will be coming to Australia through Joe Molinari at Combined Wines & Foods. Fantini by Farnese president Valentino Sciotti said the 30 year-old winery draws on the passion of its 20 young winemakers from around the world to deliver wines such as the Fantini Edizione Cinque Autoctoni recognised as Wine of the Year by Italian sommeliers. “In Australia, selling Italian wine does not have to be about price. We know that high quality Italian wines are enjoyed by Australian consumers and we look forward to bringing these wines to Australian retailers,” Sciotti said. Following a sharp rise in sales of the Now biodynamic and preservative-free red wine, Brian Lamb from Paxton Wines said he has seen increasing acceptance from buyers across a broad range of counties from Scandinavia through to the Wholefoods chain in North America. As a result, a white version of Now


will be launched in July this year featuring 100 per cent Chardonnay. McLaren Vale based Paxton has also changed the way its wines are fined, so they can now claim that the wines are vegan friendly providing further access to a growing segment of the market.

GETTING EXPERIMENTAL Gemtree Wines released one of the most extraordinary wines at ProWein. Subterra features 100 per cent handpicked Shiraz grapes from the biodynamic McLaren Vale vineyard stored in a one-year-old barrel and allowed to go through malolactic fermentation and buried two metres underground for eight months. The result was a vintage that delivered just 240 bottles of a completely natural wine that benefited from a constant soil temperature of 12-14 degrees. Winemaker and owner Mike Brown claims it is about as pure as a wine can get. Natural wine producer, Alpha Box + Dice, continues to improve its wines as it experiments with the level of sulphur that is required to be added to ensure that it is still classified as natural and also ensures the wine remains commercially acceptable and delivers sufficient bottle age for storage and transportation purposes. Alpha Box + Dice Co-owner Justin Fairweather said they use 20 parts per million of sulphur which is more than three times less than the accepted natural wine standard and continues to employ minimal intervention practices including organic or biodynamic fruit where possible. McGuigan Wines Chief Winemaker and CEO, Neil McGuigan, was less than complementary when it came to talking about natural wine as a category. He described natural or orange wine as a “grape-based alcoholic beverage” that is “not really wine”. After 18 months of planning, Ferngrove released its new Independence range, which was

designed to show the East Coast winemaking fraternity their ability to produce unique wine styles such as Shiraz Pinot and Chardonnay Marsanne. The Independence label has two distinct uses – it is a polite reminder that Western Australia sought to become an independent state in 1933 with a failed referendum and it also provides an export opportunity into the US market once again for Ferngrove with the wine launching on the auspiciously timed 4th of July.

AUSSIE EXPORTS Johnathan O’Neill from Angoves described ProWein as one of the better shows over the last five years with more buyers visiting their stand unexpectedly than in previous years. O’Neill believes a wine shortage around the world is leading to opportunities for countries such as Australia. Angoves is maintaining its focus on organic wines that is becoming more mainstream in Europe. Exports of organic wines have increased from five per cent five years ago to now representing 20 per cent with some countries such as the Netherlands and Scandinavia now only buying organic wines. Château Tanunda emphasised the old vine character of their wines with 50-year, 100-year and 150-year vine age expressions. Michelle and John Geber were showcasing these wines to buyers at ProWein with the 150 year-old Field Blend of Grenache, Malbec and Mourvèdre priced at $500 a bottle. The 50 year-old expressions are priced at $80 per bottle and the 100 year-old expressions are priced at $150 per bottle. Robert Oatley Wines said it had received strong acceptance in North America and increasingly Australia for its 30-litre disposable kegged wine now available in five varietals – Giesen Sauvignon Blanc, Four In Hand Barossa Shiraz, Robert Oatley Chardonnay from the Margaret River, Wild Oats Pinot Grigio and Josef


Peter Yealands.

Pierre-Henri Morel from Two Hands Wines.

Richard Thomas from Villa Maria.

Theo Giesen from Giesen Wines.

Justin Fairweather from Alpha Box & Dice.

Joe Molinari (Combined Wines) and Valentino Sciotti (Farnese)

Chromy Pepik Pinot Noir from Tasmania. Anthony Wilkes from Howard Park Wines attended ProWein for the 10th year and found buyer interest in Margaret River cool climate wines, although they are not the cheapest Australian wine available. The second-generation winery is playing a long game in Europe and used the show to meet with Canadian, Irish, American, English and Indian distributors. James Carman from Fox Creek Wines launched a 2016 Grenache at ProWein sourced from 97 year-old vines, following previous buyer interest for his GSM. He believes the Grenache is likely to build in momentum and it will also be available for independent retailers in Australia.

RECRUITING MILLENNIALS Allister Ashmead from Elderton Wines said that with 20 export partners ProWein offered a chance to meet with the majority of their business partners over just a few days. While Ashmead admitted that targeting millennials was not his primary objective with higher priced Barossa wines, the launch late last year of their new cellar door is providing Australian and international visitors with the opportunity to experience the Elderton story on the family property. Jeff McWilliam from McWilliam’s Wines announced a new European distribution agreement with Hallgarten Druitt & Novum. With a diverse portfolio, McWilliams Wines are continuing to recruit millennial consumers with bottles featuring unique and contemporary packaging which differentiates from the regional stories behind the McW range. Sustainable farming practices are also becoming a stronger focus for the family business. Pierre-Henri Morel from Two Hands said he received a broad range of enquiries on his stand this year from Ghana, Guatemala, UK, India, China, Quebec, Greece as well as All Nippon

Airways and Qatar Airways. The winery has maintained the same quantity of production for over a decade and now sells wine to almost 70 countries globally. Peter Yealands predicted that the 2018 New Zealand vintage would represent a record 450,000 tonnes and Marlborough as high as 370,000 tonnes with good quality expected. Yealands said he is currently experimenting with wine in cans under the BabyDoll brand as he seeks to find product to meet the needs of millennial consumers. Sauvignon Blanc still represents 70 per cent of the hectares in the Yealands vineyards, but he is also keen to plant Albariño and Chardonnay over the coming year. As the sixth largest winery in New Zealand, Yealands will be celebrating its 10th anniversary on the eighth of August 2018, but this is not reducing the long term aim to become the leading winery in the country. Richard Thomas from Villa Maria was pleased to see most buyers looking for premium wines as consumers seek higher price points for New Zealand wines. With more than 140 separate SKUs in the range, there were no new products for the exhibition, but additional stand space provided more storytelling for the other brands in the stable – Vidal, Esk Valley, Thornbury and Left Field – which are all performing well in the domestic market as well as internationally. Co-owner of Giesen Wines, Theo Giesen, said that New Zealand wine remains in vogue internationally and is up by double digits in the US and in the UK. Giesen production is 80 per cent Sauvignon Blanc, followed by Chardonnay and Riesling with 97 per cent of production exported to 60 countries. Pernod Ricard Winemakers Global Ambassador, Jim Robertson said his Stoneleigh Wild Valley Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

with wild yeast fermentation was the most popular with global buyers as they are looking for different expressions of the well-known New Zealand wine varietal. Brent Marris from Marisco was equally ebullient about his wild-fermented 2011 Pride & Glory Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc featuring tropical characters rather than the traditional flavours associated with the varietal. Marris believes that wild ferment is not necessarily a trend yet, but it is somewhere he can push the boundaries of winemaking. New Zealand winery Allan Scott Wines introduced the second vintage of its hopped Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc in a can – Gooseberry Bomb – which features 11.5 per cent ABV. The next canned wine to be introduced will be the Razor’s Edge Riesling with Lemongrass and Chilli with approximately nine per cent ABV. Babich Wines had a series of marketing and packaging announcements at ProWein with a new label which was changed after 30 years to make it more female friendly without alienating males. A new marketing campaign titled: ‘Where does experience take you?’ was unveiled drawing on the winery’s century of existence and experience. Babich also released Forbidden Vines Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir Rosé in pink and blue shrink-sleeve packaging to appeal to the millennial consumer under 35 years of age which they claim now represents 33 per cent of the wine category. Mark Shaw from Saint Clair Estate uses ProWein to meet with partners selling his wine in 85 separate markets and received strong interest from Eastern European countries. While Sauvignon Blanc represents 80 per cent of Saint Clair production, it is experimenting with additional varietals including Grüner Veltliner, Viognier and Gewürztraminer.



VOYAGER ESTATE CELEBRATES 40TH BIRTHDAY WITH ORGANIC CERTIFICATION Margaret River winery, Voyager Estate, will commemorate its 40th birthday this year with a shift to full organic certification in a threestage process. “We are very excited to start the conversion to organic certification, Voyager Estate head of sales, Fiona Findlay told National Liquor News. “We have 40 hectares currently in conversion which includes all of our top Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz blocks that will be certified in 2020, and then the remaining vineyard blocks will be certified over the next two years. So by 2023, we are planning to have all 120 hectares fully certified and that is a really big step for us. “We have always farmed sustainably and in a very natural way we are very committed to the environment and keeping the land in its most natural state. We feel it will make better quality wine and we also feel strongly about how important it is to keep the environment pristine. “Our first plantings were in 1978, so this year we will be running a series of activities to mark our 40-year anniversary at home in the Margaret River but also a series of events up and down the East Coast to make sure we enjoy this with as many of our customers as possible.”

Fiona Findlay from Voyager Estate.



Michael Calabria Calabria Family Wines has released a new product called Kings of Prohibition with unique packaging targeted specifically at millennial wine consumers. “Kings of Prohibition is a new brand and reflects our aim to be a little bit different,” said Calabria Sales and Marketing Manager, Andrew Calabria. “To achieve this we started looking at some unique packaging formats and we paid for some market research on what precisely the millennial is buying and what is important to them. “As a company we are in a transition at the moment, with my brothers and my sister and our staff in general. We are quite young and we want to keep the evolution going by offering something different and outside of the square, and also have some fun while doing it. “The research showed us that millennials are happy to spend higher dollar value per bottle, so it is not about the cheapest wine they can find. So we decided to take some very good wine – a Barossa Cabernet Shiraz blend – that we are already producing and put it into a less traditional format of bottle that is not your typical Bordeaux or Burgundy bottle. We took inspiration for the labeling, packaging and the story from what is happening in the spirits and craft beer industries. Kings of Prohibition will be available from June and is expected to retail for $15. Calabria Family Wines has also released a 750ml format of Bevi Spritz, which was released in a 200ml format last year.

KINGSTON ESTATE TARGETS MILLENNIALS WITH MO SISTERS Kingston Estate has Bill Moularadellis with unveiled a new wine the Mo Sisters range. label targeting emerging wine consumers. Kingston Estate Managing Director and Winemaker Bill Moularadellis, told National Liquor News the Mo Sisters label has been inspired by his three daughters and is designed to appeal to new entrants to the wine category. “There is a new crop of people turning 18 everyday and you have to be talking to them in their language. This is a new generation of wine consumers and it is changing. They have discretion and choice over what they do with their disposable income and wine is part of that choice and if you are engaging – we believe you will have some success. If you keep offering what was being served up for their parents, they will walk by and totally ignore it. You need to remember that the new people who are about to buy your wine have not been buying your wine before. “This is a natural progression for Kingston Estate – we have historically targeted the conservative and traditional market, but the proportion of the population that is attracted to that is decreasing. So we took the decision to re-engage and we realise that sometimes you need to take a step back. You are not able to create something new by looking in the rear-vision mirror and by looking backwards. The products that are going to be successful in the future are not out there yet and so therefore we all need to try a few things.”


