National Liquor News November 2019

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vol. 38 no. 10 - NOVEMBER 2019

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Editor’s Note


hat an incredible month October has been. We had the Australian Liquor Industry Awards (ALIA), the Drinks Innovation Summit which incorporated the Liquor Retail Summit, plus there was the Independent Liquor Group AGM, conference and trade day as well as the Liquor Stores Association WA Awards. There is no doubt this is a busy time of year and with so much happening across the trade it is no surprise that this is another bumper issue of National Liquor News. ALIA this year saw The Oak Barrel named as the Liquor Store of the Year for the third time. It is an incredible achievement for an independent retailer and shows what great outcomes can come from excellent retailing. We spoke to Oak Barrel owner Paul Downie, who was at ALIA to collect the award this year, about what sets The Oak Barrel apart and why the store is so well respected across the industry. The humble Downie puts it down to the passion of his staff, and if you head to page 23 you can see everything that he has to say about the hat-trick of wins. Speaking of hat-tricks, I should also take this opportunity to congratulate Asahi Premium Beverages for once again being named as the OffPremise Supplier of the Year. It’s the third year in a row that Asahi has collected that award, so congratulations to Scott Hadley and the whole team. Back to this issue and Brian Chase Olson takes a look at the Goliath that is the Scotch whisky category. After a reported softening for Scotch blends last year dollar growth has increased, are

blends back? Head to page 50 to find out. We also have the usual contributions from across the industry and this month Andrew Wilsmore, the CEO of Alcohol Beverages Australia (ABA), discusses the cost that will likely be incurred if mandatory pregnancy labelling goes ahead on page 32. In addition, on page 34, Peter Bailey, Manager Market Insights Wine Australia, looks at the growth of wine imports to Australia, while on page 30 Norrelle Goldring explores the prominence and distribution of serve-yourself draught system venues in the USA and questions why they’re yet to take off in Australia. This month the wine tasting panel got ready for summer, making their way through a wide range of Rieslings, and you can head to page 60 to see which wines came out on top. Also, to reflect the busy time of year and the impending craziness that is December and Christmas, we look at some possible Christmas items on page 44. You can keep your feedback coming through, I am always keen to hear from you and make sure that we make this mag work for you. And good luck with your November retailing, it looks like this month will be just as hectic as the last one. Cheers, Deb Deborah Jackson, Editor 02 8586 6206 |

top reads 38

Cheers to 200 years of New Zealand wine


Gage Roads celebrates 15 years of brewing


A big win for the independents

National Liquor News is the official trade publication of Retail Drinks Australia.



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Contents November Wine 28 Wine News: All the latest releases and wine news 34 Wine Australia: Peter Bailey talks about the growth of wine imports to Australia 38 New Zealand Wine: Celebrating the 200th anniversary of the first vines in NZ 60 Wine Tasting Review: All the results from our Riesling tasting

Brews 24 Gage Roads Brewing: Celebrating 15 years since their very first brew 26 Brewing: What’s new in the world of beer 30 Insights: Norrelle Goldring explores the prominence of tap rooms in the US 35 Independent Brewers Association: Jamie Cook takes a look at Indie Beer Day and beyond 54 Summer Beers: Brydie Allen explores how to best retail brews over the warmer months

58 Beer Tasting: We taste a selection of new release beers

Spirits 14 Cover Story: Canadian Club prepares for its biggest summer ever 20 IRI Insights: Daniel Bone explores the booming gin category 27 Spirits: The latest releases, news and promotions from the spirits category 50 Scotch Whisky: Brian Chase Olson investigates the glass goliath that is Scotch

Retail Focus 12 Retail Drinks Australia: All the winners from the Retail Drinks Industry Awards 16 Independent Liquor Group: ILG hosts its annual family reunion and AGM 18 LSA WA Awards: Independent retailers of Western Australia gather for the 25th annual awards night 22 Retailer Profile: Brydie Allen chats with Terry Thomas from SUPA IGA Liquor in Terang


23 In The Spotlight: We catch up with the 2019 ALIA Liquor Store of the Year, The Oak Barrel 32 Alcohol Beverages Australia: Andrew Wilsmore talks about the real cost of mandatory pregnancy labelling 33 Retail Drinks Australia: Addressing workplace bullying 36 Leasing: Marianna Idas of eLease Lawyers explains document leases 37 Merchandising: Stephen Wilson from Strikeforce talks about store clustering 44 Christmas Retailing: Preparing for the busiest trading period of the year 66 Shop Talk: We talk shop with Yealands Wine Group and Fleet Street Mona Vale

Regulars 10 News: The latest liquor industry news for retailers around the country 64 Events: An exclusive peek at last month’s launches and parties

MALBEC GREAT SOUTHERN, W.A. Most often, we talk about wines to pair with food, however at Ferngrove we talk about pairing a glass of Malbec with good friends. Our Black Label Malbec is a versatile companion for dining outdoors and relaxing with friends. So good is the pairing, we think it’s worth a selfie moment. “Ferngrove Great Southern Malbec exhibits the true character of its grape variety – velvety-textured, richly coloured and truly delicious to drink. Our recent accolades of two Trophies and six Gold Medals celebrates this outstanding wine. ”


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Coles Liquor revenue up 3.5 per cent The Coles Group has reported its first quarter results with total group sales revenue up by 1.8 per cent to $8.7bn, and the Liquor business showing comparable sales growth of 0.7 per cent, with strong performance in First Choice. Overall Coles’ liquor sales revenue for the first quarter was $726m, up 3.5 per cent on the prior corresponding period, with the group saying that comparable sales growth was impacted by the timing of public holidays in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and ACT. Speaking about the Liquor result, Coles said: “Sales performance was driven by a strong performance in First Choice, supported by the roll-out of the First Choice Liquor Market renewal program, and contributions from Exclusive Liquor Brands, offset by softer trading conditions in Liquorland. “Growth in Vintage Cellars in the first quarter was largely a result of improvements across the categories of wine and spirits. The first Vintage Cellars trial concept store is on-track to be delivered in the first half of FY20. “Exclusive Liquor Brands continued to contribute to sales with penetration at 19.1 per cent, an increase of 1.1 percentage points compared to the fourth quarter of last financial year, and improvements across all categories of wine, beer and spirits. A total of 26 Exclusive Liquor Brand lines were launched during the quarter with 136 medals and awards received.” Coles said it is continuing to enjoy growth in its online liquor business and that planned website upgrades are expected to continue through the remainder of this financial year. Investment in the Liquor store network continued in the quarter with seven new stores opened and three closed, resulting in a total of 914 retail liquor sites at the end of the period.


L-R: Geoff Huens and Richard Kelsey

Beer Cartel celebrates 10 years Sydney based Beer Cartel last month celebrated 10 years by revamping its beer subscription and releasing a limited-edition anniversary beer. Founded in October 2009 by Geoff Huens and Richard Kelsey, Beer Cartel started as an online craft beer store and was an early pioneer in the online liquor retail space, starting before currently popular platforms Dan Murphy’s and Vinomofo. Throughout the past 10 years, one of the core products has remained the monthly beer subscription, the oldest of its kind in the Australian market. A big part of celebrating the anniversary was a relaunch of the subscription. Richard Kelsey, who is now Director of Beer Cartel, said the original subscription model was great, but the anniversary was a great opportunity to revamp it to reflect recent evolution of the market. “Not only have we seen that craft beer drinkers love trying a variety of beer through products like our Beer Advent Calendar, but we surveyed members who clearly told us that limited releases and variety were at the top of their wish list, so we’ve revamped our offer accordingly,” he said. “We’ve kept it as a monthly subscription, but the pack formats have changed, including a shift to all cans. We have three tiers to the beer subscription with these varying by pack size and the mix of new and limited release beers.” The new subscription model offers more variety in each pack than ever before, featuring more limited-edition releases and only single cans of each type. Alongside the subscription revamp, Beer Cartel have also released a special anniversary beer in collaboration with Ekim Brewery, who are also celebrating their 10th anniversary. The red IPA was also included in October’s subscription pack. Kelsey said: “We have a bit of a soft spot for Red IPAs and considering that Ekim is an IPA centric brewer, who just happened to also be celebrating its tenth birthday, a collaboration beer between us was an absolute no brainer.” Over the past couple of months, Beer Cartel have soft launched the new subscription offering to gauge feedback and said it has been overwhelmingly positive.

ABAC calls for more care on packaging The Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC) has called for more care with alcohol packaging practises after the number of complaints about packaging increased “noticeably” over the last quarter. Laying out ABAC’s quarterly report, Chair Harry Jenkins AO reminded producers that packaging that has strong or evident appeal to minors is prohibited under the Code. “The desire of some manufacturers to be creative is understandable, but they must have regard to wrongfully appealing to minors. Yet again, this underscores the necessity for producers, especially the small players, to pre-vet their marketing with ABAC before going to market. “This quarter the ABAC Adjudication Panel found that the packaging of Jedi Juice by Hop Nation and Skinny Freezers strongly appeals to minors. Hop Nation agreed to immediately discontinue orders for its Jedi Juice packaging, however, the Australian distributors of Skinny Freezers have so far failed to respond to the Panel’s decision. ABAC has, therefore, referred the concerns about Skinny Freezers to the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.” Other breaches this quarter included a Cellarbrations television advertisement which the ABAC Adjudication Panel deemed could lead a reasonable person to take the ad as encouraging excessive consumption. In each of these cases the marketing materials were removed in accordance with ABAC’s rulings. ABAC said it remains strongly committed to educating the alcohol industry about responsible marketing practices, highlighting that it recently offered its free annual compliance training webinar, which had a record number of over 300 participants joining from throughout Australia.


Beer and spirits lead sales growth for Endeavour Drinks Woolworths has reported its first quarter sales results for the 2020 financial year with strong sales growth across the group of 7.1 per cent to $15.9bn. Endeavour Drinks reported growth of 4.9 per cent (comparable 3.2 per cent) up to $2.18bn with both BWS and Dan Murphy’s reporting solid growth. The result was also positive for the group’s hotels division with sales growth of 5.5 per cent (comparable 3.6 per cent) to $468m, driven by strong performance in food and bars. Speaking about the Endeavour Drinks result, Group CEO Brad Banducci said: “In Endeavour Drinks, both BWS and Dan Murphy’s delivered comparable growth across all key categories with Beer and Spirits and the growth of Pinnacle the highlights. In September, Endeavour Drinks acquired Chapel Hill Winery and established Paragon Wine Estates to house our portfolio of premium regional wines.” The group reported that both BWS and Dan Murphy’s saw online sales momentum increase, with total Endeavour Drinks online sales up by 20.7 per cent on last year. The quarter also saw the Dan Murphy’s loyalty program (My Dan’s) relaunched with the membership base growing to over 3.7 million. During the quarter, seven BWS stores were opened, and one store was closed ending the quarter with 1,352 stores. Dan Murphy’s store network was unchanged, ending the period with 230 stores.

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Beer, Wine & Spirits Sales Representatives of the Year

Retail Drinks Industry Awards Young Liquor Retailer of the Year winner Monique Strand

Liquor Store Owner of the Year, Steven Dinnell

Large Format Liquor Store of the Year winners, Dan Murphy’s Secret Harbour.

Retail Drinks celebrates the best liquor retailers of 2019 Independent retailers were star performers at the 2019 Retail Drinks Industry Awards.


he Retail Drinks Industry Awards were held last month at the Hyatt Regency in Sydney, applauding the year-round efforts made by the people and companies in Australia’s retail liquor industry. Independent outlets and owners were strong performers with both the Liquor Store of the Year and the Liquor Store Owner of the Year being won by independents. Vine, Providore of Fine Wines in Redfern, NSW, was named the Liquor Store of the Year, and Manager Andrew Stubbs was there to collect the award. He told National Liquor News that the team is delighted by the recognition. “We at Vine were thrilled to be named Liquor Store of the Year last night. Vine is a group of liquor industry professionals focusing on giving every customer the best experience by way of knowledge and authenticity, and to be recognised for our passion and all of the hard work we put in is an honour,” he said. Steven Dinnell, Owner of Porter’s Liquor St Ives Village in NSW, was named Liquor Store Owner of the Year. Dinnell, who invested in his own liquor store just over a year ago, told National Liquor News that he was surprised and delighted when he heard his name called out. “Winning this award has provided me the recognition that I am on the right track to successfully share my passion,” he said. Large Format Liquor Store of the Year

(>400sqm) went to Dan Murphy’s in Secret Harbour, WA, and Liquor Store Manager of the Year went to Narelle Glenister from Liquorland Kangaroo Flat, Victoria. With excellence in digital retailing and innovation being a key theme to the work of Retail Drinks, the Online Liquor Retailer of the Year award was hotly contested and ultimately won by Good Pair Days.

“Winning this award has provided me the recognition that I am on the right track to successfully share my passion.” – Steve Dinnell, Liquor Store Owner of the Year Tom Walenkamp, Co-founder and CEO of Good Pair Days, says that their personalised wine delivery platform is “shaking up the accessibility of a good drop” and that being recognised as the best online liquor retailer for 2019 tells them that as a business they are doing something right.


“Our team has spent the last year working incredibly hard to bring our vision for the next generation of wine retail to life, and to have the liquor industry recognise and appreciate what we’ve built through this award means the world to us,” he said. “It really gives us confidence that we’re on the right track and we can’t wait to show everyone what we’ve got planned for the next 12 months.” Monique Strand from Dan Murphy’s in Campbelltown, NSW, was named the Young Liquor Retailer of the Year. As winner of the award, Strand will be invited to sit as an ‘Observer’ on the Retail Drinks board for the next 12 months. Strand follows in the footsteps of Sharni Wise who was the 2017 Young Liquor Retailer of the Year winner. Wise has spent the last 12 months as an ‘Observer’ on the Retail Drinks board and was yesterday named as an official Director of the Board at the Retail Drinks AGM. Finally, Lion Beer Australia was the Supplier of the Year in more ways than one, winning the award for Beer Supplier of the Year, as well as the national Supplier of the Year and also Best Retail Activation Campaign for the Hahn Ultra Crisp promotion. Similarly, Phil Mack of Spirits Platform was a multi-award winner on the night, winning the award for Spirit Sales Representative of the Year before taking out the prize for national Sales Representative of the Year.






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‘Over Beer?’ campaign delivers unprecedented growth for Canadian Club


Canadian Club is gearing up for its biggest summer ever and has aspirations of becoming the biggest alcohol brand in Australia.

anadian Club is preparing for its biggest summer ever with a reinvigorated ‘Over Beer?’ campaign hoping to lure more beer drinkers over to the dark side. The brand has cemented its position in the Dark RTD category with one in every three Dark RTD drinkers purchasing Canadian Club, making Canadian Club the leading Dark RTD brand in Australia (Penetration %, Roy Morgan Q2 2019). Over a four week period more than 500,000 legal aged drinkers enjoyed a Canadian Club, while 7.5 million consumed beer – so the team sees this as an opportunity to continue to recruit from the beer category. Since the ‘Over Beer?’ campaign was originally launched almost 10 years ago, Canadian Club has enjoyed unprecedented double-digit growth year on year and has set its sights on becoming Australia’s number one RTD by 2020. According to IRI figures (MAT 29/09/19), Canadian Club is the biggest contributor to Dark RTD category growth and delivered $23.8m incremental value growth verse last year. Meanwhile, the new Canadian Club & Dry Zero Sugar offering is also delivering incremental volume to the Canadian Club trademark by appealing to a broader audience and currently holds 15 per cent of the Sugar Free RTD category. Marketing Director, Trent Chapman, said that the ‘Over Beer?’ campaign was initially

“To reach our aspiration of being the biggest alcohol brand in Australia, we are nurturing Canadian Club in a way that it will cater to all Australians. Like VB, XXXX Gold and now Great Northern, Canadian Club is fast becoming sewn into the fabric of the Australian lifestyle.”

launched in response to the Rudd Government’s increase to the excise on RTD back in 2008, which put immense pressure on marketing to work harder than it ever had to previously. Since then, Canadian Club has gone from being a 500k case brand back in 2010, to now being on track to deliver just shy of four million cases in 2019. The creative execution of the ‘Over Beer?’ campaign has evolved over the last 10 years, but the overarching key message, portraying Canadian Club as the ‘Refreshing Alternative to Beer’, has stayed consistent. “This summer will look to be Canadian Club’s biggest summer yet with a strong media plan in place,” said Chapman, who explained the campaign would include activations in key retailers across the on- and off-trade, online, and


a branded execution at The Australian Open. “Canadian Club will be one of, if not most present brands this summer as we pose the big question to consumers across Australia again… ‘are they Over Beer?’ “To reach our aspiration of being the biggest alcohol brand in Australia, we are nurturing Canadian Club in a way that it will cater to all Australians. Like VB, XXXX Gold and now Great Northern, Canadian Club is fast becoming sewn into the fabric of the Australian lifestyle. “Whether it is consumers flooding back into the on-premise to enjoy a refreshing glass of Canadian Club from the tap or to an iconic sporting event such as The Australian Open Tennis or The Everest horse race enjoying a bottle with a wedge of lime, Canadian Club will take pride of place with consumers.”

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The ILG Family at Luna Park


The ILG 2019 Family Reunion Independent Liquor Group has highlighted its commitment to successful independents at its annual Brands Conference and AGM.


ast month, the Independent Liquor Group (ILG) came together in Sydney to celebrate its 2019 Brands Conference, kicking off with around 400 members converging on Luna Park for the welcome cocktail reception. Paul Esposito, CEO of ILG, said that it was great to see so many members from all over Australia be able come together to share their passion. “It was a celebration of ILG – we had 400 members come from as far as North Queensland,” he said. “We had our new Victorian members here and we had approximately 200 members traveling from regional NSW as well,” he added “It was a great event. It was good to see that everyone is in sync and our goals are all aligned. “Now it’s just about focusing on everything moving forward over the next three days. We expect to have close to 600 at the closing dinner so that’s an endorsement that ILG is here to stay.”

Annual General Meeting It was positive news for ILG members with CEO Esposito announcing growth across sales revenue, sales volume and membership. “In value and volume we are outperforming the marketplace,” he said. This time last year ILG reported net assets of $18.7m and this year that balance has risen to $19.2m. Assets include the Sydney and Townsville warehouses, two lease properties in

Richland, Brisbane, and the new Liquor Co-op site in Bacchus Marsh, Victoria. Sales revenue grew by five per cent and profit before member’s benefit was down 6.9 per cent. ILG membership grew by 12 per cent and total member benefits paid came to $11m. Esposito said that reducing debt has been a priority and over the last two years the business has paid $2.3m in loan repayments. “We are committed to ensuring the success and opportunity of the independent liquor industry. We have the power and benefits of belonging to Australia’s largest liquor co-operative. Our focus moving forward is growth, culture and future proofing. “We want to be the employer of choice and ensure that every stakeholder is aligned with our goals and values.”