Shifting Rank ALISON DAVIS LONGVIEW VINEYARD GENERAL MANAGER Longview Vineyard has appointed a new General Manager (Events and Hospitality), Alison Davis. Davis previously worked for eight years at the Colonist Hotel on The Parade, Norwood, South Australia. With years of experience training staff in food and wine, operations and events, Davis will oversee the event, tasting room and accommodation departments, working closely with Event Manager Jessica Whitaker to solidify Longview as a go-to venue for not only weddings but also corporates, tourism and wine experiences. Davis will work with the team and outside organisations to build accommodation visitation, to position this familyowned vineyard as a premier wine, food and tourism destination.

MATT YOUNG TREASURY WINE ESTATES CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Treasury Wine Estates has appointed a new Chief Financial Officer, promoting current Deputy CFO Matt Young into the position. Young has worked at TWE since 2014, and in his time with the company has held several senior finance roles, including leading the global financial control team, and his most recent position as Deputy CFO. Prior to joining TWE, Young was a Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia, providing commercial support to complex, global organisations in the FMCG and Retail industries. Young replaces existing CFO, Gunther Burghardt, who is moving to the role of Executive Vice President, Operations in TWE’s US business.

MICHELLE TERRY TREASURY WINE ESTATES CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER Michelle Terry has been appointed as Chief Marketing Officer, after more than 10 years in various senior marketing and strategy roles across TWE and Foster’s Group. Terry has led marketing across every geography of the TWE business, including the Asia and Americas regions. She brings a wealth of international strategic and brand building experience, along with strong leadership capability. Terry has more than 20 years’ experience in marketing for consumer goods, retail and professional services, working for blue chip organisations including Marks & Spencer, Accenture and Ernst & Young.

GUILLAUME DEGLISE VINEXPO CHIEF EXECUTIVE Vinexpo has announced its Chief Executive Guillaume Deglise will be leaving the company right after the Hong Kong exhibition, scheduled to take place 29 to 31 May 2018. Deglise started his career in Champagne, before being appointed CEO of Vinexpo in 2013. Under his leadership, the company undertook the recovery of its flagship Vinexpo Bordeaux and the strong development of Vinexpo Hong Kong, the leading wine and spirits event in Asia-Pacific. Deglise also launched new exhibitions in Tokyo (2014) New York (2018) and Paris (scheduled in 2020) as well as Vinexpo Explorer, a business convention concept in the vineyards. Deglise plans to continue his career in the wine and spirits industry.

ANNOUNCE YOUR NEWEST STAFF Simply send the details of your newest staff member to along with a high-res headshot and share the news of your latest appointment.


JO O’REILLY Senior Partner Reilly Scott

ATTRACTING EMPLOYEES When you think of employer branding leaders i.e. businesses that are widely regarded as great places to work, you think of companies like Google and Facebook. These companies spend a lot of money promoting their employer brand with a view to attracting the best talent in the market and it works. Google, reportedly receives over two million resumes a year. Now assuming, like 99 per cent of businesses, you don’t have the same budget as Google what can you do to make your business attractive enough to have would-be employees flock to you? The first thing to consider is that you don’t need to appeal to everyone, just the people that you want to hire. Like any type of branding, knowing your audience and what appeals to them is the key. Look at your competition is there anything that they offer that you currently don’t, but could? Talk to your staff, particularly the long termers, and find out what they like about working for you. Do they have any suggestions that could be easily and cheaply implemented? When you meet with prospective candidates, ask them what they liked about previous employers. Use all of this information and put a clear employee value proposition together. Once that’s done, get busy promoting it. Your staff will be the best vessel to share your message. Savvy job seekers respond to authenticity and what better validation of your company, than displaying the passion of your staff. Social media is one of the best channels to share your message and most importantly it’s free. Use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to show the personality of your business (keep LinkedIn for more client targeted messages). Having a company BBQ, Melbourne cup event, in fact any outing or fun moment that you share with your team? Take and post photos and have your team share them. Don’t stop at social media, make sure your company’s digital presence is aligned to your core values; the career page of your website; any job ad you place; also pay close attention to employer review sites like Glassdoor. Encourage your staff to write reviews. There’s a reason that they work for you, why not share it. For information on this or other recruitment related matters please contact Jo O’Reilly on





ccasions are important in retailing because they provide a point of relevance and are the reasons that shoppers are coming to you outside of their routine stock up and top ups of regular products. With occasion-based retailing, because you’re fulfilling a specific need, and telling a story, price becomes less important. Previously I’ve written about specific kinds of occasions, ranging from Mother’s Day to Father’s Day and gifting. These are examples of what I would call ‘retail occasions’. Here I’m going to overview these and some of the other types of occasions. You’ll see there are enough occasions to fill a calendar for pretty much the whole year. The timing of some may overlap, and you can’t do everything at once, but even if you have just one rotating display in the store that you change out every two weeks (which may or may not be linked to the promotional products program), you’re providing an ongoing point of interest, relevance and news for shoppers, particularly those who may be visiting you several times a month. The aim is to create the impression for shoppers that you are their destination irrespective of what their need or occasion is. Broadly I define types of occasions in this way: • Retail and gifting occasions • Commemorative and religious • Sporting and events • Consumption occasions • Seasonal A short outline of each group follows. Note for the purposes of this I haven’t included ‘sale’ driven events such as End of Financial Year, Black Friday, Cyber Monday Click Frenzy, Boxing Day sales etc. Although these are retail events, they are driven by retailer ‘push’ rather than a cultural occasion or individual consumer need that creates ‘pull’.

RETAIL AND GIFTING OCCASIONS Aside from individuals’ birthdays, the most commonly executed occasions on the retailing calendar include Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween (increasingly), and Christmas. (Christmas would also sit in Religious). As discussed previously, liquor can fulfil the role of either ‘main’ or ‘fall back’ gift depending on how premium it is and whether


or not it is the recipient’s preferred or favourite drink. Retail gifting occasions are an opportunity to up trade shoppers as they are looking to add value (quality) to the gift itself rather than a bargain for themselves.

COMMEMORATIVE AND RELIGIOUS This is everything from Australia Day, Anzac Day, Queen’s Birthday and New Year’s Eve through to Easter, All Saints Day/Day of the Dead, Cinco de Mayo, St Patrick’s Day, Bastille Day, US Independence day etc. Many of these offer an opportunity to showcase something specific to the country of origin. Obvious examples include Guinness and Irish Whiskey for St Patrick’s Day, Bordeaux reds for Bastille Day, top end Bourbon for Independence Day, tequila for Cinco de Mayo and Day of the Dead. The public holiday occasions such as Australia Day are well understood as barbeque and picnic occasions and should have ‘barbie packs’, ‘picnic packs’ and ‘party zones’ executed accordingly.

SPORTING AND EVENTS This is probably the occasion that is most activated after retail gifting. It includes events such as footy finals, Olympics, even simply the Boxing Day test. As discussed it involves marketing to blokes sitting on the couch and possibly having other blokes around to sit on the couch with them. These events should be marketed with various snack and food types for the ‘sport on TV’ occasion.

CONSUMPTION OCCASIONS Here is where there’s a real opportunity to tap into consumers’ need states. Consumption occasions can range from occasions for self, such as ‘weeknight wind down’, through to various types of entertaining occasions other than barbecues, such as ‘impress your friends at dinner’, ‘dinner party’, ‘dinner out’, and parties of varying sizes and levels of formality. The more formal, the more premium you can go.

SEASONAL Another underutilised opportunity is based around the seasons of the year – summer, autumn, winter and spring. ‘Winter Warmers’ is done occasionally using red wines and spirits such as Scotch and Bundaberg Rum, but dark beers are also an opportunity here as is Bourbon. Summer is an opportunity for clean crisp wine styles – rosé, Moscato, Prosecco etc – as well as white spirits. Diageo did a good job a few years ago with its ‘Summer Drinks’ occasions program that broke down summer drinking occasions into types of consumption and need states – celebratory, low key barbeque, upmarket cocktails etc. It goes without saying that it’s not enough to just activate in-store, these occasions should be promoted through your other marketing mechanisms including catalogue, website and in your customer eDMs etc. Happy occasion calendar building!





he Australian Liquor Stores Association (ALSA) and IRI launched the third annual State of the Industry Report in front of around 50 Federal Ministers, Senators, MPs and industry guests at Parliament House in Canberra last month. The report was launched by Senator Anne Ruston who thanked ALSA and IRI for the report as it helps politicians put science into debates that can become overrun with emotion. “Thank you very much for the opportunity to launch this report, I was delighted to be asked,” Senator Ruston said. “The responsibility that the industry has shown over so many years and particularly over recent years, about being responsible about the promotion of alcohol consumption, making sure that we have all of the protections in place for all of those people that perhaps are influenced to drink more than they should. “I thank ALSA for putting the investment into the State of the Industry Reports. One of the great travesties of modern day life is that the science is being drowned out by the emotion and the only way we are going to get the science back into the debate is by having publications like this where you have taken the initiative to communicate the facts about your industry.” The report details that the Australian retail liquor sector generated sales of $17.5bn in 2017, but ALSA CEO, Terry Mott, said at the launch that the report was about much more than just sales. “The report provides a wealth of fact-based analysis, providing a clear snapshot of the jobs as well as the economic and social contribution that the retail packaged sector and the alcohol beverages industry makes to the Australian economy,” Mott said. “ALSA has collated the analysis of consumption trends, identification of challenges for our members’ business from the increasing burden of regulatory measures and this we believe will help politicians, regulators and retailers better understand and deal with the major issues in our everchanging marketplace.” He added: “Thanks to the professional analysis from IRI, the report also importantly identified many opportunities for ALSA retailers to build on the continuing shift in Australia’s relationship with alcohol beverages – away from volume and with a preference


Terry Mott and David Shukri.

“It is important to understand yesterday in order to anticipate and plan for tomorrow,” David Shukri, IRI. towards more premium products and this is a continuing trend we have seen over the last three reports. In doing so, it provides extremely useful and detailed category insights focusing on the key performance driving each segment. “We all want a safer and better drinking environment and one where ALSA and our members are recognised and respected for the economic and social wellbeing that the sector contributes. ALSA and IRI are proud of the results following months of analysis to create the report.” David Shukri, Channel Development Director at IRI, said that the report is a very strong asset for all the industry and one that everyone should be reading in order to understand what is happening in the market and how to best make the most of the opportunities. “It is important to understand yesterday in

order to anticipate and plan for tomorrow,” Shukri said. “One of IRI’s core capabilities is market measurement which is why this report is such a comprehensive and excellent exposé of how the retail liquor industry evolved last year. “From a high-level perspective and the total value of each segment, through to the drivers of growth at a more granular level, this report is a tremendous foundation for anyone operating in the industry, whether supplier or retailer, if they want to understand and then pivot into action.” The 2018 ALSA-IRI State of the Industry Report comes in two formats: a long format which is available to ALSA members and a shorter format available to everyone in the wider industry. Both are available on the ALSA website.

Wayne Wants to Know if the Punk is Feeling Lucky?  Bell Tower Times There is never a dull day in an Armadale bottle shop, so the eerie quiet of Thursday afternoon is particularly suspicious. Believing the coast is clear, Wayne takes a moment to relax and enjoy a crossword. Suddenly, he hears a familiar voice piercing through the serenity. It’s Maria, the 60 year old bargain-seeking scud missile and she has her aim set on a bottle of her father’s favourite port, “what’s the best price you can do darrrrling”. Wayne is no stranger to Maria’s flirty dance of the discount and concedes no ground before hearing another familiar voice, “what have you got for free Wayne?” Like always, Wayne produces an empty bag to Maria’s father, “can do you a 6 pack of air how about that?”

Wayne gets back to his crossword when his shitbagy sense starts tingling. A few decades in the bottle shop game has turned Wayne into the Elliot Stabler of especially heinous shoplifting based offences. Wayne knows that the worst thieves are always the ones you suspect the least. A young couple with a pram are acting as suss as a vegan around a petting zoo gate. To the casual observer they are just checking in on their baby, but Wayne suspects something more sinister. When they come up to try and pay for a single stubby Wayne sees through them like a millennial’s dress at a music festival, “your baby sure clinks a lot, must have that new glass Fisher Price toy?” Unwilling to test Wayne, the couple abandon the decoy pram and flee like they had 3 months to serve in a Balinese prison.

retail banner group of the year

2011 . 2014 . 2015 . 2017

While recovering his stock from the pram, Wayne is approached by a gent that looks young enough to have a faint memory of his own umbilical cord, “got some ID mate?” The young’n hands Wayne his cousin’s expired ID. Wayne sighs, “says here it’s your birthday? You have to give me the number of your Botox guy, you look great for 42 mate”. The jig is up and the kid starts sweating like a substitute teacher in a portable classroom. Wayne then gestures towards the kids backpack, “a back to school themed party is it?” Yep, the kid’s school tie is poking out. Wayne’s glare almost sends the kid back to the start of puberty, which probably only was last week to be honest.

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for stuff that is a little bit different and not commonly promoted, like small batch brewers and things like that. The other thing that we have a real focus on is good customer service. We all strongly believe that loyalty is not dead, it is customer service that is dead. Often you walk into the chain stores and you don’t actually have contact with anyone until you get to the checkout. For us, a part of our mandate is that every customer gets greeted within 30 seconds of entering the store, regardless of if you’ve got other customers at the counter or not, they still need to be greeted. We find that even if you don’t know them and you just say ‘G’day mate’ or whatever, that makes them feel welcome and it encourages them to buy. So more people who walk through your door will make a purchase rather than just browsing and leaving.


Q WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO RELOCATE THE HAZELBROOK STORE? We had been looking for a bigger space and the reason is two-fold. We had wanted to refresh the old store – obviously IBA has a really good refresh program to bring all of their stores up to a better level. Our old store was tired and hadn’t had anything done to it in about 20 years, so it needed it. The plan was to refresh it at the end of 2018 but when the owners closed in this new venue it meant that we weren’t moving far (Dan moved his store to the space next door). There were other alternatives, but they were either around the corner or off the main drag or a significant expense to buy a block of land to buy and develop our own set of shops, which we weren’t quite ready or interested in doing just yet. So it really became a no-brainer in the end but it just meant that we had to bring the refresh forward and really push it along.

Q WHAT HAVE YOU DONE DIFFERENTLY IN THIS NEW SPACE? We’ve given it a better flow and a little bit more space for people to move around and browse, we’ve tried to focus on having opportunities to grow our own avenues. While we still fit into the Bottle-O and Cellarbrations key planograms we have also developed some space so we can continue to grow the lines that we source ourselves because we do find that we do about 50-50 of sales between the things we source and key retail. So while I do still very much believe in the key retail program, this just seems to be the way our business has gone so we have to foster that and develop it, so with that in mind we’ve deliberately designed the store to be able to keep our banner happy but also have that relationship with customers as well.

Q WHAT APPROACHES DO YOU TAKE TO GIVE YOUR STORE A UNIQUE OFFERING? We try and differentiate ourselves against the chains in that we are locals, if you come in here you’ve got quite a good chance of speaking to the manager who is a local or alternatively the people who own the store, who again live and are a part of the community. We focus on trying to shop outside of the key core ranges of the Bottle-O. The Bottle-O and Cellarbrations offer a great range that is well promoted and certainly does have a large influence in drawing people into our stores, but we’ve developed a reputation for having unique things, such as preservative free and organically grown wines. So looking


DO YOU FIND THEY COMPETE AGAINST EACH OTHER? No, our customer bases are totally different. When we first opened the Lawson store we basically just thought that they were two and a half kilometres apart so we just photocopied the store at Hazelbrook and put it into Lawson, and we added a few additional ranges that we wouldn’t normally have room to keep at Hazelbrook, but in the first eight months we deleted or removed around 180 lines that just didn’t work, mostly wines – so it’s a totally different market in the wine game. The beers are fairly generic in both stores although they do have a slightly stronger craft market at Lawson. Hazelbrook is predominantly wine but we’re interested to see if that changes now that we’ve refreshed the store and made it new. We have already seen an upturn in trade, I didn’t expect it because we’re a local trade but we’re getting about 12 per cent better turnover which is amazing, and it’s actually held up for two weeks so far, so we’ll see what happens as the shine starts to fall off and it just becomes the local Bottle-O again, but we’ll take it while we can get it.

Q WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST ISSUES CURRENTLY FACING INDEPENDENT RETAILERS? I think the biggest issues at the moment are trying to get the headspace working in the right direction where we’re not focusing on trying to take on the chains too much. A lot of us are getting lost in that daily churn of just putting beer on special or heavily discounting wines, and while that has a place and you do need to do that to a point to show that you can be competitive, I think we tend to overdo it a little bit at the moment and we’re not focusing on areas where the chains can’t take us on, such as in small batch boutique breweries or wineries and things like that which have a small amount of product that they can distribute through a key range of stores and then have promotional activities around it but without having to take on the chains and having everyone race to be the lowest bottom as we call it.



BELVEDERE LAUNCHES SINGLE ESTATE RYE SERIES Luxury vodka brand, Belvedere, has revealed its latest innovation, The Belvedere Single Estate Rye Series. The series aims to bring the idea of terroir into vodka with the launch of two distinct vodkas, Smogóry Forest and Lake Bartężek. Both vodkas are created using the same Polish Dankowskie Diamond Rye, but with both being from different regions, the differences in the vodka are attributed to the terroir. Matt Pomeroy, Global Director of Brand Education at Belvedere vodka, told National Liquor News: “Belvedere has always stayed true to its identity and it’s always been about the raw ingredient and it’s always been about the rye and about the challenge against neutrality. With Polish vodka you are not allowed to add anything to the vodka, so with Belvedere there has always been this focus on Polish tradition, Polish culture and rye flavour; Belvedere has always been about character and simplicity. “The brand is built around three passions which are Poland, rye and character and so we’ve made a conscious choice to really explore rye and for rye to be the hero of what we do, and to see what journey rye can take us on and to challenge the concept that vodka is neutral.” The brand works with only seven farms and for this series selected two, focusing on the lakeside Bartężek and forested Smogóry, to illustrate the variation of terroir on Dankowskie Diamond rye. In comparing the two vodkas Belvedere said: “The Smogóry region is known for its vast forests, short, continental weather fronts, mild winters and fertile soils. This lush, forested terroir is reflected in the new distinctive vodka. With notes of salted caramel, a touch of honey and white pepper, it finishes salty-sweet. “In comparison Lake Bartężek is a region renowned for its crystal-clear glacial lakes, weather shaped by Baltic winds and long, snowy winters. It is this lakeside terroir that is reflected in this distinctive vodka. With notes of black pepper, toasted nuts and cream, it is full, round and mellow.”

SOUTHERN COMFORT LAUNCHES BLACK AS A SPIRIT AND RTD Southern Comfort has launched a new spirit and RTD, Southern Comfort Black, which has a more robust and whiskey-forward profile, designed to ‘dial up’ the brand’s authentic whiskey story. Australia is one of the first markets to launch the spirit, which was blended by Drew Mayville, Master Blender at Buffalo Trace and developed from a proprietary blend of whiskey sourced from Sazerac’s North American whiskey reserves. Southern Comfort Senior Brand Manager, James Johnstone, said: “As one of the first markets to launch Southern Comfort Black, we are incredibly excited about our plans to strengthen Southern Comfort’s position as an iconic whiskey brand with this new addition. “The Bourbon category has changed, Australians are looking for brands with provenance, authenticity and premium blend options – Southern Comfort Black answers these requirements and puts whiskey right back at the heart of the brand.” To support the launch, SouthTrade International will also launch Southern Comfort Black six per cent RTD. “With the arrival of Southern Comfort Black into market and paired with the global rebranding of the Southern Comfort trademark packaging, this latest product launch is another example of the kind of exciting innovation that we believe is needed to reframe the whiskey category in Australia and drive further growth in today’s growing high ABV RTD market,” Johnstone added. The 700ml bottle has a $54 RRP, while the 375ml RTD four-pack has a $22 RRP.  


SWIFT + MOORE BRING ON MULTIPLE BRANDS Australian distributor Swift + Moore has enjoyed a busy time, with multiple brands signing on with the company. Brands including Archie Rose, East Imperial, Till American Wheat Vodka, George Remus Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Nouaison Gin, La Quintiyne Vermouth Royal and Excellia Tequila have all signed with Swift + Moore. The distributor’s CEO Michael McShane told National Liquor News that the company was looking to deliver premium brands to the Australian market. “Australia is a vibrant market and it is a market where people do love brands and the younger legal-age drinkers in particular are looking for experiences. They are looking for brands that are authentic and all these deals are designed to help deliver on these consumer expectations,” he said. “The trends that you see in the United States, the UK and the rest of Europe are very much alive and well in Australia, and that’s why East Imperial, Archie Rose, Remus and others are doing really well.” In terms of what’s next for Swift + Moore, McShane told National Liquor News: “For us it is all about focusing on our customer brands, we’re not looking to be the biggest but we really want to be one of Australia’s leading premium beverage suppliers, and we’ll do that through focus. “We will continue to build over the next 12 months and you’ll see more coming from us over the next few months.” All the new partnership brands will be distributed by Swift + Moore throughout Australia via broad range wholesalers and those interested in finding out more can head to the Swift + Moore website.


HAHN LAUNCHES NEW LOOK RANGE Hahn has redesigned its range as the beer aims to evolve a new look which it hopes will “reflect the changing lifestyles of the Australian beer drinker”. The new packaging includes a green bottle for the entire range as well as a fresh logo and label design, which Portfolio Manager - Contemporary Brands, Marketing Amy Darvill says is designed to reinforce Hahn’s “great taste”. “The new green bottle delivers strong refreshment and taste credentials, and is featured front and centre on our new packaging to drive awareness of Hahn’s great taste,” Darvill told National Liquor News. “The new packaging designs deliver a more modern, contemporary image for Hahn, and will ensure the brand continues to stay relevant with Australians of today. We’ve also dialled up our low carb message on our packaging – we feel it’s important for consumers to be aware that they can have a great tasting beer, that also happens to have 70 per cent lower carbs than regular beer.” Darvill said that one of the key reasons behind the change was to fuel the growth of the contemporary beer segment, “by refreshing Hahn to unlock greater appeal among a wider audience”. Retailers will have seen the green bottle and new packaging hitting stores from April and Darvill told National Liquor News that Lion has support for retailers to go with the redesign. “The brand restage will be strongly supported in trade to ensure consumers are aware of Hahn’s new look. This includes full POS suites for independent customers, featuring a ‘same great taste, fresh new look’ message,” she said.