Fleet Street ILG’s new premium Fleet Street offering launched in July this year and has now grown to six stores across Sydney. These are at McMahons Point, Bella Vista, Mona Vale, Collaroy, North Avalon and Terry Hills. Esposito told the AGM that the concept had been on the agenda for a number of years and with the market trending towards premiumisation, it was time to get the concept right and bring it to market. He said that over the course of the next 12 months we can expect to see Fleet Street grow


to around 20 stores, and about 50 per cent of those will come from outside of the ILG family.

Victoria Esposito said to build a strong future for ILG it is all about building scale and the move into Victoria is going to help build that. “Looking at the future of ILG and determining how to future proof, when you talk to the suppliers it’s all about scale,” he said. He spoke about the Liquor Co-op Bacchus Marsh in Victoria and explained the strategy behind buying a site that would be large enough to act as a retail outlet and a warehouse. The Victorian strategy differs from the ILG traditional model. Eventually the plan is to build a successful retail business in Victoria, with wholesaling being secondary. The development of ILG Retail gives the flexibility to provide wholesale services to hotels, bars, clubs and liquor retail in Victoria. He also welcomed ILG’s first Super Cellars member in Victoria, Super Cellars Wodonga. “We need to be sustainable as a co-operative and to provide secure pricing and best practices to our members. And we need to be a trusted supplier in the independent liquor industry. “Obviously with growth we get scale and scale gives us the ability to absorb a lot of the cost, without having to pass it onto members. “Growth is a priority. Our members are the key to our success.”


Hall of Fame Winners: • Nelson Hotel - 30 years • Adams Tavern - 25 years • Kogarah Inn - 25 years • Chiswick Cellars - 25 years • Coogee Bay Hotel - 25 years • Gifts of Liquor - 25 years • Minto Mirage - 25 years • Cheers Bar & Grill - 20 years

The Hall of Famers

• Crocodile Farm Hotel - 20 years • Kelly’s on King - 20 years • St George Tavern - 20 years • Fairfield West Cellars - 20 years • New Civic Hotel - 20 years • Strand Cellars - 20 years • Kenthurst Cellars - 20 years • Lord Dudley Hotel - 20 years

Brilliance Awards Winners: The SouthTrade Team

David Ward and Ashley Smith from Australian Brewery

Bobby McGhee with the Diageo team

Liquor Store of the Year: • Cronins Liquor NSW • Hammondville Cellars NSW • Acacia Ridge Hotel QLD Hotel of the Year: • Warners At The Bay NSW • Mt Isa Hotel QLD Club of the Year: • St Mary’s Leagues Club NSW • Moranbah Workers Club QLD Group of the Year: • Paul Hunter Group NSW • Murphy-Jones Hotel Group QLD

Two Suns is the latest release from Asahi

Delegates enjoyed the rides at Coney Island

Eduardo Bianca with the Brown Brother One canned range

Supplier of the Year: • Asahi Premium Beverages

Paul Esposito



LSA WA celebrates 25th annual gala awards The awards recognise the star achievers in the independent liquor retail space in Western Australia.

Laurie Hurley


he Liquor Stores Association of Western Australia (LSA WA) has held its 25th annual awards night at the Grand Ballroom of the Crown Perth. The evening served as an opportunity to not only congratulate and recognise the star achievers on both the retail and supplier sides, but also to highlight the work LSA WA has been doing behind the scenes to fight for a strong and united industry. LSA WA President, Lou Spagnolo, opened the evening by saying it was a night to celebrate the achievements of those who add a drive and energy to the industry. “These awards highlight the work and professionalism that goes into achieving the highest standards that are expected throughout our industry. The recognition of the recipients of tonight’s awards is well deserved,” he said. “LSA WA has been a strong united voice fighting for our industry since 1952. We play and will continue to play a pivotal role in ensuring we have a fair legislation and regulation, to ensure our businesses continue to thrive. During the past 67 years, we’ve had one main aim, to protect small WA family businesses, while being mindful of the other businesses we come into contact with.

Vikrant Sharma

The winners wall

“Let’s not forget the jobs we create and the reliance our local wineries have on our outlets. And the kick on effect this has right down to the person driving that little red tractor around the vineyard. We are mindful of any outside influences that could affect the sustainability of our industry and our local economy. And I’m sure our government would be conscious of the role we play in supporting that economy. Put in perspective, our industry directly generates about 6,500 jobs. On a national scale, retail liquor sales generate about $17.5 billion per year. You can imagine how much we inject. “The LSA has a full agenda. Among the items that have taken place over the past couple of years is the BDR trial in Pilbara. This initiative puts the responsibility back on the consumer without penalising the responsible drinkers in the region. It also allows the necessary agencies to provide support for those who need it. “Our association, and in particular our CEO, Peter Peck, has championed this project with all of the relevant stakeholders and with the backing of Minister Papalia. I would like to personally thank Mr. Papalia for supporting this project. And for the support he has shown our industry since coming into office.”


LSA WA 2019 Liquor Industry Award winners: LSA WA Life Member Inductee: Laurie Hurley Spirits & RTD Sales Representative of the Year: Damien Morgan, Brown-Forman Wine Sales Representative of the Year: Corey Wilson, Samuel Smith & Sons Beer Sales Representative of the Year: Scott Ellis, Coopers Premium Beverages Supplier of the Year: Lion Beer Australia Quiet Achiever Award: Lou Spagnolo Young Retailer of the Year: Aiden Sivic Country Liquor Store of the Year: Deb O’Connor, Witchy Liquor Metropolitan Liquor Store of the Year: Vikrant Sharma, John’s Food & Liquor Western Australian Liquor Store of the Year: Vikrant Sharma, John’s Food & Liquor

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Ginspiration for the entire FMCG industry Enticing innovation across price points has propelled consumer curiosity and engagement in the gin category, according to IRI.




in is a standout performer in retail liquor, and indeed across the entire FMCG landscape. The 142 per cent dollar growth recorded by gin-based liquor over the past five years in Australian retail has been underpinned by a virtuous growth cycle of drivers. Firstly, enticing innovation across price points has propelled consumer curiosity and engagement. Augmenting this has been disruptive in-store merchandising whereby a trip into most liquor stores today will feature a well-executed gin display – either at the segment feature or off-location. In combination, these drivers have bolstered shopper conversion whereby gin buyers are allocating a higher proportion of their glass spirits spend (27 per cent, up from 21 per cent a year ago) to premium gin offerings. The outcome has been a high performing retail fixture mostly devoid of routine discounting that undermines the longer-term equity of the total segment and brands within. Glass and RTD gin products accounted for $363m in sales in the 52 weeks to 30 June following a sustained period of relentless growth. Glass gin has added $188m in sales over the last five years (to 30 June), with nearly $80m in raw growth occurring in last year alone. Over the last two years we have observed gin significantly outperform the second largest growth segment: vodka. And YOY glass gin growth exceeds 25 per cent across all states. Likewise, RTD gin has added $29m over the same timeframe, with the majority share (+$17m) occurring in the last 12 months. Only Canadian Whisky – led by an outstanding recent performance by Canadian Club – contributed more growth to RTD than gin in the most recent financial year. Both glass and RTD gin have recorded a twofold increase in share over the last five years. The former now accounts for 8.2 per cent of glass spirit dollar sales, up from 4.1 per cent in 2014. RTD gin remains a relative niche at 1.7 per cent share of RTD – up from 0.6 per cent in 2014.

Growth drivers Gin’s accelerated sales ascension has underscored Diageo’s position as the number one growth generating supplier in Australian retail liquor in FY ’19. Gin accounted for eight per cent of Diageo’s dollar sales, but 35 per cent share of its dollar growth. These numbers are akin to the rate by which gin is overindexing in total glass spirts growth. We have recorded a 23 per cent annual increase in glass gin SKUs in FY ’19, albeit down from the 39 per cent uplift observable a year ago. Amid this surge of NPD activity – which has unsurprisingly coincided with a dip in SKU efficiency ($/SKU) – the popularity of

the rosé-hued pink gin serve really stands out. The ‘Insta-worthy’ pink hue of Gordon’s Pink has been the standout having added $10M in FY ’19. Meanwhile, the core Gordon’s London Dry also recorded accelerated sales growth, illustrating how pink gin has been incremental to the overall gin segment and Gordon’s brand. IRI’s UK retail data reveals a similar dynamic; in the 52 weeks to 20 July, Gordon’s original added GBP50m, while Gordon’s Pink added GBP32m. In Australia, we have observed nontraditional (non-British) provenance as a sales driving USP. Two examples are Roku and Jinzu, with the former standing out as the leading glass gin NPD having amassed a near $10m in sales. Jinzu, multi-origin Japanese influenced gin, is comparatively smaller but recorded dollar growth of 84 per cent in the last 12 months.

Future trends More significant has been the traction of Australian artisan producers that are putting a unique twist on the classic spirit. Against a backdrop of international accolades and attention, YOY dollar growth of 69 per cent for Australian produced gin is more than twice the rate observed in glass gin overall (+33 per cent). We have also observed an 11 per cent price per litre increase in Australian gins over the last 12 months in a segment that was already premium. This is symptomatic of what we observe more broadly: the rise of flavoured and premium non-traditional gins has inflated prices in the overall gin segment. Among the top 12 growth generating glass spirit segments over the 104 weeks to June 30, glass gin (+ nine per cent) is second only to Cognac (+12 per cent) in the rate of price inflation recorded. IRI’s shopper panel further validates this willingness to pay a price premium among the four per cent of Australian households purchasing gin. Gin buyers (61 per cent) are 10 percentage points higher than glass spirit drinkers overall to agree that they are “willing to pay a premium price for superior quality”. Gin’s newfound ‘cultural capital’ and NPD dynamism has evidently been an impetus for drinkers to seek value beyond the lowest price. Indeed, IRI’s shopper panel reveals a 10 per cent increase in AWOP (spend per occasion) when gin features in a shopping basket. Going forward, IRI anticipate eight key trends shaping future directions in what we expect to be a continuation of spirited gin performance. Each of these trends has been outlined and evidenced with local and international observations in our upcoming publication ‘Current & Future Trends in Gin’. Between now and 2020, these eight trends will support a 50 per cent unit sales uplift. For details of the trends, and our projections for the glass gin segment, please contact

IRI’s shopper panel reveals a 10 percent increase in AWOP when gin features in a shopping basket. Growth Cycle



SUPA IGA Liquor Terang National Liquor News’ Brydie Allen caught up with Terry Thomas, Liquor Manager at SUPA IGA Liquor in the Terang Co-op, Victoria.

Q: What has been happening of late at your store? TERRY: Lately our customers have really been beginning to get into the local beers, wines and spirits that I have been trying hard to promote in our store. They have all been really well received by the community, which has been rewarding to see. Organic wines have begun to show an increase too.

Q: What’s the philosophy behind your outlet? TERRY: Our philosophy is about supporting local businesses and catering to our customers as best we can, in the way that only independents can.

Q: How do you compete with other stores in the area? TERRY: We stand apart from our competitors by passing on the deals we get from reps straight to the customers. Whether that is by discounting product prices even lower, or competitions that are only available in our store. Also, by being independent, we have the ability to cater to the customer with products only available to independent stores, or source some products that the chains cannot.

Q: What products are popular in your store and why do you think that is? TERRY: The big movers in the store lately have been in the mid strength variety. They’re popular due to being in a regional area with a large farmer population who like having the option to enjoy a few beers after a day’s work without the worry of being over the limit or feeling bloated. Whisky has also always been a popular spirit, but still has seen increases in sales lately. We’re finding now that


people aren’t mixing it with just Cola anymore, but ginger ales, ginger beers or soda waters and the like.

Q: Are there any innovations that have worked well in your outlet? TERRY: Successful innovations have certainly been with our in-store only promotions and competitions, especially those where purchasing more premium products gives the customer multiple entries. For example, purchase one standard bottle and receive one entry, but purchase the more premium product and receive two to three entries. Focusing on local companies and their products with regular in-store tastings is also well received by the community, which is great to see.

Q: What do you think are some of the biggest challenges of being a liquor retailer in regional Victoria, and in the industry itself? TERRY: Limited deliveries and freight costs are an issue for our store compared to those in metro areas. We just must absorb that cost into the business unfortunately. Larger companies can also misguide price perception to the public, which to an extent can be harmful to independents. But I do feel that people really want to support their local independent stores, which we reward with better promotions. Some challenges about being a regional liquor retailer in Victoria specifically are that we’re limited to the same customer base, so it doesn’t allow for a high turnover in a variety of different products.

“Our philosophy is about supporting local businesses and catering to our customers as best we can, in the way that only independents can.”


Paul Downie, Scott Fitzsimons and Joe Perry from The Oak Barrel.

A big win for the independents The Oak Barrel in Sydney has been named the Liquor Store of the Year at the Australian Liquor Industry Awards (ALIA) for the third time.


he Oak Barrel in Sydney has been voted as the Liquor Store of the Year for the third time at the 2019 Australian Liquor Industry Awards (ALIA). The Oak Barrel has been nominated for the award for the last four years and has taken it home three times. For Scott Fitzsimons, the Whisky and Spirits Educator at The Oak Barrel, as well as being both humbled and delighted by the win, he said that he is mostly just happy to see so many independent liquor stores recognised in the category. The other finalists in 2019 were: -B ayswater Fine Wines, Rushcutters Bay, NSW - Booze Brothers, The Mile End, SA - Carwyn Cellars, Thornbury, Vic - Cutty Cellars, Crows Nest, NSW - Elizabeth Bay Cellars, NSW - Liquor Barons, Ellenbrook, WA - Plonk, Fyshwick, ACT - Sense of Taste Portside, Hamilton, QLD - The Dutch Trading Co, Perth, WA

- The Oak Barrel, Sydney, NSW - Vine Wine, Redfern, NSW - Warners at the Bay, NSW Plonk in Fyshwick and Bayswater Fine Wines in Rushcutters Bay tied as runner-up. “We love them all. There’s so many great independent bottle stores and we don’t understand why we’ve been so lucky to win this award three times out of four nominations,” Fitzsimons said. “What I love is that there were so many independent bottle stores on that list. I grew up at Vine Wine before I came over to The Oak Barrel. It’s great to see so many independent bottle stores that are punching above their weight. “We won’t win this forever. We’re in a bit of a golden patch for whatever reason, but this is going to be excellent moving forward if there’s so many indies in the finalist list, that’s a very strong thing for booze retail in this country.” The Oak Barrel’s Owner, Paul Downie, was able to attend ALIA and accept the award for the first time this year and he was understandably very overwhelmed and delighted.

When we asked him what he thinks it is that sets The Oak Barrel apart in this category, he simply puts it down to the passion of his staff. “I just want to thank the staff and thank the whole industry,” he said. “It’s simply the passion. The passion of the people, and the passion of the products that are going to drive new people to discover the best things on offer. “Our staff are handpicked, and they do an exceptional job. They put in more effort than you would believe and more effort than they are paid for, so I thank them very much.” That passion is evident in Fitzsimons, who said: “When we won this a few years ago we were very humbled to win considering how many great independent liquor stores are all around the country, as well as the chains. “To win it three times out of the last four we’re taking the piss a little bit so we do apologise but there is one thing I want to say… we get the privilege of working for the Oak Barrel, we have the greatest job in the world.”



Gage Roads celebrates 15 years of brewing To mark the milestone the Western Australian brewers are taking a walk down memory lane by releasing a new and improved version of their very first beer.




t’s been 15 years since Gage Roads Brewing Co brewed its very first beer, Pure Malt Lager. To celebrate the milestone the team has decided to revisit its roots, rewind the clock, and re-release a modern-day version of that original recipe as the special release Small Batch Lager. Aaron Heary was one of the inaugural members of the brewing team and now, 15 years on, he’s the Brew Chief. Having been there from the beginning, he told National Liquor News that it was great to open the filing cabinets, dust off those early recipes and be able to play around with them. “I’ve got a filing cabinet in my office and in there are some of the really early recipes. All that stuff was on paper back then, so I pulled out some old recipes and talked through it with the brew team. We formed a new recipe and it turned out really, really well,” he said. “It’s taken four brews to get it right as lagers can be tough going, but I can report the latest brew is very good. It’s malty and hoppy – and for a lager that’s not necessarily the norm. But this beer is tasting awesome and it’s a great way to celebrate 15 years of brewing.” Small Batch is a European style, full flavoured, all malt lager. It uses Hersbrucker and Mt Hood hops, it has a noble hop aroma with delicate citrus notes and a full and clean malt flavour – all with a balanced and refreshing bitterness to finish. It’s available in 49.5L kegs and 500ml cans that have an RRP of $24.99-$25.99 per six-pack.

Where it all began Gage Roads set up shop just outside of Fremantle more than 15 years ago, founded by a passionate bunch of Western Australians with a shared love of good beer and the ocean. Lead by brothers John and Bill Hoedemaker, the early days were tough for Gage Roads. Establishing a craft brewery in a market dominated by huge players was never going to be easy, but the team were determined to produce craft beer that challenged peoples’ palates while also reflecting the coastal environment that they all loved so much. Heary told National Liquor News that while those early days were indeed tough, it was also an exciting time as it felt like the beginning of something special. People were beginning to discover craft beer and move away from the mainstream. “Gage Roads was started on the credit card of one of the founders. It’s a classic story and early on it was tough. But it was really exciting as well because we were launching beer styles that many people in Australia had never seen before. “It felt like we were riding on the tip of a

“We’re an independent brewery and we have a vision to keep providing better beer and more choice for beer lovers.” – Aaron Heary wave that was about to come. At that time, we had to explain to people what craft beer was, and we were trying to convince them to drink craft beer instead of mainstream lager. Now everyone knows what craft beer is… it was such a different time back then.” Gage Roads has always had a strong connection with the coast. The name itself comes from the strip of water that separates Rottnest Island and Fremantle. It’s a spot that Heary and the brewery founders were always closely connected to. “It really shaped the brewery. Everyone who founded the business and me loves the ocean. Whether it’s diving, surfing, fishing, boating or even just having a swim, it’s what we all love. The guys wanted to name the business after something to do with that love and that’s how Gage Roads came about,” says Heary. “It really was more than just a name for us, we wanted our beers to fit with that ocean lifestyle. We wanted to make beer that challenged people but still drank well out on the water in that hot and dry climate. It inspired the look and the feel but most importantly, it inspired the beer. It was really connected in a lot of ways.”