TASMANIAN PRODUCERS COLLABORATE ON NEW WHISKY AGED CIDER Tasmania’s Willie Smith’s Cider has collaborated with distillers Sullivans Cove to produce a Whisky Aged Cider; the first time the two awardwinning producers have combined. Willie Smith’s Head Cider Maker Dr Tim Jones said the collaboration was extremely rewarding. “One of the great things about working in the Tasmanian craft industry is the opportunity to work with other like-minded, innovative producers,” Dr Jones said. “In this case, the opportunity to work with Sullivan’s Cove was very much well received by the team and we’re very excited to be able to work with such an iconic Tasmanian whisky producer.” The collaboration has produced a special cloudy cider, which Sullivans Cove Whisky distiller Patrick McGuire says reflects the producer’s style thanks to the American oak, ex-Bourbon casks that were used. They have been used for two to four years before they were emptied and then used by us to mature our whisky for at least 12 years,” McGuire said. Dr Jones added: “We aged the best of our dry cider in their whisky casks for 16 months. And what that did was combine the flavour of Sullivan’s Cove whisky with that of our cider, producing a very complex and very unique product. “After careful maturation of the cider in the casks, we have produced a cider that reflects meticulous integration of distinctive whisky notes and dry cider complexity – it is rich and arming with spicy vanilla and fruit aromas and has a soft and textural palate.” The 2018 limited edition Special Reserve Willie Smith’s Whisky Aged Cider, was officially unveiled last month and will be available to selected retailers Australia wide.

BENTSPOKE ‘NOT FOR SALE’ Canberra’s BentSpoke Brewing Co has declared its independence and sought to quash “unfounded rumours in the industry” that the craft brewer was looking to follow the likes of 4Pines, Feral and Pirate Life and sell-up. “It’s flattering to hear some people think we’re worth $49 million,” said BentSpoke Co-owner and Head Brewer Richard Watkins, “but there is absolutely no substance to the rumour that we have sold all or part of our business.” “Here at BentSpoke we are a family business and we value our independence. We value our place in our local community as a brewer, as a beer wholesaler and retailer, as an employer, and as a place where friends can meet. “We also take a huge amount of pride in being able to make the kind of beer we want to make, and to make it the best way we think it can be made. “When you consider all of that, and bear in mind that our business is growing rapidly, we’re just not interested in giving it up, at any price.”

Tracey Margrain and Richard Watkins.


Banner on trend


Strength in numbers offers ILG members market presence and exposure.


THE STRENGTHS AND BENEFITS OF BANNER GROUPS There are numerous benefits for independent retailers to be part of a banner group from buying power to marketing and the opportunity to share insights and experience with your peers. Vaughan Peters, the National Trade Manager with Liquor Legends, highlights some of the key issues at his group. “There are multiple benefits of being part of a banner group and I’m sure each banner will present these differently. For Liquor Legends members specifically, having access to resources like Liquid Stock Control, State/Banner based programs, shopper insights, actual market data, a committed support team and great supplier relationships definitely helps.” Paul Esposito, GM at Independent Liquor Group (ILG), adds that being in a banner group can bring a sense of community and support to independent retailers. “For our bannered members and from a retail perspective, the strength in numbers, offers them market presence and exposure,” says Esposito. “In a very competitive market, the brand reinforces vigour and integrity, key elements consumers look for. Additionally, the opportunity to work with a group sharing the same goals and working towards their future together also provides a network to support each other as opposed to doing it on your own. It helps us form communities and our members feel much more confident and secure knowing that they have like-minded fellow members with similar aspirations.” In Western Australia, Liquor Barons GM, Chris O’Brien says that being part of a co-operative keeps their members engaged and that the group helps its members with the operational aspects of the business. “Liquor Barons members are the owners of the co-operative; they are the business decision-makers and are therefore highly engaged. We’ve been clear in our strategy over the past couple of years: ruthlessly control spending, pursuing profitability and continuing to invest in our brand. We know that one size does not fit all: forget state lines – we focus on suburb lines. What works in Swanbourne may not work in Armadale, and we are keenly aware of this. Our group


is flexible and nimble and we are able to quickly adapt to the needs of the market.” The sense of community and sharing with peers is a point that Giuseppe Minissale, GM at Porter’s, says should be a key attraction to retailers. “The benefit of being in a good banner group is that you get to talk to like-minded retailers about problems that you all similarly encounter,” he said. “With banners that are aligned to a proposition, like Porter’s, it is easier to talk to somebody who is experiencing the same issues, like shortages on premium wine, shortages on premium spirits and how to go round and find those exclusive and illusive brands that generate a significant amount of profit in your business.” Gavin Saunders, CEO of Liquor Marketing Group (LMG), says: “The benefits of being part of a banner group extend further than just joint buying power. Retail banner groups, like LMG, support our members to grow their sales and profitability. “We support our members with buying and signage, however we also provide in-store retail support, data and insights through member portal and sales team to assist to continually improve members businesses, store fitout and execution support along with a marketing program which draw customers to members’ stores.” Rod Pritchard at Australian Liquor Marketers (ALM), says his group’s national scale is a key benefit to its members. “Independent Brands Australia (IBA) have developed a strong suite of national retail banners, each tailored to support independent retailers operating across a wide variety of store formats. Each banner is supported with specific marketing programs and investment, to best meet shopper expectations. Leveraging our national scale, we ensure that IBA members are in a strong position to thrive in a competitive liquor retail market.” Corey Leeson, GM at Independent Liquor Retailers (ILR), adds: “Being part of a banner gives independent liquor retailers credibility and the ability to compete in a tough industry. Banner groups are there to provide members marketing plans that are designed to recruit consumers, upsell consumers and offer differentiation to the large chain stores.”

BANNER GROUPS UNDERSTANDING YOUR SHOPPER Understanding your shopper has always been a critical part of good retailing, but as technology has developed, the ability and capacity to do this has improved, and banner groups are using this information to help plan initiatives and marketing, as Mia Lloyd GM, United Inn-keeper Association Ltd (UIAL), points out. “We feel understanding the Thirsty Camel shopper is critically important; so much so that we commissioned an extensive shopper segmentation study in mid-2017, the largest by any independent liquor retailer. This allowed us to truly understand our shoppers, their needs, motivations and purchasing influences. In turn, we have used this research to strategically target segments with product ranging, promotional initiatives and marketing activity tailored specifically for them. “This deeper understanding of our core customer segments was instrumental to our exceptional summer trading result, with Thirsty Camel (Victoria) finishing the November 2017 to January 2018 period up 3.1 per cent in volume – three times the Victorian Liquor Weighted Market growth.” Peters agrees, adding that Liquor Legends is using the information to help it with the changing retail landscape. “Understanding our shopper is critical for the future of business. The competitive landscape is changing particularly with the attraction to the convenience around e-commerce. We’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with Personalised Messaging for over 14 months now which has delivered excellent shopper engagement resulting in greater transaction value. “Of course, the wealth of shopper data we have available via Liquid Stock Control is invaluable when establishing business plans with our supplier partners. State programs and strategy are continuously adjusted to maximise the opportunities that are identified around these shopper insights.” Not surprisingly O’Brien agrees on the importance of understanding your shopper, adding that technology has changed the way that Liquor Barons members go about this. “Understanding our customers is everything. We operate a high technology business, which gives us the data capabilities to understand in a very real way what they are buying, when, and from where, but most importantly – who. “Our Barons Advantage Club loyalty system allows us to implement automated targeted marketing campaigns based on what they already love to drink. Gone are the days when we rely on just verbal feedback instore from a customer: now we can interact with them via email, social media, our website and our blog.” Esposito adds that for ILG, understanding the shopper has helped it to see changes in consumer habits and subsequently develop plans to adapt to these changes in the best way for members. “In order for our members to grow it is important that they must get to know their customers so they can satisfy their expectations. Shopper behaviour over the last decade in our industry has changed into two segments, Big Box and Convenience. Big Box has the perception of discounted prices and the stores are designed to attract customers to browse. Most of our members fall into the convenience sector and will need to look at the digital space and social media to compete with the Big Box sector. This is the area we are focusing to enable us to better support them.” At LMG, Saunders is another to emphasise the importance of shopper understanding, adding that it is something the group has focused on in recent years. “All marketing and retail execution are led by shopper insights. Understanding the shopper’s needs and how to meet them is critical in increasing sales and loyalty to store. “Consumer insight is critical is assessing our offer and the impact on consumers. LMG receives regular reads on shopper habits along with insights generated through loyalty data. Focus on shopper has increased significantly over recent years. These insights provide the greatest guidance on shopper habits and opportunities to influence purchasing behaviour through our marketing retail support programs.”

Liquor Legends has found personalised messaging has delivered improved shopper engagement.


Thirsty Camel Digital Billboard.


BANNER GROUPS IBA offers bespoke marketing tools to each banner group.

“AT THE END OF THE DAY, IF YOUR STORE STILL LOOKS THE SAME AS IT DID IN 1985, THEN YOU ARE LOSING,” GIUSEPPE MINISSALE, GM PORTER’S. IN-STORE THEATRE Premiumisation is a trend that everyone in the industry is aware of, but this is about more than just upgrading drinks. Offering a premium retail experience is also crucial now and banner groups are increasingly doing more to bring theatre into their stores and making sure that retailing is about more than just price. At ILR, Leeson says that the group has focused on the local aspect of retailing and engaging with the community. “Our stance for our members has always been that it’s your store and they need to tailor their offering to suit their local demographic. We have created different banners that offer different marketing plans. These different offers are there to suit the different types of independent retailers and ensure we have a marketing plan to suit. “With our Local Liquor brand we very much focus on being ‘the local’ bottle shop and a local in that community. How the local independent retailer contributes to that town much more than just selling alcohol. We also feature local members in our catalogues and highlight what they like about their town or community. “This has been a very successful campaign that will continue to be a focus as we understand how the shopper wants authenticity and trust in brands they choose.” Pritchard agrees that the ‘localisation’ of stores has helped IBA with being able to help its members stand apart. “IBA are committed to supporting our members with a breadth of marketing tools and


retail programs, designed to suit to each banner group. We manage our range and promotional activity to strike a balance between market leading ‘national’ brands, and a strong representation of ‘local favourites’. “This helps IBA members differentiate their offer, and it strengthens the personal connection with their customers.” In the same way that Esposito has said that ILG is understanding more about the convenience pattern of consumers, Lloyd says that aspect of shopper behaviour is something that Thirsty Camel is looking at for its members. “One of the main strategic goals for Thirsty Camel is shoppers choosing our bottle shops for all convenience occasions. This has presented a key opportunity for our retailers to differentiate from their competitors on elements other than price, as we position ourselves as the leading convenience and occasion-based retailer. “To bring this strategy to life, and ensure we deliver on increasing complex shopper expectations we have embarked on a ‘Perfect Store’ project, partnering with key suppliers and retailers, which aims to define and enhance the shopper experience in-store. Key elements of the project include maximising shopper flow, identifying shopping barriers and delivering purchase solutions to drive basket size, spend and frequency and increase customer advocacy. “This project, coupled with our extensive customer segmentation research, ensures we truly understand our target customer, and importantly their shopping wants and needs. In turn we aim to deliver a stronger

connection between the shopper experience and in-store performance, alleviating the price commoditisation of the retail category by forming stronger emotional connections with our customers.” Over at Porter’s, Minissale says that the group is looking at its current offering, its in-store design and what it can do to make stores more engaging and appealing to its customers. He also has an elementary view on in-store theatre. “Your shop in itself is theatre,” he says, adding, “Porter’s is about to employ a company to have a total look at its internal look and feel. We are really trying to create a female-friendly environment for our stores and to get away from the traditional look and feel of normal liquor stores. “Once we’ve been through that and we’ve done that assessment we’ll be in a much better position with our store theatre. But at the end of the day, if your store still looks the same as it did in 1985, then you are losing.” In terms of price competition, Esposito adds that the state of Australia’s retail landscape has forced a change that will be the same for many banner groups. “We need to ensure our stores are convenient in every aspect, from appearance to range to the way we deliver our promotions. Store personality is very important, as this is what entices shoppers in the first instance. “We cannot compete with the scale of the supermarkets when it comes to price, our strategy moving forward is about being different and better.”







For more information contact ANDREW CLEMENT | 0427 846 902 or visit us at

Thirsty Camel identifies key shopper segments over-index in gifting


OCCASION-BASED RETAILING Occasion-based retailing is not a new concept, but it is an increasingly important one, and as such it is one that retailers, and banner groups are starting to think differently about. For O’Brien, this concept is one that helps Liquor Barons show what it can do best to help its members make the most of their own store’s speciality. “Occasion-based retailing is where we really get to show the benefits of a varied ownershipbase. One of the things we feel really strongly about is experiential spaces in-store. We run specialist catalogues and marketing initiatives that play to the strengths of our members such as the seasonal On The Vine premium wine buying guide, a Premium Whiskey annual feature with The West, and we heavily support Ray Jordan’s Top 100 with in-store and online activity. “We don’t force square pegs into round holes – if you have a specialty, we view that as strength and we do what we can to support it.” In terms of looking beyond standard occasions like Christmas, Easter and ‘parental’ days, Minissale said that the team at Porter’s are looking at ways to bring occasion-based retailing into everyday shopping. “We are focusing on category at the moment. We are applying category plays to occasions. We are trying to create a point of difference of value adding against products. “To give you a bit of a weird example, we are looking at the possibility of applying fish sauce to VB stubbies, which will appeal to a certain consumer base. That will be around cooking and around occasion. The number one product used by Vietnamese families is fish sauce, the number one beer they drink is VB, so we are looking at tying free fish sauce with VB. “It doesn’t impact on price, but it does impact on occasions; this is instant, this happens everyday.” At Liquor Legends, Peters says the group is also looking at the influence of category on occasion-based retailing and what they can do to make the most of this trend. “This occasion-based retailing is very topical and we are trialling a couple of concepts at the moment. About 80 outlets have implemented


specific cocktail bays in-store with a selection of popular occasion-based drinks with supporting POS displaying an easy 1-2-3 step message. “Another focus for us is category/segment layout in-store, reconfiguring the traditional planogram to entice greater thought for the shopper, particularly around the beer category.” At ILG, Esposito says the group understands that this is not a new trend, but there are new ways that they can help their members to make the most of the concept. “Occasion based retailing has been in practice for years and we have themed our advertising and point of sale to promote these occasions,” he said. “However, with the help of social media, we can communicate new occasions such as International Beer and Scotch Days, Greek Easter and Chinese New Year. Occasion-based retailing supported with gifting opportunities have been a successful strategy to drive foot traffic and increase basket sales.” And while it is not a new concept, it’s one that is very important to Saunders and LMG, with the CEO saying that the group tailors plans around the principal of occasion-based retailing. “Meeting the shopper mission or occasionbased retailing is a key focus. Shopper insights on the reason for shopping led to the recent adoption of the ‘Start At’ campaign for Bottlemart and Sip’n Save. ‘Start at’ allows our marketing program to be tailored for the specific occasions which are occurring at any given time of the year (e.g. Start your holidays at Bottlemart).” And while there can be a focus on alternative gifting occasions, Lloyd makes the point that there are huge benefits to getting the obvious ones right. “Through our recently undertaken customer segmentation research we identified that our key shopper segments over index in liquor gifting. We have used this insight to ensure our retailers are making the most of every gifting occasion with in-store POS and promotional offers. For example, on Father’s Day, we partnered with a key supplier to offer an incremental grab and go gifting opportunity across the group and sold more than two months’ stock in one weekend.”

LMG tailors plans around occasion-based retailing


Liquor Legends is trialling different occasion-based concepts.


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BILLBOARDS AND ADVERTISING Advertising and marketing are one of the key elements that can bring major advantages to retailers who are part of a banner group. Billboard advertising is something that some groups are using more and more, but as a recent Roy Morgan report revealed catalogues are still the most useful media for consumers when it comes to alcohol purchasing. At Liquor Legends, Peters says that the group recently tried its hand at billboard advertising, and that it will continue looking at new mediums, while making sure not to neglect the key advertising areas. “We in fact tested billboard advertising during the last Christmas trading period in lieu of broad catalogue distribution with mixed results. The content of the advertising worked extremely well in certain locations, particularly where our brand is strong. Areas where the brand is still developing wasn’t as strong and more localised advertising may have delivered better. The ability to try, assess and reset is a key attribute of the group. “Our group members fall across multiple states and regions and the challenge is finding a medium to appeal to all these markets while being manageable and sustainable. We are working on the FY19 plans now and heartland targeting is something that we are actioning with catalogue distribution, based on the objective and timing of the offer, effectively fishing where the fish are. “The Personalised Messaging will continue, the direct contact and engagement with our shoppers, offering something they are genuinely interested in makes it appealing to the recipient and measurable from the business end. But again we’ll continue to explore options in all markets and won’t be afraid of attempting something different.” Esposito says that while ILG is yet to venture


“WE DON’T FORCE SQUARE PEGS INTO ROUND HOLES – IF YOU HAVE A SPECIALTY, WE VIEW THAT AS STRENGTH AND WE DO WHAT WE CAN TO SUPPORT IT,” CHRIS O’BRIEN, GM, LIQUOR BARONS into billboard advertising, the group uses a number of media to support its members. “We have not ventured into Billboard advertising however I find this a very effective medium to drive headline sales and promote occasions,” he says. “We currently use a mix of press advertising, catalogues and social media channels. We can see strong results in press advertising and when distributed in local communities, catalogues are very effective. It is difficult to get accurate measure on social media.” Over the last year Liquor Barons has invested in a number of different advertising methods, which have helped the group put its stamp on liquor retailing in WA, and which O’Brien says have been successful for the group. “The group invested heavily last spring and through Christmas in billboards and bus wraps with our ‘Meet the Barons’ campaign and found it to be very effective in this format,” O’Brien said. “We found that while the billboards and bus wraps were up and running it increased in-store sales throughout the duration of the campaign, and we noticed an uplift in the amount of enquiries from trade. “It was a compelling campaign that really helped us to stand apart from our competitors, and stamp our personality on the Perth liquor scene.”

He added: “We continue with press ads in newspapers but are noticing a decline in their effectiveness, and we also invest in other more traditional media with catalogue letterbox drops and radio advertising. “We’re well known for our clever advertising, and I think we’re ahead of the game in the digital space in that we’ve spent a lot of time and resource gaining an understanding of what works.” Pritchard agrees that it is important to be flexible with advertising. “We take a multichannel approach when it comes to our marketing strategy. As the traditional press audience starts to shift to digital platforms and with the rise of social media, ensuring our brands have a presence across these mediums allows us to extend our reach and inform shoppers of our offer.” Leeson and ILR have also found a strong marketing mix has been key to success. “Our online promotional campaigns through the Google display network are delivering some solid click through rates which are leading to increased sales where we have targeted specific consumers. Catalogue inserts in regional newspapers have worked quite well as the readership of newspapers in regional areas is proportionally higher than metro. But traditional media such as radio and TV have dropped off and are getting quite expensive for the return on investment.”






McWilliam’s Wines Group Vineyards, Hilltops

tanding on Broke Rd in Pokolbin over the Easter weekend, you could be forgiven for thinking the Hunter was the busiest wine region on the planet. Buses, full of eager drinkers, emptied out into overflowing cellar doors. Carloads of wine tragics whizzed past, their boots laden with boxes of favourites from a whole range of different producers. The whole region was buzzing. However, things were not quite as they seem. A quick peek into the cases weighing down that fleet of visiting vehicles revealed that it wasn’t just Hunter Valley wines that drinkers were taking home. Instead, it was an eclectic mix of Sauvignon Blanc from Orange, Chardonnay from Tumbarumba and Sangiovese from Hilltops, mingling in with the traditional local staples of Semillon and Shiraz. In truth, Hunter wineries using grapes from outside the region is not a new thing. Back in the ‘40s Maurice O’Shea was utilising fruit from all over the country in the Mount Pleasant blends, and many wineries have had releases from vineyards in other states for decades, often to provide a different flavour than the usual Hunter style. What’s changed, however, is that while once upon a time that would have meant sourcing from South Australia or Victoria, we’re now seeing more and more grapes coming from within NSW itself. That means Cabernet Sauvignon from the Hilltops, not

Coonawarra. Or Pinot Noir now picked a few hours west in Orange. The Hunter itself is on a roll, so there is no detracting from the region’s popularity. But still, there’s a palpable sense that the NSW wine market has broadened, with a realisation for both winemakers and drinkers that there is a new, cooler side of the state’s wine. For a prime example of how this shift has played out, witness the expanding range of wines from one of NSW’s largest family producers, McWilliam’s. Historically, the McWilliam’s range has been more focused on delivering value-for-money wines than a regional bent. But over the last decade, the whole aim of the business has changed, with a company ethos that now proudly celebrates what the winery calls ‘our backyard’ – regions like Orange, Tumbarumba, Hilltops and Canberra. According to Amy Hayes from McWilliam’s, it’s paying off too. “When (consumers) find the NSW cool climate wines like our McW 480 and 660 Reserve ranges, they are pleasantly surprised,” she said. “These wines show the best of what a cool climate wine has the potential to deliver and right in their very own backyard.” There’s more to the story here though. David Cumming runs Define Wine Marketing & Communications, a wine business that is known for

McWilliam’s Wine Group at Hanwood Estate.


Harvest at McWilliam’s Wines Group Vineyards, Griffith.

McWilliam’s Wines Group Vineyards, Griffith. helping NSW wine producers market and sell their wines. Cumming has very much been ‘at the coal face’ of NSW wine for years, and believes that it’s not just been a shift in consumer taste, but a shift in wine quality. “Ten years ago, you’d have to cherry pick the quality wines from many brands. But now the quality is there,” he said. That change is reflected within the regions too. “Producers are understanding that experience marketing is important to communicate the brand proposition and create brand champions,” he said. “Cellar doors are much improved, (with standouts) such as Lowe Wines, Swinging Bridge, Philip Shaw... The benchmark for these is increasing rapidly.” Indeed the push towards ‘cool’ has even seen other wineries rebrand to embrace a cooler climate identity. Orange’s Cumulus Wines is a perfect example. Back in 2015 a merger between Cumulus and Beelgara saw a change in identity, the entity then known as Wine Insights. But in early April the business went back to being Cumulus again, largely due to a realisation of just how attractive ‘Brand Orange’ has become. Amanda Darnell from Cumulus explains more. “In the last few years we’ve noticed a greater willingness for wine drinkers, especially 25-35 year-olds to explore new regions and styles,” she said. “I think when you couple the wine story with the experience of visiting the region (great landscape and a foodies dream), the result is ambassadors that have something they want to share with friends.”