Looking ahead Fifteen years on, that small group of beer loving surfers has grown to a team of more

than 120 and the brewery is still proudly independent. The Gage Roads range includes Single Fin Summer Ale, Little Dove New World Pale Ale, Sleeping Giant, Hello Sunshine Cider and the newly released easydrinking mid-strength Side Track All Day XPA, which we wrote about in the October issue of National Liquor News. Looking to the future, Heary says Gage Roads will continue to fly the flag of independence and “keep taking it to the big guys”. He said: “Over the next few years we’ll see a lot of activity with new breweries in other states of Australia. We’re an independent brewery and we have a vision to keep providing better beer and more choice for beer lovers. We want to keep driving the independent beer movement and help get more brewers brewing great beer, rather than just the two big ones. “No doubt the last 15 years has been a lot of work. One of the values we’ve always had is to have fun while doing it. We take our beer seriously and we want to brew the best beer at all times. It’s been a long journey for us, and the brewery has grown to become a great success story. There’s been a lot of blood, sweat and tears behind the scenes, but one thing we’ve never lost sight of is that we’ve got to have fun doing it.”



Brooklyn launches new sour beer Brooklyn Brewery is launching its Bel Air Sour ale in Australia and has revealed details of the Brooklyn Bel Air ‘Party Tartly’ Cocktail Cup that will run alongside the launch. The cocktail competition, which is by invitation, is challenging bartenders across NSW and Victoria to create a Bel Air Sour ale cocktail using no more than five ingredients. The competition also requires entrants to promote their cocktail throughout November in a bid to secure a ‘money-can’t-buy Brooklyn experience’. Speaking about the launch, Malt Shovel’s Head of Marketing, Kirsty Harding said: “Brooklyn’s Bel Air Sour was a small limited-edition brew, which rapidly became one of Brooklyn Brewery’s fastest growing core beers and the USA’s number three sour beer by value. “With the local growth of sours also exploding we’re excited to launch Bel Air sour as a new permanent addition to the Brooklyn Brewery range in Australia. Bel Air is a beer that is big on refreshment and captures what it means to be ‘Party Tartly’ – to be open, curious, and ready for the unexpected, and what could be more unexpected than launching it with a cocktail competition?” On 9 December, the Bel Air ‘Partly Tartly’ Cocktail Cup will culminate in a Brooklyn themed ‘Party Tartly’ Day Event, featuring DJ sets, flamingos, party shirts and Bel Air Creations, officially marking the launch of Bel Air Sour and crowning the first ever ‘Party Tartly’ Cup Winner.

Lion releases Australia’s first alcoholic seltzer November sees the release of Australia’s first alcoholic seltzer, Quincy, from Lion. The Australian-made, gluten-free drink is pitched as a refreshing summer option from Lion, having less sugar and carbs than the average vodka RTD. Lion’s Innovation Director Jo Simpson said Quincy has been developed to cater to growing consumer demand for unique beverages that can fit into modern lifestyles and diet choices. “With the worldwide trend towards moderation - in addition to mindfulness around ingredients such as sugar and carbohydrates - we have created a beverage choice that ticks all the right boxes,” Simpson said. “When you enter a bottle shop looking for an afternoon delight and you don’t necessarily feel like a wine, an RTD or a traditional beer, Quincy has the right characteristics that will appeal to drinkers from all these categories. It just provides something a little bit different.” Although this is the first Australian instance of ‘spiked’ or ‘hard’ seltzer (as alcoholic seltzer is sometimes known), the category has taken off in the United States. Lion referred to data from Nielsen that shows US sales of alcoholic seltzers have skyrocketed by 210 per cent since 2018. James Brindley, Managing Director at Lion, said this overseas popularity also inspired them to get ahead of the pack with Quincy. “Though known for our leading beer portfolio at Lion, Quincy is an innovative response to the growing demand for a lighter drink that tastes great too,” Brindley said. “At Lion we look forward to continuing to grow our business beyond the core and producing new beverages to suit the changing demands of our drinkers.” Quincy is available in natural lime or passionfruit flavour in 300ml bottles. They retail for $19.99 RRP per four-pack.


Phil Sexton returns to Matilda Bay Australian craft beer pioneer Phil Sexton is going back to where it all began, returning to Matilda Bay, the brewery he co-founded more than 35 years ago. Matilda Bay was Australia’s original craft brewery and was fully acquired by Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) in 1990. Sexton left not long after that takeover and has established himself as a well-regarded winemaker, however he said that an element of unfinished business and the opportunity to revive Matilda Bay saw him take the opportunity to work in partnership with CUB. “Restoring Matilda Bay to its rightful place as Australia’s leading craft beer is unfinished business for me,” Sexton said. “I want to grow craft beer by showing people how special good small batch beer can be. “I founded Matilda Bay in 1983 to give drinkers beautiful craft beer. And as the original craft brewery, it still has a special spot in the consciousness of Aussie beer lovers. It’s the right label to finish what I started and re-affirm what artisanal brewing should stand for: sessionable, flavourful beers that stand the test of time.” The brewery will be in Healesville in the Yarra Valley, an hour east of Melbourne, and will have a pub attached. It will exclusively develop and brew a new Matilda Bay range and some Matilda Bay classics such as Redback and Dogbolter. Speaking about the new range, Sexton said that for him, brewing is all about using the proper materials in the correct way and in particular, following the German purity laws that beer is made using the four ingredients of water, malt, yeast and hops. “I think we’ve got to focus on getting back to great beer and what’s great beer? Well it’s a beautiful beer to drink that’s not challenging. Because the moment you start challenging people with extremes of bitterness, extremes of alcohol or extremes of sour, they are going to say ‘that’s interesting, that’s cool’ it might win a gold medal, but it is not going to have people sit there and say ‘I love drinking this, can I have another one?’.” And while he didn’t reveal details of the new beers he did say that he will be looking at developing some oakaged beers. The Matilda Bay brewery and pub will be built on the site currently occupied by Giant Steps winery and restaurant, which is owned by Sexton. Construction is expected to start in coming weeks and the brewery is expected to be operational by the end of the year. More than 20 new jobs will be created.


Ron Barceló rum signs distribution deal with Kollaras

Capi launches made to mix product range Capi has announced the release of its first ever full range of product named Soda+, designed as a no sugar, unsweetened flavoured soda range, perfect for mixing. Launching this November, Soda+ comes in three different flavours initially, with further development already underway for 2020. The range plays on citrus and herb blends including Lemon and Basil; Blood Orange and Sage; and Grapefruit and Rosemary. Developed and designed by Capi’s Head of Innovation, Thurman Wise, Soda+ was made as a result of extensive research, consumer testing and trend analysis with statistics showing vodka is still the king of white spirits in Australia (Mintel). “Working with citrus and herbs creates a balanced drink, yet the combinations we have played with provide an adult profile, elevating what consumers can experience when they make a simple vodka soda” says Wise. Emma Evans, CEO of Capi said they looked at the entire beverage market globally and identified a gap in the market for a vodka soda. “The desire for a no sugar, natural, premium product exists but we believed it could not be a single flavour extension but an entire range… a range with a story behind it, flavour to satisfy customers and an occasionbased message to hit their social and entertaining needs. Australians spent more than twice as much on vodka last year than gin, so we’re excited to get Soda+ into the market for summer,” says Emma Evans, CEO, Capi. Capi has designed the range to be mixed with vodka, creating fresh flavours that are not overly complicated. However, the range has scope for mixing with other spirits including gin, tequila, white rum, mezcal or simply consumed alone. Capi Soda+ will be available online at from 11 November, stocked with national distributors and then in major spirit retailers from February 2020.

Leading Dominican Republic rum, Ron Barceló, has signed an exclusive Australian distribution deal with Kollaras & Co, which will see six rums from its range available to independent retailers across the country. Ron Barceló was established 90 years ago, is currently exported to more than 50 countries worldwide and has signed this deal with Kollaras as part of its international expansion plans. Doug Misener, Kollaras & Co’s Commercial Director, said the partnership would facilitate new market ventures for both companies. “We are excited to add yet another globally successful brand to the Kollaras portfolio. It adds further depth to Kollaras’ stellar reputation as a solutions provider and brand owner,” Misener said. The following Ron Barceló range will be available for both on-premise and off-premise venues: • Ron Barceló Blanco 700ml and 1L • Ron Barceló Dorado 700ml and 1L • Ron Barceló Gran Anejo 700ml • Ron Barceló Imperial 700ml • Ron Barceló Imperial Onyx 700ml • Ron Barceló Premium Blend 30th Anniversary 700ml Ron Barceló’s Regional Director for Asia Pacific, Fernando Barrera, said the deal was part of the producer’s international expansion plan described as ‘a journey of instinct that has no borders’. “This exciting partnership between two market leaders is a strategic move for the company that will see growth not only for the brand but for the category globally,” Barrera said. “The increased scale this partnership creates will provide customers with greater market access to the award-winning Ron Barceló product.” For more information about stocking Ron Barceló, which is available through the ALM portal, contact your local Kollaras & Co representative.

New rum brand set to launch in Australia UK rum Dead Man’s Fingers is bringing its unique and unconventional style to Australia, launching in both the on- and off-premise. The Dead Man’s Fingers brand is part of Halewood Australia; a subsidiary of Halewood Wine and Spirits International, the UK’s leading independent wine and spirits manufacturer and distributor. Dead Man’s Fingers itself was originally created in Cornwall and was born from a passion for food and flavours, featuring the slightly sweeter characteristics of orange, in contrast to more mainstream citrus notes of lemon and lime. Referencing the unconventional nature of the brand and its offering, Lawrence Williamson, Managing Director at Halewood Australia,

said: “Dead Man’s Fingers is on a mission to break free from the stereotypes and conventions usually associated with rum. This means no pirates, no parrots, and no palm trees. We’re passionate about doing things differently and we believe Australia is ready to come along for the ride.” Dead Man’s Fingers launched in Australia with its original Spiced Rum at the end of October, with two additional flavours in Dead Man’s Fingers Coconut Rum and Dead Man’s Fingers Coffee Rum to follow in November. Dead Man’s Fingers Spiced Rum is available now in Liquorland, First Choice Liquor, Vintage Cellars, and select independent off and on trade accounts across the nation at the RRP of $48.99 with a 40 per cent ABV.



McGuigan releases zero alcohol wines The rising popularity of low and no alcohol products has now inspired McGuigan Wines to enter the alcohol-free sector with McGuigan Zero. The range contains five de-alcoholised wines including Shiraz, sparkling, rosé, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, priced at $12 RRP. The crafted range has been in development for more than two years from McGuigan’s Buronga Hill winery in New South Wales. The alcohol is removed after the fermentation process by unique technology that is the only of its kind in the country, making McGuigan the only Australian winemaker to make alcohol-free wines using this method. Chief Winemaker Neil McGuigan said: “We are the only wine company in Australia operating spinning cone technology, which has enabled us to play around with its capabilities in making low and alcohol-free wines.” McGuigan also described the process to refine this technology while maintaining the usual quality of the brand’s wines. “For the last few years, we have been experimenting with our winemaking to deliver an alcohol-free wine, which has the most vinous and varietal character possible. The biggest challenge is to make the flavour profile of the finished product as close to a wine at full-strength as we can,” he said. “The technology we have is market-leading and uses low temperatures to remove the alcohol, which means the wine retains freshness and purity of flavour. To get the finished product down to a lower ABV requires further refinement, but we have identified that this is possible to achieve while maintaining wine-like qualities.” McGuigan Wines indicated that new consumer behaviour revolving around moderation trends was the reason they wanted to enter the category, to give drinkers a full-flavoured experience, with or without alcohol. McGuigan Zero will be available this month from independents and the Coles Liquor Group.

Penfolds celebrates 175 years with Special Bin release Penfolds is celebrating 175 years of winemaking heritage with the release of a new, rare wine – Special Bin 111A Clare Valley Barossa Valley Shiraz 2016. Named after the wine’s oak maturation stack number, Special Bin 111A is the first Special Bin blend of Clare Valley and Barossa Valley. The wine is available from select fine wine outlets including Penfolds Cellar Door at RRP $1500 for a 750ml bottle. A 1.5ltr magnum is also available in some regions. “Bin 111A is an authentic Penfolds Special Bin, rare and true to the Penfolds ‘House Style’. Special Bins are pathfinding vintages and are only released if they offer something extra, different and unique. “These wines make a very important statement about Penfolds and they also represent a heritage of curiosity, experimentation and Australian wine making innovation first started by Penfolds 175 years ago,” said Peter Gago, Penfolds Chief Winemaker. Special Bin 111A is described as “a superb example of contemporary Penfolds winemaking philosophy; an impressively concentrated wine with balance and character, feasibly destined to become an Australian classic”. The wine was unveiled at a 175th anniversary gala dinner event held at Penfolds Magill Estate Winery, in front of 100 VIP guests from around the world.

Thomas Wines celebrates 20 years of Braemore Semillon Andrew ‘Thommo’ Thomas created his first Braemore Semillon on the Hunter Valley in 2000. Having spent 13 years at Tyrells and in nearby vineyards, he bought the Semillon grapes from Ken Bray’s Braemore Vineyard and as he puts it, “the rest is history”. Now this year, Thommo and Thomas Wines celebrate huge Braemore milestones; 50 years since the vineyard was planted and 20 consecutive years of vintages in the single vineyard Braemore Semillon. “I’ve been dealing with this vineyard now for 20 years and it was clear from the very early stages that it was a very special piece of dirt,” Thommo said. For him, the anniversary is made more special considering his purchase of the vineyard in 2017. “I feel incredibly privileged to be the custodian of one of the Hunter Valley’s most iconic sites. To be perfectly honest with you, in the early days, I never imagined that one day I would own or be the custodian of that piece of dirt, but it’s something very special and close to my heart.” Speaking to National Liquor News at a vertical tasting of all 20 Braemore Semillon vintages, Thommo reflected on the collection. “There’s four brackets here and they’re all distinctively different and all represent a section in the life cycle of Hunter Valley Semillon,” he said. “Braemore really hits its straps from 10 years onward, and this bracket from the ’09 to five, to my mind, really represents a beautiful section of what that vineyard can represent.” The tasting event was a unique and retrospective look into the history of the Braemore Semillon. With the wine pulled from Thommo’s personal cellar, such an extensive vertical event physically can’t happen again, due to the


A selection of the Braemore Semillon from over the last 20 years

random oxidation unfortunately impacting the remaining bottles from 2000 and 2003. Reflecting on his creations over the years, Thommo said it’s clear how much has changed in the industry. “If we go back 10, 15, 20 years ago, there was this old fashioned perception that Hunter Valley Semillon had to be aged before you could even consider drinking it. Slowly that perception is changing,” he said. Thommo said the Hunter Valley as a whole is: “finessing our wine making to produce wines with a little bit more technical complexity. Let’s face it, white Semillon is one of the most pure and precise delicate wine styles in the world, but the little one percenters that we can apply in the winery give these wines just a little more approachability and drinkability and slurpability.” Thomas Wine’s 2019 Braemore Semillon is available now from Vinous, as well as a special Cellar Reserve Vintage from 2014.


Rob Dolan unveils his Signature Series range

NZ Lighter Wine launches in Australia NZ Lighter Wines, the largest research and new wine category initiative ever undertaken by the New Zealand wine industry, launches in Australia at the end of November. The initiative is focused on the natural production of lighter in alcohol wines (containing less than 10 per cent ABV). Eighteen NZ wine companies were involved in the initiative collaborating on research into all aspects of lighter in alcohol wines, working to maintain the quality, flavor and varietal expression that NZ wine is famous for. Wine Intelligence research commissioned by the programme shows that 50 per cent of Australian premium wine drinkers are open to purchasing lighter in alcohol wine providing they don’t compromise quality and flavour, and one in three Australians either moderated or abstained from consuming alcohol on specific occasions in the last three months. Andrew Sheddon, Head of Fine Wine, Dan Murphy’s said: “Moderation is one of the key trends in Australia and lower alcohol offerings are growing in popularity with our customers across all categories. We’ve been responding to the shifting drinking habits for some time and we continue to adjust our range to accommodate more products aligned with this trend.” The initiative has already seen considerable growth in New Zealand and NZ Lighter Wines are now exported to the UK, Europe and North America to satisfy growing consumer demand. NZ Lighter Wines brands available in Australia this summer include: Brancott Estate Flight, The Doctors’, Giesen Pure Light, In Session with Crafter’s Union, The People’s Sessions, Yealands Lighter and Stoneleigh Bright. The wines available nationally in Dan Murphy’s, BWS, First Choice, Liquorland and selected independent liquor stores from November.

Yarra Valley winemaker Rob Dolan has unveiled his Signature Series range, a collection of wines that act as a window into the region’s most exceptional vineyards. Dolan described the new range and the ethos behind his label as a whole. “Our aim has always been to craft wine that reflects the magic of the Yarra Valley,” he said. “The Signature Series range is a culmination of 35 years in the wine industry and is a result of utilising carefully selected vineyard sites and soils that have been lovingly tended to by our top grape growers and is made only in the finest vintages.” The Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet that form the range are wine styles that Dolan personally enjoys, but he also chose them as they illustrate the essence of the Yarra’s winemaking community. Renowned photographer James Newman was commissioned to capture products in the series. The images helped Dolan mark this career highlight and were featured at a launch event at the end of October. Reflecting on the past nine years of his wine label, Dolan said: “Extreme drinkability has always been our goal. Our team of diversely skilled winemakers ensures we balance purity of fruit expression, sophisticated balance and depth of flavour. We learn from each other; and we learn from each season.” “Like my parents before me, we are a proud, family run operation, with all three of my children: Tess, Ben and Max involved in some way or another. We are so pleased with how far we have come and it’s truly a highpoint to now share the Signature Series range,” he said. The limited edition Rob Dolan Signature Series range is available now from Nelson Wine Co (VIC and QLD) and Winestock Fine Wines (NSW).

Gibson Wines from father to son Barossa based Gibson Wines is a family brand, with Rob Gibson (AKA ‘The Dirtman’) at the helm for over 20 years. Now, after more than 50 vintages, Gibson Wines welcomes the first from its new generation, with Gibson’s son Adam Fiegert (AKA ‘Duke’) releasing his first wine under the label. Fiegert grew up with wine in his blood, with his father having more than 25 years of experience at Penfolds before creating his own label. After vintages in France and California, Fiegert has evolved his own contemporary winemaking style, which he brought home to Gibson Wines. Aptly named ‘Duke’, Fiegert’s first Gibson label wine is a Grenache Shiraz blend 2018 vintage, aged for 10 months. Fiegert reflected on the harvest and said: “We had good winter rain and a fine, dry harvest period. October was hot, followed

Rob Gibson

by average temperatures with a cool period in March… good ripening and harvest conditions and hence great flavour development.” As Gibson Wines production quantities are smaller, both father and son can have input in every stage of the vineyard cultivation and creation of the wine, which brings a uniquely personal touch to every bottle. Tasting notes of the Duke include fresh mulberry and black cherry fruit characters on the nose, supported by savoury spice and herb notes. The palate is medium bodied and soft with juicy red cherry flavours, lingering with a dry savouriness at the end. Fiegert said: “don’t overcomplicate it, just drink it and enjoy.” The Gibson Wines range is available from Fisher Fine Wines.



Self-serve taphouses take off in the USA Norrelle Goldring explores the prominence and distribution of serve-yourself draught system venues in the USA and questions why they’re yet to take off in Australia. My partner’s recent trip to one of the USA’s premier craft beer states, Colorado, resulted in a flurry of smartphone photos of a self-serve taphouse in Stanley Marketplace in Denver. Although it was his first experience of a selfserve taproom, it transpires it wasn’t the only one of its kind, either there or here, given there’s been one in Queensland prior to 2016. The Stanley Marketplace features 50 independently owned Colorado businesses including clothing stores, delicatessens, restaurants, breweries, and bars. Generally you can buy things at one outlet within the centre and take them and sit and drink at another. Even though the taphouse has its own substantial food menu, they aren’t averse to you bringing your food in from another stand. The Taphouse’s 24 self-serve taps are predominantly beer, with a couple of hard seltzers, two ciders, a non-alcoholic kombucha and a margarita tap (but no wine). Beer styles are classified under categories such as saison and sours, dark and malty, amber, IPA, nitrogen (Extra Special Bitter, blonde ale, milk stout), crisp and light. The website lists what is ‘on deck’ (upcoming). The self-serve system works by patrons exchanging their credit card at the cashier for a plastic RFID card (in some self-serve venues, this may be a wristband or QR code). Patrons select a glass type from the rack and then choose from the row of taps using the smart tablet above each tap. The tablets display information about each beer such as the brewery, the style, the beer name, the IBUs, and the ABV percentage. The price per ounce is also displayed, typically between USD $0.40 and $0.80 per ounce for craft beer although it may range up to $1.20 per ounce for high ABV beers or for cocktails. By swiping the card, wristband or QR code, a valve release pours the beer or other beverage, and a meter measures how many ounces are poured – as many as desired. The customer’s $ tally is visibly updated in real time as the pour progresses. Customers can help themselves to as many beverages as they like until they reach a predetermined limit, such as 32 ounces. At this point they then need to check back in with a staff member who will increase their allowance, on the proviso they don’t appear intoxicated. Although apparently a closed system (ie, somebody can’t just wander in off the street and use tap-and-go credit cards), what’s not clear is how the system works for a group account or card, when the initial beverage limit may be reached quickly. Or how ‘gaming’ the system by swapping cards within a group may be prevented.

Denver features several self-serve taphouses, including Avanti Group’s One on Broadway in Downtown, and Denver’s first self-service kitchen and taproom, the 37-tap First Draft which opened in 2015 and features Coloradobased makers on one third of taps. Behind The Scenes Taphouse in Littleton, in Denver’s south-western suburbs, features 50 self-serve taps including a charity tap where proceeds are directed to the featured cause. (In Australia, Karma Keg does something similar). Elsewhere in the USA, OzTapHouse in Austin, Texas features 33 taps and an app from which members can order food. Tapster operates self-serve taphouses in Chicago, NYC, Austin and Seattle. Pour Taproom has nine locations, at least four of which are in North Carolina. Its largest location in Tampa, Florida boasts 80+ taps. One of the self-serve taproom ‘hot states’ along with Colorado and California, North Carolina also features Hoppin’, which numbers 60+ wine, beer and kombucha taps and served more than 127,000 unique customers in 2018. California-based company, iPourIt, develops hardware and software self-pour technology, and as of March this year had 4,000 smart taps deployed across the USA, with 1,100 more on order. The technology configurations sell for an average of USD $1,100 to $1,600 per tap. Pour My Beer, a competitor to iPourIt, numbers 184 locations across the US and 45 internationally. Aside from beer walls, other variants include table taps. The TableTap’s PourTender app that pairs with beer cards allows members to track pour history, rate beers, provide feedback, learn about beer and events, and purchase additional credit on their cards. One of the venue benefits of self-serve


systems is reduced wastage. PourMyBeer estimates that where most kegs lose 20-23 per cent in revenue in a traditional bar due to returned or incorrect orders, excess foam, overpours, giveaways and free tastings, a selfserve tap yields 99 per cent and on average saves USD $142 per keg. Staff like that self-serve systems are easy in the sense their job becomes more about greeting, food running, waiting tables, and rolling cutlery, although they also have to clean taps as there’s often no designated cellarman and they may sometimes feel that they have reduced interaction with patrons. Customers like self-serve systems because they have options and can try different styles, pour whatever they like and try lots of different products. They appreciate the quicker service and lesser queues in peak periods than a traditional bar, although there may be quite a few people milling about in front of the taps, unsure of what to pour themselves. On balance, the benefits seem to far outweigh the negatives. Which begs the question, why there don’t seem to be many, or any, self-serve taphouses in Australia beyond Taps in Queensland? RSA issues, perhaps. Size of venue required and cost to setup perhaps, given 30+ taps means you need a venue seating 100+ people and rent may be prohibitive. Or perhaps it’s simply a function of timing. Although growing strongly, Australia’s craft beer and craft brewery penetration is smaller than that of the US and the beer culture, typically five-plus years behind it. Self-serve taprooms work in more affluent neighbourhoods in the US, and in Australia the opportunity is there if people are frequenting craft breweries for something different because pubs have a stranglehold on the taps, which are primarily contracted to the major brewers. So aside from costs and RSA, it’s reasonable to expect self-serve taprooms could work here in upscale areas such as Prahran and Glebe, or in high traffic shopping mall dining precincts.

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


Mandatory pregnancy labels on alcohol set to cost industry a lot more Andrew Wilsmore, the CEO of Alcohol Beverages Australia (ABA), discusses the cost that will likely be incurred if mandatory pregnancy labelling goes ahead.


he problem with common-sense is that it is not that common. The proposed mandatory pregnancy warning label was released by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) on Friday 4 October and it has all the hallmarks of looking for a fix to a problem that’s not really there. FSANZ gave a three-week window to respond to the proposal, and unless you have been part of the process, or watching it closely, it’s largely been under the radar. Mandatory pregnancy labelling is not opposed by industry – DrinkWise has a voluntary labelling scheme which ensures most alcohol products in shoppers’ baskets already bear the voluntary labelling pictogram. From the very start of the process, industry advocated for this current labelling initiative to become mandatory. The high uptake of the current pregnancy warning label by manufacturers is testament to the commitment industry has to reducing harm associated with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). The reasons for this plea to adopt the voluntary labelling scheme was two-fold: 1. To minimise excessive costs to industry (and thus potentially to consumers). 2. Because awareness of the potential harm of alcohol for pregnant women is already at very high levels in the community. According to data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 98.8 per cent of women either abstain or reduce their alcohol consumption when pregnant (up from 96.6 per cent in 2004), indicating high levels of awareness of alcohol harm to the unborn child.

Current and proposed labelling The pictures featured show the differences in the approach – the most significant changes are to the copy, with ‘HEALTH WARNING’ in red, plus the quote ‘Any amount of alcohol can harm your baby’. These changes are likely to cause alcohol manufacturers and importers to incur substantial costs to comply with the label changes – even for large manufacturers with the addition of an extra colour, as well as for smaller distillers, brewers and winemakers. These costs have been estimated by

The old voluntary DrinkWise labels

It’s safest not to drink while pregnant. The proposed new mandatory pregnancy warning labels

“Despite the close off date of written submission, we urge you to make representations to Federal and State Government Ministers to ensure a common-sense approach to the mandatory labelling is adopted.” – Andrew Wilsmore, CEO, ABA PricewaterhouseCoopers to be from $10k up to $16.5k per Stock Keeping Unit (SKU)*, which is substantially more than what the Food Secretariat estimated it to be. At approximately 60,000 SKUs in Australia, that equates to $600 million – costs (based on the lower figure) that are likely to be passed on to the consumer as they are too much for the industry to absorb alone.

Labelling alone does not change consumer behaviour Research shows that labelling alone does not change consumer behaviour. This was acknowledged by FSANZ (ANZFA as it was known then) in 2001 in Rejection of Application A359 – Requiring Labelling of Alcoholic Beverages with a Warning Statement. That rejection is as follows: • Scientific evidence for the effectiveness of warning statements on alcoholic beverages shows that while warning labels may increase awareness, the increased awareness does not necessarily lead to the desired behavioural changes in at risk groups. In fact, there is considerable scientific evidence that warning statements may result in an increase in the undesirable behaviour in ‘at risk’ groups.


The industry would much rather see the development of targeted education programmes to those people ‘at risk’ of drinking alcohol while pregnant. Think what could be achieved with even half of $600 million. Finally, the cost/benefit analysis done by FSANZ in justification of this label change fails to account for the efficacy of labelling in curbing choice/behaviour. It assumes labelling is a cure for FASD which is in direct contradiction to their previous stance on this issue.

Call to action All is not lost. Despite the close off date of written submission, we urge you to make representations to Federal and State Government Ministers to ensure a common-sense approach to the mandatory labelling is adopted. The relevant ministers to contact can be found on the Australian and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation website. If you need help with your representations, contact your relevant industry associations. *A PricewaterhouseCoopers report for FSANZ in 2008 identified an approximate average cost of $9k-10k for a medium or major label change on glass bottles or aluminium. Recent consultation with ABA members puts the introduction of the type of pregnancy warning label currently being contemplated by FSANZ at $16.8k per SKU.


Addressing workplace bullying Julie Ryan, the CEO of Retail Drinks Australia, asks “Does your business have proper systems in place to deal with workplace bullying?”


ndoubtedly, the working environment of a liquor store can be highly stressful for everyone involved. While poor behaviour and aggression from customers in liquor stores is a significant problem (one which I covered in my September National Liquor News column), another serious issue for liquor store owners is workplace bullying among their employees. Workplace bullying is frighteningly common among all Australian employees with Beyond Blue reporting that almost one in two Australians had experienced workplace bullying at some point during their lives. It is entirely possible that the actual number of Australians experiencing workplace bullying is even higher when taking into account incidents that are not reported. There is an enormous personal and economic cost associated with workplace bullying with estimates from the Productivity Commission finding that workplace bullying costs the Australian economy between $6 billion and $36 billion every year. Given its alarming frequency, it is crucial for

all store owners to put in place proper systems to respond to any incidents of workplace bullying that may occur. Firstly, make sure that your business has a clearly defined, written policy in place regarding workplace bullying, communicating to all employees that any workplace bullying will not be tolerated. This policy should be clear as to exactly what kind of behaviour constitutes bullying so that all employees are aware of what is and isn’t acceptable. Workplace bullying can encompass a wide range of both physical and mental behaviours, with Safe Work Australia finding that the most prevalent forms of workplace bullying suffered are being sworn or yelled at and being humiliated in front of others. Whenever any incidents of workplace bullying do arise, you should ensure that you respond to them as soon as practically possible. Failure to respond to repeated instances of workplace bullying in a timely manner may ultimately be deemed a breach of an employer’s responsibilities as part of their Work Health and Safety (WH&S) obligations. While a business’ response to bullying is

critical, what may often be overlooked is that there are a number of strategies you can employ to help prevent bullying from arising in the first place. As is the case with most HR-related matters, clear and consistent communication with your staff members is key, in addition to having written policies such as a Code of Conduct in place. At all available opportunities, you should seek to promote a positive and respectful workplace culture within your business, one in which all employees feel comfortable to report any forms of bullying without fear of negative consequences. Regardless of your business’ size, all owners should ensure that they are properly equipped with comprehensive procedures to both prevent and respond to workplace bullying in all its forms. Retail Drinks is pleased to be able to offer its Members personalised assistance with a wide range of HR issues, including developing strategies on how to respond to bullying in the workplace. Any members wishing to use this service, should call our dedicated HR Hotline on 1300 451 213 today.



International competition growing in Australia’s domestic market Peter Bailey, Manager Market Insights Wine Australia, discusses the growth of wine imports to Australia.


ustralian consumers are reasonably patriotic in their wine choices, with 82 per cent* of wine consumed in Australia coming from Australian wine brands. However, wine imports from international competitors are on the rise. The volume of imported wine entering Australia hit 100 million litres for the first time in 2018–19. There has been steady growth in wine imported by Australia over the past 20 years, growing by a compound annual rate of seven per cent over the period as illustrated in Figure One. However, this doesn’t mean that Australian wine brands are losing out, as the volume of Australian wine exported grew by the same rate over the same period. And in 2018–19, Australia exported eight times as much wine as it imported. In 2018–19, Australia imported wine from 53 countries, with the top five accounting for 95 per cent of the volume (see Figure Two). Given the popularity of Sauvignon Blanc among Australian wine consumers, it is no surprise that in 2018–19, 56 per cent of wine imported to Australia was from New Zealand. Over the past 20 years, the volume of New Zealand imports to Australia grew from 2.7 million litres to 56.5 million litres. However, the volume of New Zealand imports has fallen after peaking at 58.9 litres in 2016–17. This is consistent with research that indicates that while it remains the biggest selling category, the popularity of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc among Australian consumers may have peaked. IRI Liquor MarketEdge shows that in 2017–18 and 2018–19, sales of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc in the Australian off-trade market declined by three per cent in each year. Furthermore, Wine Intelligence research shows that the percentage of Australian wine consumers drinking Sauvignon Blanc fell from 65 per cent in 2011 to 56 per cent in 2019. In 2018–19, the volume of wine imported to Australia increased by four per cent. Driving this growth were imports from France and Italy. Exports from France grew by 10 per cent to a record 20 million litres. Red wine was the main driver in the growth in French imports, with volume up 16 per cent to 7.5 million litres. French sparkling wine imports also grew, up four per cent to 8.8 million litres. Research from Wine Intelligence shows that while 76 per cent of regular Australian wine drinkers were aware of French wine in 2019, only 24 per cent had purchased French wines in the previous three months. Bordeaux is the best-known French region (56 per cent awareness) just ahead of Champagne (55 per cent) but Champagne has a higher purchase rate (seven per cent versus five per cent). Exports from Italy grew by 11 per cent to 13.6 million litres driven by growth in sparkling wine (up 17 per cent) and red wine (up nine per cent). The growth in Italian sparkling is fueled by the increasing popularity of Prosecco in Australia. According to IRI Liquor MarketEdge, the sales volume of Prosecco in the Australian off-trade market increased


Volume of wine imported to Australia (million litres) Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

Volume of wine imported to Australia by country, 2018–19 Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

by 39 per cent in 2018–19 with Italian Prosecco increasing by 16 per cent. Italian Prosecco accounted for a 29 per cent market share, behind Prosecco from Australia’s King Valley with a 41 per cent share. According to Wine Intelligence, the awareness and purchase conversion of Italian wines is similar to that of France, with 72 per cent of regular Australian wine drinkers being aware of Italian wine and 21 per cent purchasing in the previous three months. No Italian regions were among the top 15 regions for awareness among Australian wine drinkers. Of the other countries in the top five, imports from Spain declined by three per cent to 3.2 million litres and from Portugal increased by 26 per cent to 1.2 million litres. *International Wine and Spirit Record (IWSR), 2018


Indie Beer Day and beyond The nation stopped for a ‘Cheers’ on 26 October, as independent breweries and retailers took a moment to celebrate our great indie beer community, as Jamie Cook, President of the Independent Brewers Association shares.


he Independent Brewers Association (IBA) is moving into a new phase of its growth and the inaugural Indie Beer Day on 26 October was only the beginning. The concept for the day was simple: bring together the breweries, venues, and drinkers that support indie beer for a nationwide toast at 2pm (AEDT). It was an amazing demonstration of true community. Hundreds of breweries and venues were joined by thousands of beer drinkers, coming together with purpose and to soak in the collective celebration. That sense of genuine connection is what makes independent beer so special and why I’m so excited for what’s to come. Indie Beer Day was about building awareness of indie beer, as we in the industry stopped to celebrate our growing role in the wider hospitality landscape, while sharing it with Australian drinkers. It was also a rallying cry to all independent breweries and independent beer retailers to get behind a real shared objective: building a community around Australian independent beer. At its core, the campaign was simple: gather to toast independent beer. What we learned in the process is that venues around Australia are keen to show their support and put Australian independent brewers front and centre.

Seeing the social media roll in from all corners of Australia over the day was a beautiful real time validation of the hard work that all small and independent brewers put in every day. The day was also featured in major newspapers, TV news, and even had a crew from the BBC attend a Melbourne event to film a segment. It’s great to see the noise we are making is being heard and amplified. Awareness of Indie Beer has built from a low base in 2017 when the decision was made to rename our association from the Craft Beer Industry Association (CBIA) to the Independent Brewers Association (IBA). In 2018, we rolled out a Certified Independent seal for our members to display on packaging and advertising. The Seal differentiates our members as being Australian-owned and independent and helps us carve out a niche on taps and bottle shop shelves that the customer can identify with and embrace. Now more than 70 per cent of the volume produced by small independent brewers carries the seal. Curious consumers are seeing it more often, and with Indie Beer Day we are hammering home to drinkers what that means. Indie Beer Day was also a way for us to announce the second phase of the Seal: the launch of the Independent Supporter Seal for supporting venues. The objective of this phase

is to step up our efforts in raising awareness and engagement with the industry (brewers and the trade) while driving member and trade supporter recruitment. It is also resulting in the Seal being displayed in new places for consumers to engage with. Even before this campaign kicked off, we knew awareness around independent beer was growing. As the recent Beer Cartel Survey highlighted, awareness is up to 41 per cent, up eight per cent from 32 per cent last year (among craft beer drinkers). However, we know through research conducted earlier this year that familiarity (what it means and why it matters) is low and we know we need to work on building that. The volume growth numbers that independent brewers are achieving (+25 per cent year on year) underlines that there are a growing number of conscious beer drinkers out there drinking indie beer in greater volumes and they are willing to pay a premium price for it. The next phase of our program, which will kick in later in the year, will be about building on the familiarity and understanding of indie beer. We are building a brand at a rational and emotional level while creating clarity and greater meaning for the IBA. That takes time, and a consistent and continuous effort. This is just the start.