GENERATION NEXT Speaking of Orange, you only need look towards Tom Ward from Swinging Bridge to see the pointy end of NSW cool climate wine. Here, the future lies in wines that are proudly pushing the boundaries and are, well, cooler than anything NSW has previously produced. Ward famously released one of Orange’s first skin contact white wines in the #003 ‘Amber’ and has two more contemporary wines styles to come – including the ‘#007’ whole bunch Pinot that sat on skins in barrel for months, or the lively #008 Cabernet Franc, that includes 60 per cent whole berries in the ferment. What producers like Ward enjoy, as cool climate NSW wine producers, is a freedom to experiment that isn’t confounded by a need for classic


styles. The lack of a fixed, regional paradigm allows a ‘blank page’ freedom of expression and no shortage of experimentation. For Hamish Young of Canberra-based Mada Wines this license to experiment has meant different, unique wines every year. “Every vintage I have a Sui Generis wine (that is) an exploration of a new site, variety, of wine style. It’s so hard to contain myself and not produce multiple wines in this vein each year as they are always exciting wines to make, with considerable personality,” he said. “In 2016 it was a Riesling Pet Nat from a very high site in Canberra, V17 was a parcel of Sagrantino from the Hilltops which, bound by its tannins, is making for some great autumn drinking, and V18 is a parcel of Grenache from a warmer site in Canberra. “This is the beauty of being a young, new, and evolving brand. I still feel I have the freedom to explore new sites, and tweak my ‘core’ wine styles.” It’s not just alternative varieties and unusual styles that are enjoying this increased attention either. At De Salis in Orange, arguably one of the coldest of the cool climate wineries, it is classic Burgundian varieties that are proving popular, as Charlie Svenson explains. “The post-modern minimalist winemakers are getting their heads around the funky end of Pinot and Chardonnay without going down the trendy hipster natural wines path,” he said. “This seems to be translating to an increase in high end restaurants picking up NSW wines directly from the small producers – we are seeing a lot more sommeliers coming to the region and to De Salis.” Don’t be fooled into thinking De Salis is a conservative producer – Svenson is one of the most restless winemakers you can imagine, with a winery full of blends in all shapes and sizes. After the purchase of the renowned Forest Edge Vineyard (which has long supplied Brokenwood) three years ago, the future for De Salis is anything but typical Orange either. “We are currently preparing to plant Gamay in 2mx1m spacing. Then Grüner Veltliner and possibly some Blaufränkisch…” Speaking of truly cold climate vineyards, another chilly NSW wine region on the up is the Southern Highlands. While it is still a small player in terms of NSW cool climate wine production, there’s a core of producers that are making truly high-class wines too. Centennial Vineyards is one of the front-runners, with their sparklings


Tim White from Thistle Hill and Centennial Vineyards. quickly gaining a reputation as some of the finest in the state. But it is a suite of new wines that are making waves as Melinda Haylock explains. “This year we will have our first Grüner Veltliner and Albariño from the Bowral Vineyards, and our popular Reserve Rosé made from Corvina and Rondinella grown at our vineyard in Orange. We also made our first Mencia this year – in very small quantities.”

NOT COOL, BUT GETTING COOLER While the push towards cooler climates and more delicate wines has helped push the popularity of regions like Orange, Canberra or Tumbarumba, other regions within the state are seeing a pickup in interest too – like Mudgee. Local winemakers will be the first to admit that Mudgee is not cool climate. But the warm growing season has proved amenable to crafting savoury, medium–bodied wines that tap into that same shift towards fresher, lighter styles. As Tim White of Thistle Hill explains, there’s an evolution afoot in Mudgee too, particularly for reds. “There seems to have been a bit of a changing of the guard happening here in Mudgee over the last decade or so,” he said. “Long gone are the days of Mudgee Mud, with so many fresh vibrant styles of red coming from the region, utilising both our traditional varieties (Shiraz and Cabernet) but also a myriad of others, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Barbera, Touriga and so on.” One advantage that Mudgee enjoys is how many producers are now fully embracing organic viticulture and preservative free wines – a trend that helps enhance the region’s vinous appeal. Thistle Hill, in particular, has some serious runs on the board. “We’ve been organic since 1975 and love that the market is demanding more quality organic wine than ever before,” White said. As for preservative free styles, they can’t make enough. “Our preservative free Shiraz (a wonderfully bright and vibrant, easy drinking wine) is doing particularly well year after year, and that allowed us to add another tier to our range last year.” Over at di Lusso Estate, which has particularly made a name with impressive Italian varietals winemaker David Kyngdon has noticed a shift too. “I have worked in the di Lusso cellar door over the past five years, and the attitude towards Mudgee (by mostly Sydney people) has always been the same: ‘We can’t believe we’ve never been here/heard of Mudgee,’” he said. Kyngdon believes that things have changed markedly in Mudgee and has this message for retailers. “I would say that they forget their perceptions from the 90’s etc. Mudgee wine has improved dramatically, and the quality is going up and up each year. So, watch this space.”



McWilliam’s Wines Group Vineyards, Hilltops.

NSW COOL CLIMATE THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM Despite this brimming enthusiasm for ever more interesting NSW wines, there is one serious problem: Selling wines outside the state. As Svenson notes, it’s a challenge. “While we are not trying to market De Salis to the southern states, the word on the street has been ‘Don’t waste your time’, especially in Victoria. The bigger players in Orange all go hunting sales in Queensland,” he said. Cumming agrees: “It’s still an issue. National distributors are reluctant to roll out a NSW brand across all states. State Sales Managers (other than in NSW) have a reluctance to take on NSW brands as the perception is that they won’t sell,” he said. That’s reflected at retail level too, as Nik Man of retailer Winegrowers Direct explains. “It is harder to sell wines from NSW as the majority of the regions (bar the Hunter) are competing with more established regions that have signature varieties/ varietal heroes the market want,” she said. “It doesn’t mean that these regions in NSW produce wine that is any lesser in quality, it just takes a little more to educate our customers before they buy.” Tom Hollings from retailer Different Drop agrees. “Aside from Hunter Valley Semillon and Shiraz NSW wine has struggled for ‘regional hero’ wines, so there is still a lot of work to be done to establish pairings like Orange Sauvignon Blanc, Canberra Shiraz and Tumbarumba Chardonnay,” he said. But could this simply being a barrier of perception? Ward thinks so. “Many people are more interested just in the wine – make good wines that are relevant to your market and you will find that very few doors are closed,” he said. We’ll leave the final words to Darnell, who puts it perfectly: “Encourage your customers to try something new and let the wine do the talking,” she said.

Harvest at McWilliam’s Wines Group Vineyards, Hilltops.


t e G cidered ex



hen compared to the high times of just a few short years ago, one might look at the raw market figures for cider in this country and see a segment in trouble. According to the latest ALSA-IRI State of the Industry Report, after experiencing a slowdown in 2016, the near half-billion retail cider market actually contracted in 2017, undergoing a -0.8 per cent decline (amounting to around $4 million in lost value) and ending a long period of category growth. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Delve a little bit deeper, and you’ll find that domestic, locally produced cider is still going strong – with double-digit growth recorded in both 2016 (+20.5 per cent) and 2017 (+12.3 per cent) – and that consumers are still engaging with brands and products that tell a genuine story of provenance and passion. A recent report from market research group IBISWorld is also cause for optimism for those with skin in the cider game, which found that while consumption of beer, wine, spirits and RTDs has declined in the last five years, cider consumption


has surged – and is in fact being driven by locally produced, premium offerings. “Consumer tastes are projected to continue shifting towards locally produced premium products from craft cider breweries over the next five years, contributing to solid growth in the cider production industry,” IBISWorld industry analyst Bao Vuong explains in the report. Sam Reid, President of Cider Australia and CoFounder/Managing Director of Willie Smith’s, told National Liquor News that he “can’t argue” with the findings. “Cider sales have surged over the past five to 10 years. The category growth is well and truly slowing now, however as IBISWorld are pointing out we expect to see the demand for locally grown and made cider that suits a more mature discerning palate to continue to show strong growth over the next five years.” Another good sign for the cider scene in Australia was the recent announcement of an upcoming $500,000 government investment in the craft cider


RETAILER INSIGHTS Dan Mackie, owner of the Bottle-O Hazelbrook and Cellarbrations at Lawson (as well as the LSA NSW 2017 Liquor Store Owner of the Year) has a few tips for retailers when it comes to ranging cider in-store. “Cider’s a funny thing – it’s obviously a very seasonal drink,” Mackie told National Liquor News. “We tend to move our ranges around depending on the season – summer or winter – and we transition them through autumn and spring. It slows down a bit in winter and because of that we might start to range ginger beers a bit more and things that still tick along and influence that sort of customer.” After recently undergoing renovations at his Lawson store, Mackie now has a full door of fridge space dedicated to cider. “You need to give it space, you need to give it voice in your store to make sure it sells, and you need to try the ciders to learn a bit about them – there’s a lot of ciders out there that are really different, ranging from really dry to really sweet, and that’s just talking about apple [cider],” he said. Mackie is also firm in stating that cider “100 per cent needs to be chilled”. “We don’t actually find that we sell any warm cases of cider, everyone wants either chilled cases, chilled six-packs or 10-packs, singles – having opportunities across all of those sizes is important, and having a good range is important as well. “I think the cider boom has kind of tailored off now, and it’s maybe not as much as it was two years ago, but there’s definitely an opportunity for new growth. A lot of the boutique breweries are starting to do a cider, and local cider is big for us – Hillbilly have always been big supporters. With Hillbilly being local, a lot of our customers like to shop local and they know that they can’t get smaller brands in the big chains.”



CIDER industry. The investment will be made over years and aims to build brand proposition and marketing strategy in order to boost exports as part of the government’s $50m Export and Regional Wine Support Package; the country’s craft cider producers are also being invited to contribute to the plan. Reid describes it as a “really exciting initiative” and a “massive vote of confidence in the Australian cider industry, which has a lot of parallels to the wine industry 50 years ago when it was in its infancy.” So don’t rule out cider just yet.

ACCOUNTING FOR THE DECLINE Sam Martin, Business Manager at Granite Belt Cider Co, isn’t surprised that many of the largest, mainstream cider brands have experienced a decline in the last two years – with only two of the top 10 sellers growing in both 2016 and 2017. “Australian punters have become accustomed to manipulative campaigns and cheap, imported concentrate ‘cider’ from many of the big brands up until now,” he said. “Just like the produce, dining and fashion segments, punters want to be surprised and delighted by brands who care about the provenance of the materials/produce they source, production methods and the passion of the makers.” Reid from Cider Australia and Willie Smith’s agrees, commenting that the decline of mainstream ciders and the rise of premium, local ciders indicates a consumer “flight to reality”. “People have become more and more distrustful of being marketed to and told half-truths and are chasing real products that they can believe in,” Reid said. “Coupled with the overarching trend towards drinking less but better, where it just makes sense to drink a better-quality product if you are going to drink less – I don’t foresee this trend abating.” But according to Reid, there’s still a lot of ground to cover: “Unfortunately, at this stage the mass/mainstream brands account for 80 per cent of the market and Australian craft cider makes up only 10 per cent, so as producers we have a massive job to do to educate people on alternatives in the cider category and ensure the category remains buoyant.”

CIDER TRENDS IN 2018 So what’s making waves in the cider world in 2018? Martin predicts the ongoing “mashing” of liquor segments, with cider producers continuing to experiment with brewer’s yeast, barrels and other fruit. Along with this, provenance continues to be a real consideration for cider consumers. “A growing number of Australians are focused on and excited about where their next meal is sourced from and this has transcended to the cider space,” said Martin. “Punters want to know what growing region we source our produce from, apple varieties, techniques and batch freshness. There has never been a better time for Australian real cider.” According to Reid, the big global trend in cider is fresh juice cider, which aligns well with Cider Australia’s future direction. “We’ve defined Australian Craft Cider as those made from 100 per cent Australian apples and we are working with Horticulture Innovation Australia (HIA) this year to develop a certification process for our members and a mark on pack. “I’m also expecting to see more ciders than ever before made from purpose grown cider apples, as the industry’s journey on this began three or four years ago,” he adds. “So, many of those trees that that our members have put in the ground will be starting to bear fruit – no pun intended.” In terms of new products, Granite Belt recently launched its Twisted Branch range, a dry, unfiltered and rich orange-in-colour cider that reflects this move away from sweet imported ciders to something more mature. “Twisted Branch has been an exciting project to work on and has been an underground success for us,” Martin said. “We just wanted to create a dry, unfiltered and delicious cider that could also play in the beer and wine space.” He also hints at some upcoming NPD, commenting: “We are working on two new brews at the moment, each will take



Andrew Smith and Ian Smith from Willie Smith’s.

inspiration from the beer and wine space – so watch this space.” Over at Willie Smith’s, Reid says that they’re looking at putting the popular Willie Smith’s Traditional in a small format this year, and are also looking at cans as packaging for the first time – perhaps reflecting a similar shift towards cans in the craft beer space. Indeed, according to ALSA-IRI, while bottled ciders still hold the lion’s share of the market at 68 per cent, the 30 per cent of ciders in cans currently hold the growth momentum in the cider category – recording 17.7 per cent growth in 2016 and 6.8 per cent in 2017. Whether it’s craft beer or cider, it certainly seems like cans are here to stay.