Lease documents explained Marianna Idas, the Principle Solicitor of eLease Lawyers, answers the 10 most commonly asked questions on lease documents.

1. Do I need a lawyer? While there is no requirement that you need to engage a lawyer to assist you with reviewing your lease, it is common practice as they can help advise you. The main things they will assist you with are: a. Inform you of your rights and obligations; b. Negotiate terms for you to ensure hidden costs in the leases are removed; c. Ensure you comply with the relevant retail lease legislation so that you are not penalised; and d. Obtain the best terms possible for your lease.

2. If I sign an offer to lease but then decide not to enter into the lease, am I bound? If the offer states the following essential terms of a lease and does not state it is conditional upon signing the lease, then it is quite likely that you are bound even though no formal lease has been executed. a. The premises; b. The start date and term; c. The parties (ie the tenant and landlord). Many offers to lease state “this offer to lease is conditional upon a formal lease being executed”, which means that the offer is nonbinding until the formal lease is signed.

3. If I exercise my right of renewal a few days late, has my right of renewal been lost? The lease will stipulate how a lease is to be renewed. Generally, it will state the following: a. The first date the option can be exercised; b. The last date the option can be exercised; c. The way you must give notice to the

landlord to exercise your option. This will state what type of service is authorised eg “you must mail the notice to the registered address of the landlord”. Do not presume you can give notice via email if the lease does not allow it; and d. If you can still exercise your option even if you have been in default under the lease. Be careful as some leases do not allow the option to be exercised even if you have done one minor breach under the lease. Disadvantageous terms such as this should be negotiated out of your lease prior to execution.

8. Can I assign (transfer) my lease to someone else?

5. Can I be liable for capital repairs within the premises?

The lease will outline what assignment preconditions apply. Each state in Australia also has the provisions outlining how you can assign the lease. For example, in NSW a landlord may withhold consent to the assignment if: a. the assignee proposes to change the use to which the shop is put; b. the assignee has financial resources or retailing skills that are inferior to you; c. you have not complied with the procedure for obtaining consent to assignment eg providing a disclosure statement to the proposed assignee and providing the landlord with such information as the landlord may reasonably require concerning the financial resources and retailing skills of the proposed assignee; and d. in the case of a lease awarded by public tender, the assignee fails to meet any criteria of the tender.

No, you are not required to pay for capital items other than where you damaged the items or the premises.

9. Can a landlord refuse to consent to a sublease?

6. Is the landlord liable for capital repairs within the premises?

Unless the lease document provides otherwise, the landlord can refuse to consent to a sublease and can do so unreasonably.

Unless the lease stipulates otherwise, the landlord is not liable for such repairs. The landlord is however required to ensure the premises is structurally safe and suitable for occupation.

10. Can the landlord charge you for its legal costs for drafting the lease?

4. When should I receive a draft lease? As soon as the agent or landlord enters into negotiations with you. Generally, this should be supplied together with a Disclosure Statement.

7. Can the landlord call upon a bank guarantee without notifying me? Unless otherwise stated in the lease, the landlord can obtain the funds in your bank guarantee without first notifying you if they are entitled to the monies.


No. It is possible however, for them to charge for any legal costs associated with changes made to the lease. It is always advisable to seek legal advice from a lawyer specialising in leases prior to entering into a lease as this will help save you money in the long run and allow for a lease to be agreed on terms favourable to you.


A targeted approach Stephen Wilson, the Category and Insights Manager at StrikeForce, explains how store clustering can increase the chance of meeting and exceeding localised shopper expectations.


tore clustering is defined as ‘a grouping of stores based on performance, demographics, shopper type or physical attribute’.

Why cluster store groups? Effective store clustering, whether grouped by sales performance, affluence, physical store attribute or other factors, provide retailers and suppliers with the opportunity to match range with one or more of the clustering elements, exposing brands to the best chance of generating a sale. By clustering stores, a logical and solid foundation is set from which ranging decisions can then be based. Store clustering offers a more targeted approach. The optimal product assortment tailored to meet local shopper demands delivers a powerful and compelling reason for shoppers to walk through the door rather than shop at a competitor. Concentrating efforts on a particular store cluster maximises effort, reduces spend, ensures stock levels are monitored and adjusted to reduce the likelihood of out of stocks and lost sales as well as ensuring promotional displays and on-shelf presence are maintained.

Who uses store clusters? Store clustering is not limited to any one channel or retailer. There is no limit to the number of store clusters that can be applied so the number of clusters adopted can become very granular. In recent years we have seen two major Australian supermarkets identify growth opportunities focusing on clustering by demography and affluence with the roll out of smaller store formats.

Woolworths Metro and Coles Local stores are more prominent in metropolitan areas moving away from a ‘one size fits all’ strategy to a smaller, tighter range tailored to meet local shopper needs. They are offering a range that is unique to those store clusters including fresh seafood, organic meat and unpackaged vegetables. Super premium and premium brands are on offer reflecting the willingness of shoppers to trade up while seeking a convenient solution for their next meal. As recently as July 2019, Metcash announced the launch of a new set of retail brands to more effectively deliver ‘the right offer and the right format’.

“Independent liquor stores can punch well above their weight by focusing on specialist or niche products to complement their mainstream range.” – Stephen Wilson, Strikeforce These seven retail brands are effectively store clusters that will offer a tailored range to meet shopper needs in response to the strategy adopted by the major supermarkets. Off-premise liquor has for years had physical environmental factors that effectively cluster stores – stand alone, drive through and attached bottle shops. These clusters are refined further when you take into consideration location, demographics and affluence.

Occasion is a driver of off-premise sales with big box retailers catering to shoppers who want depth and breadth of range, bottle shops attached or next to major supermarkets catering to shoppers who buy their liquor when they do their grocery shopping and specialty retailers who are ‘famous’ for their tight targeted range. By taking overriding consumer trends into consideration, the depth and breadth of range can be easier to determine along with which planogram should be applied to the individual store clusters. This is where smaller clusters of independent liquor stores can punch well above their weight by focusing on specialist or niche products to complement their mainstream range. By constantly talking to their customers and applying the basic principles of good category management they can review and amend their range in a more agile manner than larger competitors.

Conclusion As the retail environment becomes more competitive, store differentiation has become more important. The sophistication of store clustering will continue to evolve based on overriding consumer trends and shopper mission. Data driven planograms and understanding shopper preference will greatly enhance the store clustering process and increase the chance of meeting and exceeding localised shopper expectations through range optimisation. In-store execution in the first instance and maintenance of range and promotional activity by store cluster are mandatory to maximise the sales opportunity.



Cheers to

200 YEARS This year is the 200th anniversary of when the first vines were planted in New Zealand. Brydie Allen takes a look at what’s happening in NZ Wine now.




e’re pretty lucky to have New Zealand right across the ditch. Our neighbours are known for their consistent delivery of high-quality Sauvignon Blanc and exceptional Pinot Noir, while maintaining a commitment to sustainability and innovation. As the closest country to the source, these products are more accessible to us than anywhere else in the world. In 1819, the first vines were planted on New Zealand soils by Reverend Samuel Marsden at Kerikeri on the North Island. At the time, Reverend Marsden predicted the success of New Zealand wine, writing in his journal: “New Zealand promises to be very favourable to the vine as far as I can judge at present of the nature of the soil and climate.” Now, 200 years later, it’s clear he was right, as 2019 also sees the 24th consecutive year of global export growth for the New Zealand wine industry as a whole. CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers, Philip Gregan, said it’s been a great time to reflect. “From the humble beginnings of a vine planted in Northland, the New Zealand wine industry has grown to become a $1.83 billion export earner, and has earned an international reputation for premium, diverse and sustainable wines,” he said.

Villa Maria Marlborough Winery.



Yealands Estate

“The New Zealand wine industry is dedicated to ensuring that we celebrate another 200 years, through a commitment to sustainability and innovation that will protect the places that make our famous wines.” – Philip Gregan, New Zealand Winegrowers CEO New Zealand in numbers 200 years: since the first vines were planted. Over 98 per cent: the percentage of vineyards that are now Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand certified. 413,000 tonnes: the weight of grapes harvested for the 2019 vintage. Over 50 varieties: the number of grape types that New Zealand Wine knows of. $1.83 billion: the worldwide export value of the industry. 24 years: the consecutive years to 2019 where worldwide export growth was recorded. 38,680 hectares: the total producing vineyard area as of 2019. $635 million: the value of the New Zealand wine segment in the Australian retail market.

“As we raised a toast to the past, we also took a look ahead to the future. The New Zealand wine industry is dedicated to ensuring that we celebrate another 200 years, through a commitment to sustainability and innovation that will protect the places that make our famous wines.” This reflection has been happening all over the industry. David Roper, Winemaker at Villa Maria Winery in Auckland said the region has come so far. It has a unique history and standing in the global wine community. “We are one of the few countries in the world that has a written record of the first planting. Although grape growing did not really gain any momentum until about 40 years ago, nowadays wine is a very significant export for New Zealand,” he said. As for the present, 2019 vintages by most accounts have been great, thanks to favourable weather conditions. But according to IRI, growth in the New Zealand wine category in the Australian market has been fairly flat in recent years. “The New Zealand wine segment is an underperforming part of what is currently a slowing category in Australian retail liquor,” said IRI Insights Director, Daniel Bone. According to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data, Australia’s consumption of wine is continuing to slowly decline. As we drink less wine, the potential for wine regions and brands to grow understandably becomes harder. Bone confirms this is the case, and said: “the growth trajectory of New Zealand origin wine mirrors the overall category.”


That certainly doesn’t mean the end is nigh. Zooming out and considering the wider picture, the data shows that New Zealand wine has the most significant foothold in the Australian market out of all international wine segments. “Nevertheless, the $635 million in sales generated by New Zealand wines accounts for 13.6 per cent of the category value – second only to Australian wine which account for 76.7 per cent dollar share,” Bone said.

Star achievers Although the Sauvignon Blanc category has dropped slightly in dollar value over the past five years (1.2 per cent according to IRI), it’s a huge winner for New Zealand as a region, and one that they’re best known for. However, with more than 50 different grape varieties grown in the country, the range of wines available from New Zealand shores is actually quite diverse. “While we are celebrated for our Sauvignon Blanc, (and rightly so given the distinct expression that results only from New Zealand’s soil, climate and people) our Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah are also heralded in the global markets,” said Gregan. The brands themselves agree that different categories are becoming more popular as people explore the possibilities New Zealand has to offer. Delegat Group’s Managing Director, John Freeman, said the New Zealand region, including Delegat brand Oyster Bay, is poised to deliver for the popular and emerging categories. “We see Pinot Gris emerging as a consistent growth trend for New Zealand wine globally, as the varietal is very well suited to the unique strengths of New Zealand’s cool climate viticulture, and fits with the elegant, crisp and refreshing wine styles consumers are increasingly seeking,” Freeman said. “Like many wine-producing countries, New Zealand has seen a significant increase in rosé exports.” Gregan said that the recent success of rosé has led it to become the region’s fourth largest exported style.

Discover New Zealand’s Most Awarded Winery


Oyster Bay’s Marlborough Winery

NEW ZEALAND WINE REPORT “More and more wineries are planting grapes intentionally to make great quality rosé, which will add to our reputation for producing a premium product,” he said. This continued growth and popularity of rosé and pink drinks around the world is felt by many producers and suppliers, including Treasury Wine Estates (TWE). Marketing Director for ANZ at TWE, Ben Culligan said there has been incredible growth. “Rosé as a category is growing by 25 per cent with sales not affected by seasonal changes,” he said. “Quirky Kiwi label Squealing Pig is proud to be a major part of the pink trend in wine as producers of the number one rosé sold in Australia, Squealing Pig Rosé. Growing by 79 per cent and made from aromatic Pinot Noir, it is the most popular rosé across all price points.” Bone described the Squealing Pig brand as one of the “bright spots” of the highest performing New Zealand SKUs in the Australian market. “[Squealing Pig] is the largest growth generating brand across the wine fixture and accounts for canned wine being the leading growth driving pack format for New Zealand wines,” Bone said. The popularity is further bolstered by the fact that Squealing Pig was nominated as a finalist in four Australian Liquor Industry Awards (ALIA) categories, going on to win all four categories. This included awards for being the best rosé and the best canned wine. Organic wine styles also perform increasingly well, as consumers start to think more about the impact that their spending can have on the environment. New Zealand as a whole is committed to sustainable and environmentally friendly viticulture, so there are many organic vineyards to contribute to this growth. One winery to take this trend head on is Villa Maria, where Roper said they have recently released an organic Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir into Australia as part of their organic program that already included a Merlot. “We will continue to see our organic wine program grow in Australia as we move towards 100 per cent of our owned vineyards managed organically,” Roper said.

“We see Pinot Gris emerging as a consistent growth trend for New Zealand wine globally.” – John Freeman, Delegat Group

Climate concerns The effects of climate change are being felt throughout the world’s industries, and New Zealand’s winegrowers are no exception. Climate change research is a focus area for the whole New Zealand wine industry, which is why they’ve got a voluntary environmental scheme called Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ), the largest of its kind worldwide. Culligan said the TWE New Zealand Team has a strong focus on sustainability. “All wines produced at TWE’s Marlborough winery are produced under the strict guidelines of SWNZ, where we have a focus on reducing water and power usage,” he said. Closely monitoring the effects of climate change and understanding how best to combat them is


Villa Maria Marlborough Seddon Vineyard


The innovation nation There’s lots going on in the New Zealand wine industry right now, as winemakers and brands innovate their styles, products and offerings. Innovation is one of the greatest reasons that Philip Gregan from NZ Winegrowers says: “New Zealand wine is a story worth telling.” ‘Chill check’: Matua has developed thermographic labels that change colour when chilled to their optimal drinking temperature. Lighter options: another Matua innovation, they have explored the lower alcohol options to provide Sauvignon Blanc with at least 25 per cent less alcohol and calories. Global collaboration: Squealing Pig is now globetrotting to Europe, launching a collection of globally sourced wines from multiple countries of origin. Refreshing inside and out: Villa Maria is moving to 100 per cent organic vineyards, starting its organic program already with three styles. Meanwhile, its Private Bin label has been refreshed to stand out more on the shelf with premium design cues. Fermentation techniques: more often, winemakers are moving back to the use of concrete, clay, ceramic and large format oak vessels of centuries past for fermentation and maturation. Villa Maria for example, ferments its Single Vineyard Albariño in a concrete egg. Widespread sustainability: with the largest voluntary sustainability program in the world, New Zealand Winegrowers shows an innovative commitment to sustainable practice. The industry is internationally recognised for this effort.

key right now in the New Zealand wine industry. It’s why the government funded Bragato Research Institute, owned by New Zealand Winegrowers, last year commenced a climate change adaptation research program. The first step in being able to manage climate change-based threats is understanding what they are. “We have seen some effects of climate change with earlier harvests, which result in vintage compression and additional labour constraints,” said Gregan. For Villa Maria, this revolves around changes in nature. Roper said: “we are seeing more volatility in the weather and hence more than ever the attention to detail in the vineyard in terms of canopy and yield management have become even more important. “Good disease control is also essential, and we have been implementing mechanical shaking of the vines, around pea size, which has proven to be a great way to reduce the risk of botrytis in our vineyards without impacting yield dramatically.” Freeman said at Delegat they have also noticed some increasing temperatures and weather volatility, but it remains to be seen how deep the impact of climate change will go for the industry. He said that in the meantime, they need to protect the future of wineries and vineyards. “We employ scientifically-led viticulture practices to ensure that we can achieve consistent yields, ripen grapes reliably across variations in growing seasons, and maintain long-term vine health.”

“Rosé as a category is growing by 25 per cent with sales not affected by seasonal changes.” – Ben Culligan, Treasury Wine Estates



. . . s I s a m t s i r h C or F t n a All I W As we approach the busy Christmas trading period it’s important to be across what promotions suppliers will be marketing this season and what products consumers will be drinking. Here’s our pick for this year.