THE WINNING TOUCH The 2017 Australian Cider Awards saw the highest-ever number of entries in the event’s seven-year history, with 250 local and international ciders taking part. Interestingly, and despite the growth of Australian cider, the big winner at the Awards was Irish cider Magners Original Apple, which was named Best in Show (as well as Best New World Cider and Best International Cider or Perry) thanks to its “perfect balance of sugar, tannin and overall complexity combined with toasty, savoury, creamy notes”. Other trophy winners, Best in Class awards and medallists can be found on the Cider Australia website (

The new Twisted Branch cider from Granite Belt.

CAPITALISING ON CIDER IN-STORE In terms of ranging cider in your store, Martin has a few creative ideas: designating Australian or even regional specific cider sections in the fridge or on the floor; creating and placing informative provenance or brewing method information cards near products to educate punters; and even the ranging of sophisticated or small batch ciders in the fridge with sparkling wine, or highlighted next to small batch or limited run craft beer releases. Reid agrees, saying: “In terms of ranging cider, the most obvious and easy thing to do is to create an ‘Australian Craft Cider’ section in-store. This can clearly segment and spell out to shoppers which ciders are made using 100 per cent Australian apples, and it’s Cider Australia’s belief that this is the easiest way to upsell drinks. Once you have done that then it becomes easier to create a hierarchy within the segment and continue to trade people up. “Cider as a category is generally associated with drink it now/ something for tonight occasions and so keeping them cold is also a pretty good start,” he adds. “Finally, a bit of education never goes astray – ask your cider rep about where the apples in the cider come from, what type they are using and what style of cider they are making – it will all help you have a better conversation with customers.”




A bright and vibrant medium-bodied wine with attractive red and black cherry, spice and earthen flavours. Light tannins and subtle oak combine beautifully creating a complex wine.



A spicy, medium-bodied wine that delivers a lovely balance of vibrant cherry and raspberry fruit with fine varietal savouriness. It shows complexity with softness which will be enhanced with age.


RRP: $39



The mouthfeel is full and rich with more than enough fleshy fruit to balance the firm tannins and finishes with pin point acidity. This wine is an old soul in a young body. Patience will be rewarded.


VIN: 2011


RRP: $65


RRP: $42.99

Rich, bold and vibrant with a persistent finish, this Shiraz will improve and develop with cellaring for up to 20 years.


RRP: $30

This inaugural Shiraz nouveau is a lighter, juicy style, with sweet fruit intensity and soft tannins. Can also be enjoyed slightly chilled.

Fine tannin, a warm rounded mouthfeel and plenty of flavour complete this delicious elegant wine from a very misunderstood vintage.

VIN: 2016

RRP: $18

Fruit driven and textured with lemon curd, pome fruits and green apple characters. With a lively spritz and a hit of sweetness to finish.

VIN: 2017


RRP: $28.99

This Shiraz displays upfront blueberries and dark forest fruits combined with subtle spice and pepper characteristics giving way to a smooth and complex oak finish.

VIN: 2017 RRP: $28

RRP: $40

This Shiraz has a richly layered palate of ripe raspberry, hints of liquorice, pepper and spice laced by subtle oak characters and fine, lingering tannins.

VIN: 2015

On the palate, citrus and melon fruit come forward, over a creamy, yet well-structured oak tannin base, finishing with lime zest acidity.

RRP: $30

Shorter skin contact through ferment keeps it light and fresh and the tannins low. It is a delicate, aromatic lighter style of Primitivo which also has a plush finish and silky tannins.


RRP: $32

This wine offers traditional spicy, peppery and blackcurrant flavours that have been enhanced by ageing in oak barrels to create a harmonious wine of great volume and depth.


THE CABERNET SAUVIGNON TASTING THE CABERNET SAUVIGNON TASTING REVEALED SOME EXCELLENT WINES ACROSS ALL PRICE POINTS, WITH SOME POSITIVE IMPROVEMENT IN THE LOW TO MID-PRICE BRACKETS. HERE IS WHAT THE TASTING PANEL HAD TO SAY. “The bracket I tasted was really quite surprising. I thought that straight Cabernet would be an underwhelming bracket but the richness and tannic depth of these wines really satisfied – flavour a go-go. The 2014 Yalumba The Cigar Cabernet Sauvignon was the perfect balance between flavour and tannins, and the 2015 Hardys HRB Cabernet Sauvignon was a rich red with quite some flavour.” – Andrew Graham, Cracka Wines “It was great to see the variety of styles of Cabernet. I was happy that there were not many green, under ripe styles. My standouts were the 2016 Leconfield Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013 Red Deer Station Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2015 Windowrie Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.” – Tom Lynar, Handpicked Wines “The top end Cabernets are showing some real power and complexity, some absolute gems in there. The consistency this year was the best I have seen, there were very few unbalanced wines. For value for money the Beresford Classic Cabernet Sauvignon was an amazing drink.” – Daryl Fisher, Fisher Fine Wines “All wines tasted were ripe in fruit without many green or under ripe characters present. A mixed bag, with all price points having some good wines, although a few in the mid-price point under delivered with complexity and were jammy and overly fruit driven.” – Andrew Stubbs, Vine – Providore of Fine Wine “I found the lower priced wines to be excellent value for money, they were simple, easy to drink and very approachable. The standout

wines were from the Clare Valley, as well as the Geoff Merrill and Leconfield wines.” – Christine Ricketts, The Wine Quarter “My bracket was surprisingly consistent with good oak and very few green unripe characters and not too much added sugar to the less expensive wines.” – Stephen Knight, Red Bottle Group “The bracket I tasted was interesting with great variety from the same grape. All different styles showcasing different regions. Wines at cheaper end were harder work but mid to late were good wines. The wines at the cheaper end didn’t show varietal definition, they were more dry red than Cabernet.” – Damien Smith, Red+White “The overall impression of the bracket is positive, some really interesting variation, from austere classic cabs with massive ageing potential to really jammy ones with commercial appeal. Some impressive quality stand outs at all price points. Overall the quality and commercial appeal of entry / medium level segment is improving. Really interesting to see some improvement as well in the oak treatment for the medium part of the segment.” – Antoine Huray, Online Liquor Group “I enjoyed the cooler climate Cabernets but found many of the wines to be quite similar in style. The more affordable wines were quite good comparatively and good value for money. The standouts for me were the 2015 Windowrie Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2011 Geoff Merrill G&W Cabernet Sauvignon.” – Susan Stanton, Smith & Stanton Wines







1. Andrew Graham, Online Communications Manager, Cracka Wines 2. Tom Lynar, National Sales Manager, Handpicked Wines




4. Andrew Stubbs, Vine – Providore of Fine Wine 5. Christine Ricketts, Wine Education Manager, The Wine Quarter 6. Damien Smith, Key Accounts Manager, Red+White




7. Antoine Huray, Senior Wine Buyer, Online Liquor Group 8. Stephen Knight, Corporate Sales Manager, Red Bottle Group 9. Susan Stanton, Director, Smith & Stanton Wines

3. Daryl Fisher, General Manager, Fisher Fine Wines

The System: The wines are blind-tasted and scored on appearance, nose and palate against a 100 point system, before being averaged to find the top rating wines from each LUC price bracket. Top-rating wines over $20 LUC



Red Deer Station Geoff Merrill 100 Royal Reserve Parham Cabernet Cabernet Sauvignon Sauvignon 2015 McLaren 2015 Eden Valley/ Vale/Coonawarra Barossa Valley Very obvious oak but it is Rich dark fruits, chocolate, quality oak DS liquorice, so much power Minty, rich oak, & intensity, jammy DF concentrated fruits DF Rich, creamy oak, palate Distributed by Young holds the alcohol & a & Rashleigh, The Wine great tannin structure DS Company, Options Wines, Distributed by Prime Wines, Domaine Swan Wine Group Wine Shippers LUC $45 LUC $58.05 46 | MAY 2018 NATIONAL LIQUOR NEWS


Taylors St Brand’s Laira Andrews Cabernet Blockers 171 Sauvignon 2015 Clare Cabernet Sauvignon Valley 2014 Coonawarra




Dried fruits, mocha, dark fruits. A magical wine with great balance DF

Elegant, complex, big, juicy, savoury, really nice AH

Leafy aromas, cassis, pencil box, good structure, medium weight, a good wine DS

Rich, tight, youthful with solid fruit – long & complete – unctuous wine SK

presence. Raw acid & tannins but the extra bottle age has softened the edges AG

This wine has a great mix of fruit & spice, the palate is generous & supported well by oak TL

Upfront mint & earthy dark chocolate, solid, young, still tight SK

Mint, coffee, spicy oak, liquorice bullets, blackcurrants. CR

Distributed by Taylors Wines LUC $41.93

Distributed by Casella Family Brands LUC $51.60

Distributed by Taylors Wines LUC $107.50

Distributed by Leconfield Wines LUC $23.44

Taylors The Leconfield Visionary Cabernet Cabernet 2012 Clare Valley Sauvignon 2016 Coonawarra Spearmint but with a


Top-rating wines $13 to $20 LUC


Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 Coonawarra


Windowrie Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 Cowra


Deep, dark & brooding Young, tight, good French wine with rich fruit, a Milk chocolate, then oak – needs time SK thick coating mouthfeel & ripe fruit & oak. Lots of long finish TL tannins, very serious if a A fruit bomb. Luscious fraction overweight AG Pleasant wine with fruit, big tannins, lots of oak, lots of presence AG Distributed by Pernod Ricard Australia LUC $17.73

menthol, fruit & oak, nice length CR Distributed by Veraison Wines LUC $16.18



Gapsted Ballerina Canopy Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 King Valley


A really good Cabernet with vibrant cassis, plum, earth notes & some acid notes – yum AS

Fleshy style, good length & balance of fruit & oak. Touch of dark chocolate on finish SK

A well balanced style with good red currant fruits, grippy tannins, good length & depth of flavours AS

Brand’s Laira Peter Lehmann Blockers Cabernet H&V Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 Sauvignon 2015 Coonawarra Barossa Valley

Lovely oak, tight, young, balanced by plum, cherry fruits, needs time SK Distributed by Casella Family Brands LUC $15.26

Beresford Classic Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 McLaren Vale

Deep red, red fruits, good Oak lashed, caramel oak Dried tobacco, red fruits, tannin structure, falls a bit at all corners, the fruit just earthy, dark chocolate, short on the palate DS peeking from under it AG Christmas cake, great finish DF Distributed by Distributed by Casella Family Brands LUC $15.59

Gapsted Wines LUC $19.40

Distributed by Vok Beverages LUC $14




More depth is welcome here. A flash of tannic grip & the oak plays a surprising role AG