Templeton Rye

Patrón Añejo Patrón Añejo is a delicate blend of uniquely aged tequilas, all aged in small white oak barrels for a minimum of 12 months. Similar to wine making, each vintage of Patrón Añejo is carefully blended to produce smooth and distinctive tasting tequila. RRP: $124.99 Distributed by: SouthTrade

Templeton Rye, America’s number two Rye whiskey is now exclusively available to independents. Recently released in Australia, the response to the US favourite has been incredible, with exceptional demand. It taps into a wave of popularity that Australia’s New Age Whiskey category is enjoying, with double-digit growth of 27 per cent recorded last year. Research shows whiskey is no longer a male-only drink but one to be marketed towards both male and female consumers. Templeton Rye’s versatility is key, available as a four year, six year and barrel strength option, it can be consumed straight, on the rocks or in a delicious cocktail. Templeton RRP: Templeton 4YO: 700ml $64.99 1lt $89.99 Templeton 6YO: 700ml $74.99 Templeton Barrel: 700ml $99.99 Distributed by: Kollaras & Co

Baileys Strawberries & Cream Following its successful launch last year, the wildly popular Baileys Strawberries & Cream returned to Australian shelves mid-October, just in time for summer and Christmas entertaining. Perfectly blending delicious strawberry flavour with light and creamy vanilla, together with the luxurious taste of the world’s leading cream liqueur Baileys Original Irish Cream, Baileys Strawberries & Cream is a truly indulgent way to enjoy a classic flavour combination. Baileys Strawberries & Cream will be available for a limited time only in all major bottle shops across Australia and is sure to be a popular Christmas season purchase. RRP: $34.99 Distributed by: Diageo


Ailsa Bay Ailsa Bay aims to transform whisky through experimentation, technology, precision distilling and data driven methods. Its whisky is unique as it undergoes a micro-maturation process in small Hudson whisky casks. Ailsa Bay’s use of blockchain captures the full distilling and manufacturing process, allowing customers to track their whisky from source to store; ensuring authenticity and traceability. Consumers can trace the origins of their whisky via an innovative web experience, which is individually tailored to each bottle. By scanning a QR code, users are presented with a visual history of their whisky, produced using digitally created art generated by blockchain data unique to the drink’s journey. RRP: $95 Distributed by: William Grant & Sons


Mi Scusi Prosecco Introducing Mi Scusi – the Victorian Prosecco of the Year – as voted by judges at the prestigious Melbourne International Wine Competition 2019. The win highlights the exceptional quality of Australian Prosecco. Indeed, Aussie Prosecco is enjoying a real boom, with sales of the sparkling more than doubled in the last two years. Mi Scusi is proudly an independent only offering and is a standout on the shelf with its Gatsby-inspired packaging and medal bling. It’s the season for celebrating and Mi Scusi is the perfect party starter, just add antipasto and dips to start the Christmas feast. RRP: $17.99 Distributed by: Kollaras & Co

Moët Impérial 150th Anniversary Holiday Bottle Filled with the House’s signature Champagne, defined by a bright fruitiness, a seductive palate and an elegant maturity, all distinctive characteristics of Moët & Chandon’s blends. Its assemblage is designed to mirror the richness and diversity of the Champagne region’s vineyards, structured with a slight dominance of Pinot Noir, textured by Meunier and enhanced by the freshness of Chardonnay. RRP: $70 Distributed by: LVMH

Dasher + Fisher Strawberry Gin Dasher + Fisher Strawberry Gin has risen from the depths of despair. North west Tasmania’s fruit fly problem caused havoc last year, and stopped Tasmanian fruit from being sold. Telstra Tasmanian Business of the Year 2019, Southern Wild Distillery, saw an opportunity to salvage the strawberries, and in consultation with a local grower, created Dasher + Fisher Strawberry Gin. Awarded best Australian Gin at the London World Liqueur Awards, it is the taste and smell of summer. RRP: $90 Distributed by: Southern Wild Distillery

Hendrick’s Midsummer Solstice Hendrick’s Midsummer Solstice is the first gin released from Master Distiller, Lesley Gracie’s Cabinet of Curiosities. The limited edition gin is a delightfully floral incarnation of the original Hendrick’s Gin recipe inspired by nature’s most effervescent blooms. It has a refreshing twist and floral bouquet that is perfect for light drinking as Australia prepares for the warmer months and longer evenings ahead. RRP: $89.99 Distributed by: William Grant & Sons

Christmas Cheer Brian Chase Olson gets tips from retailers and producers on upping the gifting game as we move into the holiday season: –V isibility: “Glenfiddich 12 specifically will be in market with a prepacked bow to increase stand out on shelf and make it incredibly easy for consumers to gift in the Christmas rush. The visibility also helps retailers looking to make ease of shopping a reality in their store,” Kristie Asciak, William Grant & Sons. -L iquid on lips: “It’s certainly nothing different or new, in fact I’d say it’s the oldest trick in the book: get it into people’s mouths. Whether that’s at educational tastings, masterclasses or small tasters at the front counter, sometimes we can forget that the most important part about whisky is drinking it,” Scott Fitzsimons, The Oak Barrel. –G WPs can be a competitive tool for helping a consumer choose between one brand and another: “Bonus glassware is a classic option that always looks attractive and while to The Oak Barrel consumer it may not be the deciding factor in a purchase, it certainly doesn’t hinder one,” Scott Fitzimons, The Oak Barrel.



Mr Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur Roasted and perfected by Australian coffee experts on a mission to bring craft coffee into the night – Mr Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur has become the choice for the world’s best bartenders and baristas alike. Mr Black is made from real coffee, using 100 per cent specialty grade Arabica coffee beans, and it has half the sugar of old-world liqueurs. Smooth, rich, and coffee forward, Mr Black has won gold at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in London, and the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Those who know, know it’s the world’s best coffee liqueur. RRP: $54.95 Distributed by: SouthTrade

Gingle Bells Gin Gingle Bells Gin comes in a gift set of six botanical infused gin baubles laced with a silver ribbon. Each bauble is handmade by family-owned and operated, Wild Hibiscus Flower Co., who specially craft the gin themselves in their recently constructed distillery. The gin is infused with six different natural botanicals for a distinctive flavour and colour. Flavours include Finger Lime, B’Lure Butterfly Pea Flower, Wattleseed, Snow Chrysanthemum, Wild Hibiscus and Pepperberry. For a decorative touch, each bauble’s botanical flavour can be visibly seen in its centre with an ethereal floral element encased inside. Included in the gift set is a cocktail recipe to accompany each bauble’s unique gin. The gift set includes two 54ml baubles at 37 per cent ABV and four 50ml baubles at 40 per cent ABV. RRP: $79 Distributed by: Wild Hibiscus Flower Co.

Cape Grim 666 Original Vodka

Ron Barceló The Ron Barceló story started when a young Spaniard, Julian Barceló, arrived in Santo, Domingo in 1929 determined to produce the world’s finest rum. Fast track 90 years and Ron Barceló is exported to more than 50 countries across the globe, making the company the fourth largest exporter of rum globally. This iconic brand is perfectly suited to independents, offering a margin enhancing brand at accessible consumer pricing. The extensive range includes value through to ultra-premium and can be bundled with a scotch as a gift idea for the Christmas season and promoted as the perfect addition to any cocktail. Ron Barceló RRP: Blanco: 700ml $37.99 1lt $52.99 Dorado: 700ml $37.99 1lt $52.99 Gran Anejo: 700ml $42.99 Imperial Onyx: 700ml $69.99 Imperial Premium Blend: 700ml $139.99 Distributed by: Kollaras & Co


Cape Grim 666 Pure Tasmanian Vodka is a spirit that is equal parts pure and decadent. Made in north western Tasmania from Tasmanian barley, fermented in Tasmania, pot distilled in Tasmania, filtered in Tasmania and bottled in Tasmania with Cape Grim water, there is no purer vodka on the market. Cape Grim 666 is the bottled essence of Tasmania which has been hand crafted from its inception, ensuring that the beautiful natural environment is captured in every bottle. RRP: $62.00 Distributed by: SouthTrade

Majestic 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Ferngrove’s Orchid series represent exceptional regional expression, with single vineyard varietals grown and handcrafted in one of the most isolated and pristine wine regions in the world. Ferngrove’s most awarded wine, The Majestic Cabernet Sauvignon, is rich and concentrated and highlights the wonderful characters of Cabernet Sauvignon grown in Frankland River. RRP: $39.99 Distributed by: Ferngrove Wine Group


The Botanist This Christmas, The Botanist encourages gin lovers to personalise their drinks through the ‘grow your own garnish’ gift pack. From the progressive Herbidean whisky distillery – Bruichladdich, comes The Botanist – a gin of layered complexity, an exploration of the botanical heritage of the Isle of Islay. Bruichladdich is driven by people who challenge boundaries and love to explore. These people explored the boundaries beyond whisky to create The Botanist, the first and only Islay Dry Gin. RRP: $90 Distributed by: Spirits Platform

The Kraken Black Spiced Rum Famous for its distinctive collectable vessel and named for the sea beast of myth and legend, The Kraken Black Spiced Rum is said to have been perfected by time and The Kraken’s ink on the ocean floor, and is the perfect gift for those who love the darkness, and believe in the notorious beast. Imported from the Caribbean and carefully blended with a range of spices, The Kraken Black Spiced Rum is bold, rich, black, and smooth. A liquid and treasure born to the brave, these bottles of The Kraken Rum will make unbelievable gifts for those who worship the darkness, believe in the Beast, or simply enjoy aesthetically pleasing objects. RRP: $89.99 Distributed by: Proximo

Mo-Town Chardonnay Following in the footsteps of a very popular Shiraz and Pinot Noir, comes the hip Mo-Town Chardonnay. Brand new to the Australian market, this delicious drop from the funky MoTown family is set to be a multi-award winner just like its counterparts. Produced in the globally renowned South Australian wine region, Mo-Town Chardonnay delivers an initial aroma of ripe peach and a sensual hint of oak, followed by fresh acidity. It is the ultimate Christmas drop, perfectly paired with smoked salmon for Christmas brunch. The Mo-Town trio caters for every palate and makes the perfect gift. Available exclusively to independents. RRP: $15.99 Distributed by: Kollaras & Co


Johnnie Walker ‘A Song of Ice’ and ‘A Song of Fire’ In partnership with HBO, Johnnie Walker has created two new limited edition Game of Thrones-inspired blended Scotch whiskies – influenced by elements of the show; ice and fire – to celebrate the end of the final season. The perfect gift or collector’s item, these limited edition whiskies will appeal to GOT fans and whisky drinkers. Johnnie Walker A Song of Ice (40.2 per cent ABV) is inspired by the direwolf of the North. Malts from Clynelish, one of Scotland’s most northern distilleries, give the blend a crisp, clean taste. Johnnie Walker A Song of Fire (40.8 per cent ABV) is inspired by the iconic dragons. Peated malt from Caol Ila lends subtle smoke, tempered by a rich, rounded sweetness. RRP: $69.99 per 700ml bottle Distributed by: Diageo

Independence 2019 Riesling Ferngrove’s Independence range comprises intriguing flavours and a rich, smooth finish. Ferngrove’s Independence Riesling proudly shows the best of the pristine and cool climate Great Southern region, with a luscious citrus palate, well balanced by racy acidity and a lengthy finish. RRP: $24.99 Distributed by: Ferngrove Wine Group

NEW personalised LABELS maximise christmas gifting market wide. every store selling GLenfiddich can participate labels created at

Contact William Grant & Sons for YOUR POINT OF SALE SUITE




GLASS GOLIATH Scotch is top of the shots

Scotch whisky continues to lead as Australia’s largest drink segment, but nevertheless, producers and retailers are always searching for opportunities to broaden its already well-established appeal, as Brian Chase Olson discovers.


cotch, both blended and single malt, remains the glass spirit category’s Goliath, continuing to lead the space as the largest segment in Australia after overtaking Bourbon last year. Of every $10 spent on total glass spirits in Australia, Scotch sales alone account for a massive $2.55. While the spirits category overall has celebrated generally positive growth (with total glass spirits recording a 21 per cent dollar uplift) Scotch is going from strength to strength – with both blended and single malt showing uplifts in the last 12 months – bringing excitement into the category for aficionados and new drinkers alike. So, is there any slowing Scotch? With the boom of other craft spirits globally, namely gin, chipping away at Scotch’s share, producers and retailers are keen to showcase the new corners of the Scottish import to broaden its already well-established appeal.

Back in blend In last year’s Scotch update, National Liquor News reported a softening of sales for Scotch blends. While dollar growth has increased by 2.8 per cent, it is still below the 6.4 per cent annual spirit average dollar growth. “It’s too early to say concretely that blends are coming back, because the upturn in fortunes we have seen in the last 12 months have been heavily influenced by Johnnie Walker partnering with HBO,” Daniel Bone, Insights Director, IRI said. “After all, it is a show that attracts a huge global, and fiercely loyal audience.” That show – Game of Thrones – and the collaboration with Johnnie Walker has paid off in more ways than simply sales for Diageo. “We know that Scotch drinkers in particular love to collect rare and unique whisky, either for personal use or as a keepsake,” Melissa Maidment, Diageo Marketing Manager, Whisky said.

“White Walker by Johnnie Walker was a huge success for the brand, delivering nearly $6 million in retail sales, growing Johnnie Walker’s share of Scotch and driving brand relevance to a younger audience outside of whisky.” While the series came to a close with its eighth and final season this past May, the brand hopes to continue this momentum and engage the series’ fans with two new SKUs coming to market, Song of Fire and Song of Ice. For other producers, blends still present an opportunity to educate drinkers about the differences of blended Scotch versus the often higher-priced single sub-category.

“To help new drinkers and take the pressure off the journey from blends to single malts, or to enter from a non-whisky category, we’ve launched a new 10-year-old single malt Scotch whisky range called Aerstone.” – Kristie Asciak, William Grant & Sons

“Our blends continue to be enjoyed by consumers in different serves and new occasions with Dewar’s Highballs being a refreshing serve of choice in summer and aperitif moments.” Differentiation between blends and single malts continues as a theme across retail as well, with new, potentially more niche blended releases coming to market. “Because of the premium placed on aged single malts, we’ve had some cracking older whiskies that have either been blends or blended malts,” Scott Fitzsimons, Whisky & Spirits Educator at The Oak Barrel said. He references independent bottler North Star, which released two blends – the 29-Year-Old Spica and a 28-Year-Old blended malt, Vega, which retail for $179 and $239 respectively. “(These are) exceptional value for whiskies of that age and such a great opportunity for relatively new whisky drinkers to experience old whisky at prices more akin to five years ago than in 2019. So, while they may not be your typical lowest price-point, entry-level blends, I do believe there’s a place for blended whisky in general and we’ll keep hunting out anything of quality.”

Single malts on the rise

“Both styles of whisky have strengths and weaknesses in their own rights and are different products, so should be seen that way,” Sponsorship, Experiential and PR Manager for Bacardi-Martini Australia, Penny Sippe, said. “A blend can be far more complex (than a single malt) as it brings in flavours from all around Scotland and in some opinions, requires more skill to maintain a consistent flavour profile. Consumers are wanting to know more about what’s in their glass, so single malts play to that, but for the enthusiast that understands great whisky can come from both categories.

While the return of favour for blended Scotch remains an unknown, the single malt subcategory continues to shine, showing incredible growth compared to the market. “Single malt growth of 87 per cent is more than four times higher than the rate of growth across the total glass spirits category,” Bone said. With double digit sub-category growth and the average price per litre for single malts sitting at $94.10, it’s a sign that those seeking out Scotch of the single variety are doing so at the premium end. One brand finding great success at the top is Glenfiddich. “Glenfiddich is a fantastic entry into the single malt category for a number of reasons.



Rare and wonderful Producers are taking limited edition to new heights with these rare and wonderful releases to excite whisky drinkers: - Johnnie Walker Song of Fire: One of two exclusive new blended whiskies to celebrate the final season of Game of Thrones. Bottles are adorned with imagery from the ‘houses’ that face-off in the show. -G lenfiddich Grand Cru (coming in 2020): a 23-Year Aged Single Malt finished in rare French cuvee casks. -5 1-Year-Old Craigellachie: the brand’s oldest whisky ever. Launched and sampled at a limited pop-up event, Bar 51, in just four countries.

“Single malt growth of 87 per cent is more than four times higher than the rate of growth across the total glass spirits category.” – Daniel Bone, IRI

It’s not only the number one selling single malt Scotch whisky in Australia, [but it] is also officially the world’s most awarded,” Kristie Asciak, Marketing Manager for William Grant & Sons (WG&S) said. “These assurances give newcomers and uninformed shoppers confidence they are buying a quality liquid.” And while the Glenfiddich brand celebrates continued growth, the latest release from WG&S aims to welcome new drinkers to the single malt space by breaking down the apparent barriers that come with some of the traditional messaging of the sub-category. “Many whisky drinkers and retailers still feel intimidated by the apparent complexity of the category,” Asciak said. “To help new drinkers and take the pressure off the journey from blends to single malts, or to enter from a non-whisky category, we’ve launched a new 10-yearold single malt Scotch whisky range called Aerstone.” The new Aerostone single malts use simple taste descriptors on the label to make it easy for the drinker to navigate the flavours and style of Scotch in the bottle. The Sea Cask is ‘smooth and easy’ and is a ‘classic Speyside-style’ that has spent time ageing in warehouses close to the Ayrshire coast, giving it a subtle salty note on the finish. The Land Cask is ‘rich and smoky’ and has been produced using highland peat and aged further inland, allowing its smoky notes to shine. “[These new releases] allow consumers to easily understand the spectrum of flavours and demystify the traditional language associated with the category,” Asciak said.

Out with the old… Both retailers and producers agree the category has seen an evolution of sorts when it comes to the demographics seeking out Scotch. “There was certainly an assumed demographic as recently as five, to 10 years ago, that of the older male


as the typical whisky drinker,” Fitzsimons said. “I’m happy that this has changed quite dramatically over the years. The excitement about and thirst for whisky – from all over the world – is being picked up by younger [legal aged] people all the time.” And it’s not just the recognition of young people jumping into the category that is exciting, but a noticed engagement of female Scotch drinkers. “We’re seeing dual gender appeal for whisky and a younger demographic exploring the category,” Diageo’s Maidment said. “Younger female drinkers are less intimidated by the category as brands focus on serves that are more relevant to their causal and social occasions and whisky is a great choice for those who aren’t into drinks that are overly sweet or fruity.” There are many reasons to note how the Scotch category has made its way up the drink of choice list for young and old, male and female, alike, but notably the increased focus on innovative drinks have led the charge in diversifying the portfolio. “Innovation has played a role, with a 27 per cent increase in active products ranged across Australian liquor retail over the last two years,” Bone said. While not as stark as The Glenlivet Cocktail Capsule or ‘whisky pod’ innovation, which caused a social stir after launching for a limited time during London Cocktail Week, new products and craft styles have rolled out across the year that bring excitement and interest to the category. Of these new innovations includes the Glenfiddich Fire & Cane as part of the brand’s experimental series and is a follow up to the hotly anticipated limited edition Glenfiddich Winter Storm. “We have continued this in 2019 with the launch of Experiment number four, Fire & Cane. This is innovative in that it results from pairing a smoky whisky with non-peated malts, both matured in


Oak Barrel Distillers Dinner 2019 Photo Credit: May Lawrence

Bourbon casks and then finished together in Latin rum casks,” Asciak said. Glenfiddich is renowned for its innovation, and experimentation is celebrated as long as there is respect to the brand’s core products, according to Malt Master and Master Blender, Brian Kinsman. “Experimenting is important as long as it’s not to the detriment of everything else you do,” Kinsman said. “My own view is that you need to have a really strong core… and you need to look after that very well. Then on top of that, it’s good to push the boundaries and try new things.” For retailers, new expressions of whisky are certainly on the lips of new consumers coming into bottle shops. “Consumers are asking fewer questions about the technical aspects of whisky and more about how each whisky is made differently,” Mal Higgs from The Drink Hive in Sydney said. “You’re getting whiskies matured and finished in all sorts of ways now, for instance Sherry casks and even beer casks. It’s all about different expressions and flavours.”

Gifting As the end of the year approaches, a key selling period is upon us and both brands and retailers are prepared to take advantage of it. “We know that premium full strength bottle spirits over index at Christmas, with 22 per cent of sales being delivered in eight weeks of the year,” Maidment said. “Christmas is the perfect time to look at single malts and premium blended Scotch whisky as great gifts and we’re launching an extensive range of gift packs that give shoppers an easy option to provide a meaningful gift at every price point.”

“The way we talk about whisky tends to focus on what’s inside the glass, rather than what’s around it.” – Scott Fitzsimons, The Oak Barrel Other impactful brand initiatives add a personal layer to the gifting experience. “Personalisation is a huge trend among shoppers at the moment. In 2017, one in two adults had personalised a gift in the last 12 months,” Asciak said. “Whisky is one of the most gifted categories in liquor, with research indicating that over 60 per cent of all whisky is actually purchased as a gift.” “Our Glenfiddich personalisation campaign helps retailers and shoppers make the most of whisky gifting. Any shopper that buys a bottle of Glenfiddich anywhere in Australia can head to (the Glenfiddich personalisation site) to create his or her own personalised message, which we can then post out. So, in terms of retailer accessibility, this promotion is our furthest reaching.” As for the retail experience, a blend of classic packaging options, GWPs and other new ways of thinking about communicating to the customer perform best in this space. “The way we talk about whisky tends to focus on what’s inside the glass, rather than what’s around it,” Fitzsimons said. “Certainly, sturdy and unique presentation boxes are always a help… but I believe you should be presenting your product in its best light all year round – not just for gifting season.”



P U G N I T HEA With summer right on our doorstep, Brydie Allen takes a look into how best to do brews over the hottest months.


ustralia has long been a beer loving nation. According to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), it’s our liquor of choice, with equivalent to 233 stubbies consumed on a per capita basis in the 2017-18 year. Although consumption rates have remained relatively steady over recent years, sitting just above wine, the amount of beer available on the shelf has increased by six per cent in this same time period. There’s so many products and options out there that competition is tough, with well-known staples, small craft brews, limited seasonal releases and international entrants all vying for shelf space. In summer, the competition ramps up. Miles Hull, Good Drinks Head of Marketing, said it’s due to the inherent peak period that summer creates. “Beer, naturally being thirst quenching and refreshing, lends itself to summer,” Hull said. “The footy finals are over, the weather is warming up, and you’re heading into celebration mode with Christmas parties, New Year’s Eve and summer holidays. That’s when beer is quintessentially part of the summer experience.” With this in mind, it’s a given that you’ll sell beer over summer without trying. There’s great potential to do more than just

that though, by optimising your offering to capitalise on the opportunities in beer that the hottest months provide.

Tapping into trends The beer shelves are hot property during summer, and keeping on top of the trends to know how to best allocate your space can be hard with so many options on offer. The key is doing research and planning ahead, through any creative means you can. Richard Kelsey, Director of Beer Cartel in Sydney, said social media plays a huge part in this. Kelsey recommends “just staying on top of social media. There’s always a lot of talk about beers that people are really enjoying”. “We actually have our own Facebook group that’s got about 3000 members now. So that’s a great way for us to get some insights on what people are drinking, what they’re enjoying and what they want.” ALIA Liquor Store of the Year finalist, Booze Brothers at The Mile End in South Australia, agrees that this is an important part of staying on top of trends. “Social media beer drinkers’ pages are good for following the trends of what customers are looking for and also what beer companies have coming out next,” said Alice Glanville, Marketing Manager for Booze Brothers. Social media is just one type of technology that you can use to track trends and target your offering accordingly, but there’s lots of


other creative and innovative ways to research out there. At Beer Cartel, they stay abreast of consumer ratings platforms and apps, with Kelsey specifically mentioning Untappd and RateBeer. Customers log on via the app or the website and upload pictures, ratings and reviews of different beers, breweries and venues. “We just use that as a kind of guide as to what people are finding really interesting and what they’re really enjoying as well,” said Kelsey. Keeping an eye out for the hottest new products is something that Booze Brothers identifies as important for maintaining a point of difference. Glanville said: “having the latest limited edition or seasonal release drives people in-store.”

Hot products The general consensus is that summer products should be lighter, crisper and more refreshing than their winter counterparts. These aspects refer to a lightness in taste, colour (of the liquid and packaging) and ABV. Hull said it’s all about matching the beer to the weather and thinking about the occasions a customer is going to be drinking beer. “We generally move away from drinking darker, heavier and maltier beers over the winter, to lighter, more sessionable beers like Single Fin Summer Ale that capture those refreshing and thirst quenching moments of summer really well,” he said. “The lighter, brighter colours of packaging really take the eye over summer too.”

SUMMER BEER Stone & Wood agree that certain flavour profiles do well, as can be seen in its latest release, The Gatherer, brewed with watermelon, cucumber and mint. Ben Summons, CEO of Stone & Wood, said: “drinkers will be looking for new, refreshing flavours from their favourite trusted breweries. Fruity styles, sours and easy drinking brews will be big this season.” This popularity of light styles and flavours is evident at Beer Cartel, where Kelsey said: “In winter people are obviously drinking the dark beers, and the higher alcohol beers and in summer that changes.” “So it switches over to the lower alcohol beers that are just not as heavy, not as rich with those multi-robust kind of flavours and are a bit more around the fruitier type of spectrum and along those lines.” Kelsey said one of the biggest sellers over summer is Balter, particularly the sessionable XPA and the newly released Captain Sensible, which has just won Best Mid and Low Strength Beer at ALIA. Co-Founder and Brand Director of Balter, Stirling Howland, said these types of products are very popular in the warmer months. “With summer comes the desire to have your thirst quenched so a few of our lower ABV beers take centre stage. XPA (five per cent), Lager (4.6 per cent) and Captain Sensible (3.5 per cent) all seem to be the go-tos for Balter,” Howland said. We’ve also seen the release of seasonal brews that, given they sell well, get rolled out nationwide for peak times like summer. An example of this is Byron Bay Brewery’s Premium Lager, which is available for national retail now after seeing great success in the brewery itself. Alastair Gillespie, Head Brewer at Byron Bay Brewery described their processes for brewing a summer seasonal. “When thinking of a summer brew, sessionability is definitely front and centre of the recipe creation process, so I’m looking at lighter bodied beer styles, lighter ABVs and often even lighter colours (we drink with our eyes.) I’m also thinking tropical fruit-like flavours,” said Gillespie. “Summer is also the place where lagers really find their stride. The lager species of yeast does a fantastic job of creating really clean, easy to drink beer styles so we love adding a couple of seasonal lagers to the mix when the weather heats up.” Lager is a favourite too at Stone & Wood, with Summons saying it does well along with other sessionable SKUs in their range. “Summer is lager season, so our Green Coast Lager is a firm favourite for drinkers looking for less fruity, craft options,” he said. “With Australian Pale Ales making up the largest sub-category in craft, our award

“Drinkers will be looking for new, refreshing flavours from their favourite trusted breweries.” - Ben Summons, CEO of Stone & Wood Cider According to the latest ABS data, Australia’s cider consumption has increased 11.8 per cent over the past five years. However, growth in the category has been noticeably flat or in decline in recent years, a noticeable trend amongst retailers. “The cider category has really plateaued,” said Glanville. “In the South Australian market, Hills Cider remains the popular local choice.” While the cider boom was pushed by big brands like Somersby and Pure Blonde and an abundance of product, these days it’s common for more local and craft ciders to maintain the category. You can see this in recent years of the ALIAs. 2019’s Best Cider went to craft producer Willie Smith’s from Tasmania, who is no stranger to the awards.



Non-alcoholic beer The rise of low and no alcohol beverages means more nonalcoholic options are becoming available, and more customers are looking for them. Emma Craggs, Coopers Brand Marketing Manager Non Alc Beer, said this is being seen in the beer category as well. “Beer is always a summer favourite, but with many social events sometimes customers are looking for a no alcohol alternative as a ‘spacer’ drink, a healthier option or when they are the designated driver,” Craggs said. In terms of how to capitalise on these non-alcoholic beers, Craggs said they “should be stocked in with full strength beers. Case and sixpack formats should be kept in fridges for all occasion drinking.”

“Beer, naturally being thirst quenching and refreshing, lends itself to summer.” - Miles Hull, Good Drinks Head of Marketing


winning and easy drinking Cloud Catcher also continues to be a favourite with drinkers.”

Selling big in summer Once you’re on track with the right stock to cater to summer beer trends, there’s just the matter of how to stock it all. Fridge space is your prime real estate in summer, as the hotter weather and increase in social activities means more customers are looking for cold and refreshing options to grab on the go. As a small shop, Glanville said that Booze Brothers at Mile End always keeps an eye on their presentation. Their advice is to: “have a really interesting range, presenting these well in the fridges and keeping the store neat and tidy is important.” Gillespie said that it’s vital you plan ahead for the summer to make sure you can cash in on every opportunity. “Beer is an agricultural product and is best sold fresh and if possible kept cold,” he said. “We recommend having plenty of stock in the cool room and on the floor to keep up with demand over the warmer months.” Balter’s Howland agrees, saying it’s important to: “keep craft beer in the fridge and don’t let it get hot on the floor. It will give you the best chance to sell good quality beer as we have intended it.” Good Drinks recognises that customers during summer are shopping with specific occasions in mind, so Hull recommends not giving all the fridge space to just the one product, type or style. “Everyone has a different product they love over the period, so having a range of products that serve the different needs is really important,” he said. Stone & Wood agree that it’s important to cater to a range of tastes and shoppers during the busiest time of year. “Ensure you have the right mix of beers to provide your customers with premium options, capitalising on the tendency to trade up to premium products during celebration season,” said Summons. In terms of making the most of sale opportunities, a good idea is to focus on premium options that can provide higher return. As Summons said, it’s the perfect time of year for these products. “Drinkers are also looking for authentically premium brands, specifically seeking out brands they feel proud to hold and that align with their values, so independent beers are receiving more attention than ever,” he said. Fellow Byron Bay brewer, Gillespie said that Byron Bay Brewery has the same advice. “Focusing on beers like our Premium Lager is a great way to upsell due to its premium pricing relative to other easy drinking beers,” he said.


Stone and Wood Pacific Ale Inspired by its birthplace of Byron Bay, the Original Pacific Ale is brewed with allAustralian barley, wheat and Galaxy hops for a cloudy golden appearance, big tropical fruity aromas and a refreshing finish. ABV: 4.4% RRP: $24.49 per six-pack Distributed by: Stone & Wood

Byron Bay Brewery Premium Lager

Side Track All Day XPA

A thoughtfully crafted balance between hop and malt. Brewed with all pale malts for a light gold colour, and a body that delivers a smooth yet refreshing taste. Created in the heart of Byron, the Premium Lager is perfect for good music and good times. ABV: 4.5% RRP: $18 per six-pack Distributed by: Lion

Atomic Beer Project XPA

Holsten 0.0 A traditionally brewed, full-flavoured beer, with the alcohol gently removed before bottling. With only 40 calories, Holsten has the lowest calorie content of all non-alcoholic beers in the Australian market. Bright gold in colour, with a lingering head, hop-driven flavour and a crisp premium Pilsner finish, this is the perfect beer for health-conscious consumers. ABV: 0% RRP: $11.99 per six-pack Distributed by: Coopers

Perfect for care-free days or when searching for that moment of refreshment. Side Track All Day XPA doesn’t compromise on flavour and is jammed packed with fresh citrus and tropical fruit aromas. The light malt base brings smooth body with crisp bitterness. All that in a mid-strength ABV. ABV: 3.5% RRP: $19.99 per six-pack ($20.99 CDS states) Distributed by: Good Drinks

Capitalise on the fast growing XPA category with this cracking new offering from Atomic Beer Project. Think fresh upfront hop aromas and zesty summer fruit flavours. With light bitterness and subtle malt, Atomic XPA strikes the perfect balance between flavour and sessionability. The ideal refresher for hot summer afternoons. ABV: 4.2% RRP: $19.99 per six-pack $20.99 CDS states) Distributed by: Good Drinks

Balter XPA Voted Australia’s Favourite Craft Beer in the GABS Hottest 100 (2018/2019), Balter XPA has captivated Aussie drinkers. Fruity and floral aromatics, broad fruity palate and refreshing bitter finish. ABV: 5% RRP: $18.99 per four-pack Distributed by: Balter Brewing Company



The Panel Josh Quantrill

Neal Cameron

Judd Owen

Field Sales Manager, Capital Brewing

Director, Institute of Beer

Contributor, Crafty Pint

Cameron Flett

Keith Grice

Aaron Edwards

Manager, Warners at the Bay Bottle Shop

Head Brewer, Hunter Beer Co

Owner, Bitter Phew

John Elliott

Tom Evans

Rosemary Lilburne-Fini

Operations Manager, The Taphouse

Craft Beer Reviewer

Craft Beer & Cider Specialist, The Oak Barrel


National Sales Manager, Akasha Brewing

Liam Pereira

Andrew Robson

Venue and Events manager, Batch Brewing

Head Brewer, Lord Nelson Brewing




Owner, Noble Hops


Matthew Denholm

Joe Wee


What’s our Seasonal Focus? This issue, we’re looking at Lagers

THE BREW REVIEW Style: Lager A bright, clear, golden lager with a thin head, this is a tasty, moreish beer. There are earthy, grassy notes on the nose, with plenty of noble hops and lager yeast aromas. There’s also a very distinct smell of jasmine tea. In the mouth things are clean, dry and light, with some malt and bit more jasmine tea. The flavours don’t linger, but neither should they. au


Style: Double ESB This ballsy double ESB takes English characteristics and turns them to 11. There are great copper colours to enjoy, earthiness and berries on the nose, and malty and raisiny sweetness on the palate. It leaves you with a gentle sticky sweetness, a hop prickle and plenty of alcohol warmth. Soften out that alcohol a little and this would be absolutely outstanding.

Stone & Wood Green Coast Lager ABV: 4.7% Style: Lager The beer is brilliantly bright and with some splendid lacing. The nose features some maltiness with restrained hop notes. However, those German hop flavours instead come through far more on the palate, making for a fine and pleasant beer.



ABV: 7.5%




ABV: 4.2%

Holgate Double ESB



Style: Stout For a double milk stout, this beer isn’t as pitch black as one would expect, but it’s certainly got that alcoholic weight that’s apparent from the first sniff. Take a sip and you get very pleasant malt flavours, as well as notes of chocolate and roasted coffee. There’s a big dollop of alcohol warmth on the palate as well – perfect for a cold winter’s night.

Hemingway’s Tunnel 10


ABV: 8.2%


Exit Double Milk Stout









In this issue, our panelists tasted the latest new release beer and cider. Here are the results.


Modus Operandi Silent Knight ABV: 5.6% Style: Porter A cracking looking beer – nice and dark with great head retention and lacing. The aromas are roasty, with great dollops of black coffee as well. There’s also light smoke and chocolate. The palate provides a great bite of bitterness balanced by malty sweetness, milk chocolate and some light roast coffee. A well-made, tasty porter with a lingering bitter roasted aftertaste.

ABV: 9%

ABV: 5.2% Style: Black XPA Black XPA is not a common style but Wrong Side Brewing has created a great sessionable option in this deep brown beer. There are some great toasted, dark malt characters in this beer, backed up with a slight sweetness. These flavours are able to come through thanks to a more muted hop flavour.

Yulli’s Betoota Bitter ABV: 4.5% Style: Bitter After gazing at the soft golden haze, take a sniff and smell sweet malt meeting earthy hops – with a hint of lavender? The first sip brings lingering bready flavours and bitterness, but take another and you get some citrus notes. It’s a light-bodied beer that gets better with every sip.

Coopers Premium Lager ABV: 4.8% Style: Lager A brilliant looking beer with plenty of sparkle, good bubbles and great head retention. There are sweet malt flavours on the nose and a dry finish on the palate. The mouthfeel is crisp and good with plenty of effervescence.

Style: Tropical Ale This beautiful, punchy tropical ale from North Queensland is an enjoyable fruit bomb of a beer. A beer with a light haze and a nice head, it has good body and booze, but it isn’t so dense that you couldn’t enjoy more than one. Lemongrass and bitter hop oils come through on the nose in a pleasant hoppy punch. The beer itself is light and spritzy on the tongue. Taste-wise, we’re talking lots of tropical fruits on the palate: think passionfruit, guava, apple and mango. This is a refreshing beer with a full mouthfeel and lingering hop bitterness. A great way to get things started and one that the panel would enjoy again.

ABV: 7.2 Style: IPA From the Adelaide Hills in South Australia comes a beer with a nice colour and head to it. A first sniff reveals a slightly piney hop aroma along with a dose of dankness and plenty of kiwi, grass and citrus notes. Take a sip and you get that fresh and zingy flavour. There’s plenty of hop bitterness there, and more intensity that one might expect, and it lingers too. But the malt character is also present to lend some balance and contribute to a good body and mouthfeel. This is an assertive, very hoppy and deadly drinkable twist on the ever popular West Coast IPA style. Crisp, clean and thoroughly satisfying. Prancingponybrewery.

Stone & Wood Stone Beer ABV: 7.2% Style: Porter Stone & Wood have long been famous for their paler beers, but this major step to the darkside is a big win. This is a tasty porter that has integrated the alcohol exceptionally well. A dark brown beer with ruby highlight and an appealing mocha head, it brings iced coffee, liquorice and brown sugar on the nose with smoke in the background. Iced coffee flavours continue on the palate, accompanied by powdered cocoa, dates and some alcohol heat. It finishes with a distinct ashy flavour. The beer has a light body blended with a creamy texture in the mouthfeel, which is very pleasing.


ABV: 4.8% Style: Pilsner Like any good pilsner, this looks brilliant in the glass with good lacing. A subdued but floral hoppy nose gives way to a beer that weighs more towards the malty sweetness in the mouth. There is a pleasant, lingering bitterness to tease you into another can. au


Wrong Side Brewing Pilsner ABV: 5.2% Style: Pilsner This is a classic, traditional pilsner, true to its style. Its colour is light, bright straw. Its nose is pleasantly subtle, blending earthy and spicy notes together with herbal elements. On the palate there is a strong, assertive helping of bitterness and noble hop character. The bitterness is ably supported and balanced by a hint of sweetness. There is light malt and further herbal or even botanical notes. Nicely carbonated, this pilsner has a good mouthfeel. Overall, this is a beautifully nuanced beer that can be dissected and appraised or easily crushed.


ABV: 4.5%

Prancing Pony The Piper


Hemingway’s 7th Heaven

Hemingway’s The Prospector









Style: IPA Surprisingly light in colour, this ‘Emperial’ IPA still has a strong alcoholic hit on the nose, palate and mouthfeel that dominates the beer. A first sniff reveals great hop character, with lovely tropical notes. There is strong, steady bitterness throughout the palate, along with plenty of booziness.