Eucalypt on front palate, slightly green finish with tannins. Could use 3-5 years SK

Elegant, ageing potential, lively, vibrant fruit AH

Eucalyptus, medium acidity & a silky texture AH

Distributed by Vintage House Wine & Spirits LUC $12.36

Distributed by Free Run Distributors, Kollaras & Co LUC $12.70

Top-rating wines under $13 LUC


Jacob’s Creek Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 Limestone Coast


19 Crimes Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 South Eastern Australia


Briar Ridge Winemaker’s Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 Orange

Red Knot Cabernet Ferngrove Black Sauvignon 2016 Label Cabernet McLaren Vale Sauvignon 2016 Frankland River A really well-made wine

Soft purple fruit on nose, Vanilla on front palate & Bit funky, old wood, displaying blackcurrant, slight liquorice tinge on mixed berry fruit, touch of raspberry, juniper berries, chocolate & earthiness palate. Opens with air DS spice, has some length SK earthy, juicy DF with grippy tannins AS Violets, floral, blackberries, Love the plump & ripe fruit firm acids but a little but it is very fruit dominant unbalanced now DF lifted only by oak, needs more depth AG Distributed by

Great varietal definition, good structure, cassis, cedar, medium weight, a well-made Cabernet DS

Dark fruits, black pepper, blackcurrants, minty, firm tannins, structured, good balance DF

Pernod Ricard Australia LUC $12.56

Distributed by Kollaras & Co LUC $12.25

Distributed by Shingleback LUC $10.21

Distributed by Treasury Wine Estates LUC $11.40

Briar Ridge ‘Cold Soaked’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 Hunter Valley



1. CAPI LAUNCHES NATIVE TONIC CAPI added a new ‘Native Tonic’ to its product line-up last month, which is infused with a blend of lemon aspen from tropical Northern Queensland, Tasmanian mountain pepper and Mount Zero salt, and is designed to effectively ‘season’ a G&T with its salt and pepper elements. To officially launch Native Tonic, CAPI held a special lunch on the Pink Lake in Dimboola, north of the Grampians in Victoria, where Mount Zero harvests its salt – a key botanical ingredient of the new tonic. Attendees were treated to an exclusive helicopter round-trip from Melbourne’s CBD to the Pink Lake, also stopping off at the Mount Zero property on the northern edge of the range to sample the new Native Tonic mixed in a Four Pillars or Melbourne Gin Company G&T. A lower sugar profile creates a dry finish, allowing the gin to take centre-stage, and just like CAPI’s other tonics, all natural ingredients are used to produce it – including real quinine made from Cinchona bark harvested in the Democratic Republic of Congo. “It offers a uniquely Australian taste and is best paired with a craft Australian gin and garnished with native golden wattle or finger lime, perfect to drink any time of the year,” says CAPI founder Pitzy Folk.

CAPI held a lunch on the Pink Lake in Dimboola, Victoria.


Guests were flown to lunch at the Pink Lake by helicopter.

2. PRINCE CHARLES IS CHARMED BY BUNDABERG RUM DISTILLERY Friday 6 April 2018 will be a day for the history books for Diageo Australia and Bundaberg Rum as His Royal Highness Prince Charles returned to the distillery after his first visit 24 years ago in 1994. Prince Charles and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk were hosted by Bundaberg Distilling Co. Chair Kylie McPherson and the Distillery’s Visitor Experience Operations Manager Duncan Littler for a special private tour and Blend Your Own Rum experience. In Prince Charles’ own words in a speech given to the adoring crowd on the grounds of the Distillery: “I’m thrilled that this Distillery’s proving to be the one that produces some of the most famous and special of all rums around the world.” McPherson and Littler guided Prince Charles through a tasting in the Bundaberg Rum Barrel House after which he declared that he could detect ‘fruit cake’ overtones. Prince Charles then took up the offer to blend his very own Bundaberg Rum which he said reminded him of ‘chemistry class’. Prince Charles returned home to England with two bottles of the HRH special Bundaberg Rum blend as well as some molasses from the distillery that is apparently headed for the Royal larder. The bar features re-purposed timber and has been designed to mirror the brewery’s other Sydney venues.


Prince Charles blends his own rum.

2 3

3. 4 PINES BAR OPENS AT SCG A new beer bar from 4 Pines Brewing Company launched at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) for the Sydney Swans v Adelaide Crows game last month. Located in the MA Noble, Don Bradman and Dally Messenger Stand, the 4 Pines Bar will offer Kolsch, Pale Ale and Summer Ale from the brewery, as well as Brookvale Union Ginger Beer and other styles from the range. 4 Pines beers will also be available from selected public bars around the SCG. “It’s a great partnership for 4 Pines and we look forward to being part of some of the city’s most memorable sporting moments at the SCG,” comments Jaron Mitchell, 4 Pines Brewing Company co-founder. The bar features re-purposed timber and has been designed to mirror the brewery’s other Sydney venues – 4 Pines Manly, 4 Pines Newport and Brookvale’s Truck Bar. The venue is decorated with images from the Northern Beaches, where 4 Pines was founded.



4. THE BELVEDERE SINGLE ESTATE RYE SERIES LAUNCH Polish vodka brand, Belvedere, headed to the Sydney suburb of Chippendale to open The Single Estate Rooms – a supper club and bar for the launch of the Belvedere Single Estate Rye Series. Looking to explore the impact of terroir on vodka, The Single Estate Rooms highlighted the different regions which are behind the two new vodkas. Smogóry Forest comes from a lush forested area, while the Lake Bartężek vodka comes from a glacial region of long, snowy winters. At the launch, Belvedere offered a range of cocktails to highlight the flavour profiles of each vodka and served a two course supper, designed to help guests understand better how these new vodkas can actually work in a food pairing way. “Our new single estate vodkas represent a very special innovation for Belvedere,” said Rodney Williams, President of Belvedere Vodka. “It is the next phase of our quest to show that there is refinement, discernment and extraordinary quality in vodka. It also reflects our commitment to exceed expectations, both in the use of bakers’ grade Dankowskie Diamond Rye and our ability to draw out nuanced flavours.”


The Belvedere Single Estate Room Supper Club.


Diageo’s Simon McGoram talks about the 2017 Special Releases.

Supper club guests learned how terroir impacted vodka. The full range of the 2017 Diageo Special Releases Collection.


5. THE 2017 DIAGEO SPECIAL RELEASE AUSTRALIAN LAUNCH Diageo launched its 2017 Special Releases Collection at J&M in Sydney, which saw 10 limited-edition Scotch whiskies which have now been released in Australia in strictly limited quantities. The event saw Diageo’s National Whisky Ambassador, Simon McGoram, as well as other Diageo Brand Ambassadors take guests through the 10 drams, which this year include a 37-year-old Port Ellen, plus other cask strength expressions from Lagavulin, Teaninich, Convalmore, Glen Elgin, Brora, Blair Athol and Caol Ila. This collection also features the oldest whisky ever released in the Special Releases collection, a 52-year-old Port Dundas, with only 752 bottles available globally. The 2017 collection also features a cask strength blended malt Scotch whisky, called Collectivum XXVII, which contains whiskies from all 28 active Diageo distilleries. McGoram said: “This is the first blended malt Scotch whisky that we have ever released in this series and I think they have done a very fine job with this whisky. The 2017 Special Releases reflect the extraordinary range of stocks our blenders and distillery managers have available to them. Always eagerly awaited, we see a continuing demand for unusual, distinctive, unrepeatable natural cask strength bottlings the world over.”




Meet... CHRISTOPHER ADAM GOODWIN Owner/Operator, L Maestro, The Liquor Master, East Killara, Sydney

DARYL FISHER General Manager, Fisher Fine Wines

Q ABOUT US: CHRIS: I started as a sommelier in restaurants, held numerous positions as manager, buyer, area manager and now I’m owner of L Maestro, The Liquor Master. I have been in the liquor industry for more than 20 years. I’ve known and worked with Daryl for as long as I can remember. DARYL: For longer than I care to remember Chris and I have worked together at various stores in which he has managed and owned. Q HOW ARE YOU FINDING THE CURRENT MARKET? CHRIS: The current market is flooded and overpopulated by commercialised products because the government has sold the industry out and allowed a duopoly to be created, with huge market share being owned by two big box retailers and online retailers. Our challenge as a small business is creating a niche within the market by finding the best products and re-educating the customers about the industry by showing them quality for money, expertise, knowledge and fantastic service. Going the extra mile! DARYL: The current market is challenging but thinking back it has never been easy, and everyone is chasing the next big market trend. I am all for developing new varieties and brands in the market-place to give yourself a point of difference. Although sometimes the simple things work best, like talking to a retailer and finding out what price point, margin and flavour profile they want on something boring like Chardonnay and delivering it to them. This makes everyone happy and gets sales for you and the retailer. Q WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU ARE FACING? CHRIS: To develop market share within the industry as a small business owner and re-educating customers about quality products for the money rather than selling branded less quality products. Introducing and explaining varietals from Australia and all over the world and giving our customers a unique and different experience. DARYL: The changes in the WET tax for small wineries is really going to impact on small wineries to play in the under $10 LUC price point, which will leave this category to big companies because of the economies of scale they have, I am concerned the diversity in that category will reduce. Also many wineries are walking away from buyers own brands made for retailers, which has been a critical part of margin for retailers in the past. There has also been talk of a wine shortage hitting the market due to China’s ever growing need for wine and a few vintages being down in 50 | MAY 2018 NATIONAL LIQUOR NEWS

volumes from a few regions, which could lead to few price rises, which slow sales in the trade.

Q WHAT DEALS ARE WORKING FOR YOU AT THE MOMENT? CHRIS: Consistently doing in-store tastings, putting on special our left field products with small producers, which introduces people to new styles of wines, beers and spirits. Also, replacing big branded commercialised products with smaller and better value, quality producers. DARYL: This sounds boring but the ‘two for offers’ (eg buy two for $30) seem to working the best in most cases. Shelf talkers with third party endorsements prepared by the supplier are also very effective. Q WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT THE JOB? CHRIS: I am able to share my passion, knowledge and background of all products which gives our customers an experience of enjoying liquor and not just drinking it. Finding the very best products with so many suppliers in the market and passing on my expertise to both customers and suppliers. Establishing long term friendships with suppliers like Daryl and customers. DARYL: There are two things that I enjoy, firstly the relationships and friendships you make with customers, this industry is very incestuous and close, and people you form friendships with end up moving from store to store. Secondly I have a passion for wine, I love drinking it (sometimes too much), I love talking about it, I love the stories behind the wine, the vineyard it came from and people who made it. Q WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT WORKING WITH EACH OTHER? CHRIS: The fact that we share a lot of knowledge within the industry and sourcing the best products within Daryl’s portfolio. Always having a lot of stories to share with one another but keeping our professionalism intact. Also, we are both small business owners who do all the fundamentals within an industry to provide a better level of expertise and service to the community. DARYL: Chris has a passion for wine like me and I enjoy working with people like that because you share that in common. Sometimes you get lost in talking about a wine that has nothing to do with the wine I am trying to sell him. Chris will also call it how it is, if the wine is crap he won’t buy it just because the deal is great, he stands behind every wine in his shop and customers are learning that and keep coming back to him for advice. The number

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National Liquor News May 2018  

NATIONAL LIQUOR NEWS prides itself on delivering Australia’s liquor industry the most relevant and accurate news across the trade. It includ...

National Liquor News May 2018  

NATIONAL LIQUOR NEWS prides itself on delivering Australia’s liquor industry the most relevant and accurate news across the trade. It includ...