Wrong Side Black XPA




Holgate Emperial IPA











Burnley Vienna Lager ABV: 5.6% Style: Lager From the brewers at Burnley, this lager is darker than most, with brilliant clarity. The aroma is deep and grassy ito highlight its noble style. The palate features spicy undertones beneath a bigger caramel flavour, then combining with a Kolsch-like yeasty pepperiness with a strong bitterness for balance. The well-rounded mouthfeel is clean and easy, complementing that bigger flavour punch. A solid beer, it is an enjoyable step change from most other pilsner-style lagers. It has great balance between bitterness and sweetness, and leaves the mouth dry and wanting more.

This tasting was originally conducted for the Spring Issue 50 of Beer & Brewer.





1. Daryl Fisher, General Manager, Fisher Fine Wine 2. Nigel Burton, CEO, Burton Premium Wines

4. Andy Milne, Brand Manager, SouthTrade International

3. Andrew Graham, Online Communications Manager, 5. Geoff Bollom, Retailer, Fennell Bay Cellars The Wine Collective

6. Elizabeth Schoen, Sales Manager NSW/ACT, Samuel Smith & Son 7. Sabine Duval, Senior Wine Buyer, The Wine Collective

THE PANEL’S PICKS John Gehrig RG Riesling Region: King Valley VIN: 2013 LUC: $21.50

Harewood Estate Frankland River Riesling Region: Great Southern VIN: 2019 LUC: $17.20

“Lovely waxy nose. Rich and full of complexity. Great acid and balance.” – Sabine Duval

“Lychee, passionfruit, green apple. Dry and crisp, good balance. A perfect Riesling.” – Daryl Fisher

Distributed by: Direct

Distributed by: Single Vineyard Sellers

P eter Lehmann Portrait Riesling Region: Eden Valley VIN: 2017 LUC: $14.19

“Crisp green apple on the nose with red and green apple peel on the palate. Medium acidity and intensity.” – Elizabeth Schoen Distributed by: Casella Family Brands

THE SYSTEM 95-100 Classic: an exceptional wine

90-94 Outstanding: a wine of remarkable character


85-89 Very good: a wine with impressive qualities

WINE TASTING LUC $20 AND OVER Mitchell McNicol Riesling Region: Clare Valley VIN: 2010 LUC: $33.97 “Golden yellow in colour, dried apricots on the nose continue on the palate, mixed with stewed ripe apples. High acidity balances well with the additional sugar.” – Elizabeth Schoen “Super-ripe orchard fruits – paw-paw, pear, lychee and rockmelon. A hint of sweetness but well balanced.” – Andy Milne

Distributed by: Red + White

Pepper Tree Stone Mountain Single Vineyard Riesling Region: Orange VIN: 2019 LUC: $29.03 “Perfume leaps out of the glass, lavender, rose petal. Clean, crisp, tight and well-balanced.” – Daryl Fisher “Apples, perfume, floral. Body, weight, typical example and well made.” – Nigel Burton

Distributed by: Déjà Vu Wine Co

Petaluma Hanlin Hill Riesling Region: Clare Valley VIN: 2018 LUC: $26.71 “This wine explodes on the palate with a mix of apples, limes and confectionary. It has a luscious mouthfeel and would pair well with spicy Thai salads.” – Elizabeth Schoen “Rockmelon, paw-paw, ripe lemon and mango skin bounce around the palate. Great harmony of fruit with balanced acidity and a great finish.” – Andy Milne

Distributed by: Accolade Wines

Mesh Riesling Region: Eden Valley VIN: 2019 LUC: $20.32 “Green and red apples on the nose, tart lemon and lime on the palate balanced with floral notes. A long length and wellbalanced acidity. Yum!” – Elizabeth Schoen “Very fruity nose, ripe pineapples and tropical.” – Sabine Duval

Distributed by: Negociants Australia

“No bad wines, even the cheaper ones were very good.” - Geoff Bollom

“Imbalance of acidity – several with either too much, masking the fruit, or too little, leaving them flabby.” - Andy Milne Leasingham Classic Clare Riesling Region: Clare Valley VIN: 2014 LUC: $33.94 “Golden in the glass. Complex nose. Woody, petrol, firm acid. Crispiness on finish. Balanced. Great finish.” – Geoff Bollom “Big, toasty, vicious mouthfeel. Power! Has real presence.” – Andrew Graham

Distributed by: Accolade Wines

Peter Lehmann Wigan Riesling Region: Eden Valley VIN: 2013 LUC: $22.90 “Big impact. Huge mouthfeel of toasty briny flavour. Advanced.” – Andrew Graham “Great petrol meaty nose. Screams age! Crisp acid. Long finish. Balanced. Wow!” – Geoff Bollom

Distributed by: Casella Family Brands

THE SYSTEM 95-100 Classic: an exceptional wine

90-94 Outstanding: a wine of remarkable character

85-89 Very good: a wine with impressive qualities


WINE TASTING LUC $15-$20 arewood Estate Porongurup Riesling H Region: Great Southern VIN: 2019 LUC: $17.20 “A lively, racy Riesling. Crisp, aromatic, zesty citrus peel and a mineral earthy finish. Yum!” – Elizabeth Schoen “Bright green fruit. Rich with hints of green papaya, lime peel and cantaloupe melon. Ripe and fresh. Delicious wine.” – Andy Milne

Distributed by: Single Vineyard Sellers

“The thing about Riesling is that it shows winemaker mistakes and there were some wines with some obvious faults.” - Daryl Fisher P epper Tree Limited Release Riesling Region: Orange VIN: 2019 LUC: $19.35

T aylors Estate Riesling Region: Clare Valley VIN: 2018 LUC: $15.48 “Citrus fruit hides in the background. Green and Braeburn apples come forward. Great acidity and medium finish.” – Andy Milne “More mixed on the nose but great citrus and not too much acidity. Lovely finish.” – Sabine Duval

“A broader, richer nose. Beautifully balanced palate. Great length and complexity.” – Sabine Duval “Apple cores and green apple skin with racy acidity leaving you salivating for more.” – Andy Milne

Distributed by: Déjà Vu Wine Co

Distributed by: Taylors Wines

G rant Burge Thorn Riesling Region: Barossa VIN: 2018 LUC: $15.78

T horn-Clarke Single Vineyard Selection Region: Eden Valley VIN: 2019 LUC: $16.38 “Lychee, nashi pear and lime peel combine beautifully. Lovely acidity which holds everything in harmony.” – Andy Milne “Elegant Riesling with a mineral explosion. Chalky stone/ austere style. Good food match with oysters as aperitif.” – Elizabeth Schoen Distributed by: Thorn-Clarke Wines

“A really high quality tasting with a good cross section of premium Riesling growing areas.” - Elizabeth Schoen

“Subdued lemon/citrus on the nose and palate. A chalky finish. A delicate and elegant Riesling.” – Elizabeth Schoen “Lime peel and green apple skin bounce off the tongue. Prickly acidity which livens this wine up.” – Andy Milne

Distributed by: Accolade Wines

H arewood Estate Mount Barker Riesling Region: Great Southern VIN: 2019 LUC: $17.20 “Floral, lemon aromas on the nose with a lovely textural mouthfeel and medium length.” – Elizabeth Schoen “Lychee, lemon balm, almost a hint of mandarin and unripened pineapple. Heaps of fruit balanced with good acidity.” – Andy Milne

Distributed by: Single Vineyard Sellers

THE SYSTEM 95-100 Classic: an exceptional wine

90-94 Outstanding: a wine of remarkable character


85-89 Very good: a wine with impressive qualities

WINE TASTING LUC UNDER $15 lan B Off-Dry Riesling P Region: Frankland River VIN: 2018 LUC: $14.78 “Lovely acidity on nose, great green apple. Lovely finish. Great longevity.” – Sabine Duval “Very pale yellow in colour, ripe Pink Lady apple stew on the palate with hints of watermelon. Long finish.” – Elizabeth Schoen

“So many well priced wines, Riesling is where all the bargains live.” - Andrew Graham

Distributed by: Agnew Wines

D ’Arenberg The Dry Dam Region: McLaren Vale and Adelaide Hills VIN: 2019 LUC: $14.41

St Amand Riesling Region: Clare Valley VIN: 2019 LUC: $9.33

“Floral rose petal, orange blossom. Off-dry, good acids, complex and exciting.” – Daryl Fisher

“Very fresh. Citrus and steely. Still has spritz. Youthful but fresh.” – Sabine Duval

“Slightly sweeter style. Good acid finish.” – Nigel Burton

“Fruit tingles and jasmine on the nose. Green apple dominates the palate. Medium length with hints of residual sugar.” – Elizabeth Schoen

Distributed by: Off The Vine (WA); Empire Liquor (SA); Young & Rashleigh (ACT); The Wine Company (Vic); The Wine Tradition (QLD); Inglewood Wines (NSW)

“The aged Rieslings are developing very nicely. The 2019 Rieslings are very fresh… a great range of wines.” - Sabine Duval

Distributed by: Brand Group

Jacob’s Creek Barossa Signature Riesling Region: Barossa VIN: 2018 LUC: $12.39 “Hints of lemon meringue on the nose, grapefruit, lemon and lime with a chalky acidity and lingering finish.” – Elizabeth Schoen “Hints of lime juice, fresh acidity, medium finish with green fruits making their way forward.” – Andy Milne

Distributed by: Pernod Ricard G iesen Estate Riesling Blush Region: New Zealand VIN: 2018 LUC: $13.76 “Blush in colour. Nectarine and thinned peaches on the palate, a hint of sugar. Leaves a lingering, lengthy finish.” – Elizabeth Schoen “A hint of sweetness. Under-ripened pineapple and elderflower. Acidity is well-balanced, carrying the fruit forward. Lovely notes of lychee.” – Andy Milne Distributed by: Oatley Fine Wine Merchants

Uppercut Riesling Region: Clare Valley VIN: 2018 LUC: $12.44 “Deeper, richer nose. Fuller bodied, Good acid finish.” – Nigel Burton “Slight honey, citrus, straw. Nice acidity.” – Daryl Fisher

Distributed by: Kollaras & Co

THE SYSTEM 95-100 Classic: an exceptional wine

90-94 Outstanding: a wine of remarkable character

85-89 Very good: a wine with impressive qualities




Inside the launch of Liveworks featuring a DJ and experimental art light displays

1. Bombay Sapphire Canvas Bar at Liveworks Festival of Experimental Art Liveworks Festival of Experimental Art took place at Sydney’s Carriageworks from 17-27 October, with its first ever late night offering, the Bombay Sapphire Canvas Bar. The immersive bar experience was a collaboration between Bombay Sapphire and Performance Space, encouraging guests to “stir creativity” with a multi-sensory interactive hub of drinks and sound. The Bombay-based drinks menu featured a variety of gin and tonic mixes, the new ready-to-drink gin and tonic, and limited edition cocktails like the glowing blue signature Sonic Nightcap. Guests could touch and interact with the bar’s structure, bringing to life the imagery above on a live scale projection.

Akarua and Thousand Candles wines from the Sydney trade masterclass at Mary’s Underground

Specialty cocktail created for the event, the Bombay Sapphire Sonic Nightcap

2. PATRÓN PRECINCT LAUNCH Over summer, Patrón Tequila is activating The Art of Patrón Precinct in Sydney. On now until mid-February, four bars within a 10 minute walk of each other will be showcasing all the different ways Patrón Tequila can be enjoyed. The precinct launched on 30 October with a celebration at the Patrón Pop Up at the Museum of Contemporary Art, a living masterpiece with unique art installations, interactive performances and DJ sets. The other participating bars are The Argyle, Quay Bar and Bar Patrón, all of which will serve up unique specialty Patrón cocktails.


3 3. Vinous Viticultural Tour Vinous created a viticultural roadshow, touring the country from the 6-10 October to put on masterclasses showing a very different side to winemaking. Stuart Proud, vigneron of Thousand Candles, teamed up with viticulturalist Mark Naismith and Zoe Ladyman from Akarua to lead the trade and consumer events. The interactive sessions saw guests learning about everything from biodynamic and organic farming realities to the differences between AU and NZ wines, all the while getting the chance to ask questions and bust myths about viticulture.


Inside the Patrón Pop Up at the MCA


Sophie Dillman at ne of the pig-inspired cocktail stations



4. SQUEALING PIG’S ‘PIGNIC’ On a 35 degree day at The Grounds of Alexandria, Squealing Pig threw a ‘Pignic’ in celebration of their Rosé Gin. After walking the pink carpet, 80 guests were treated to a selection of five pig-inspired cocktails designed by drinks expert Jason Crawley. There was also a ‘Pig-roni’ fountain, ice sculpture and picnic style nibbles, like rosé gin infused mini Pavlovas. The star of the show was the new Squealing Pig ambassador, Kevin Bacon the pig, who came out of retirement especially for the event.

VIP guest Kevin Bacon charms guests


4 5. Champagne Veuve Fourny & Fils hosts intimate lunch at Aria The Fever-Tree Ultimate Gin and Tonic Bar


A booth showcasing UK gin brands

Champagne Veuve Fourny & Fils and De Bortoli Wines hosted an intimate lunch at Aria in Sydney where guests were treated to Veuve Fourny Blanc de Blancs Brut on arrival before enjoying a three-course meal with matching wines. The Champagne house was founded in 1856 and brothers Charles-Henry and Emmanuel are carrying on the family’s winemaking tradition. Charles-Henry joined the lunch and talked guests through the history of the winery, the relationship with the De Bortoli family and how the amazing chalk-based terroir brings amazing salinity to the wines the family makes. The lunch started with scallop, asparagus, lovage and elderflower paired with Fourny & Fils Blanc de Blancs Brut, followed by wild kingfish, celeriac, nettle and bacon paired with Fourny & Fils Grande Reserve Brut and finished with a selection of Australian and international cheeses paired with the incredible Fourny & Fils Cuvee ‘R’ Extra Brut.

5 6. FEVER-TREE GIN AND TONIC FESTIVAL The recent Fever-Tree Gin and Tonic Festival has been heralded as a great success. Fever-Tree’s General Manager Australia, Andy Gaunt, said: “5,000 visitors across three sun-filled days enjoyed discovering the world of gin and tonic, with 100 gins, spirits and non-alcoholic spirits paired with Fever-Tree’s range of tonics on a backdrop of live music, great food and the stunning setting of the Rose Gardens in Sydney’s Centennial Park.” Local and international gins were on offer, creating a unique way for consumers to engage with the brands behind their favourite products or discover new ones.

Charles-Henry Fourny and the De Bortoli team toasting with trade guests at ARIA



Shop Talk We talk shop with Damien Bottero from Fleet Street Mona Vale and Roger Banham from Yealands Wine Group.

Meet... DAMIEN BOTTERO, Proprietor, Fleet Street Mona Vale

ROGER BANHAM, Business Development Manager, Yealands Wine Group

L-R: Damien Bottero and Roger Banham

Q About us: DAMIEN: The store has been family owned since 1980 and I have been running it for nearly 10 years. We are independent and cater for our customers’ needs. We range a huge selection of small to medium sized wineries (including the biggest range of organics on the Northern Beaches), local and imported beers and spirits (both commercial and craft options). My staff are trained in their wine and beer knowledge and can help our customers on their journey in discovering that special wine, beer or spirit. We offer knowledge, experience and flexibility that the chains cannot match. ROGER: I have been with Yealands Wine Group for over nine years now. Yealands started on 08/08/08 (a lucky date in the Chinese culture). I joined Wynns Winegrowers in 1985, which turned into more than 21 years with Penfolds/Southcorp Wines and then briefly with Oatleys. My current role is Sydney-based and from here I manage a large part of NSW and Southeast Queensland. While Yealands Wine Group has a broad portfolio of NZ wines I tend to focus on our core brands of Yealands Estate, Babydoll and The Crossings as well as our exciting new on-premise only range Petal & Stem.

Q How are you finding the current market? DAMIEN: The market has been a bit flat this year, but I am seeing a resurgence since the elections finished. I have also noticed a lot of new customers looking for that something different. They are tired of the clinical approach of the chains and want to feel that someone appreciates them and their business. ROGER: The current market as we all know is very challenging. The bigger brands are seen as being constantly discounted further and further down, the race to the bottom. We must ensure we are always offering value for money and over-delivering on quality. Sustainability is a

major focus for Yealands and is becoming more and more important in the marketplace as well as other emerging consumer demands such as producing vegan friendly wines

Q What are the biggest challenges you are facing? DAMIEN: Our big challenge is to continue growing in a declining market. People are drinking less but drinking better quality. This was one of the big reasons with the development of the Fleet Street Liquor Merchants banner group. Premiumisation is the buzz in the industry. It is the area growing in a declining market. Fleet Street Liquor Merchants provides customers that step above what is currently offered to them. ROGER: Pricing, the cost of doing business, and the slimming down of margins, both retailer and wholesaler. The current drought conditions are making it tough for all categories and that is affecting business in both the city as well as the rural areas.

Q What deals or promotions are working for you now? DAMIEN: People want bang for buck. They are happy to pay a bit more for a product however it needs to stack up to the price and the customers’ expectations. In wines I find that the ‘two-for’ deals always work well. Especially when customers can mix it between varietals. ROGER: The deals that always seem to work best are the ones that offer the best returns for the retailer/restaurateur without compromising the brand integrity and perceived value for money. Social media is a great tool which allows us to communicate directly to our consumers about our brand stories such as the innovative sustainability initiatives we undertake at our unique Seaview Vineyard.

Q What do you enjoy most about the job? DAMIEN: I love good customer feedback, it


shows me that things are working. Whether it is about one of my staff, a product a customer has enjoyed, or even the feel of the store to a customer. I have had a number of compliments from customers, even non-customers about the renovations that were done in the change to Fleet Street Liquor Merchants. I was told that it feels more professional, comfortable and has raised the look of the street. The staff at ILG need all the credit for that. ROGER: The most enjoyable thing of my job is the people that I get to work with, that is my customers. The relationships that are built up over a long period become quite personal and friendships develop along with that mutual trust and respect. Also, every new vintage is like a new product – they are always different, so there is no time to get bored.

Q How do you approach the retailer/rep relationship? DAMIEN: I feel for the reps. There are so many of them out there. All battling for some space in your store. Many years ago, I started only seeing reps one day a week and by appointment only. I did this to make sure that both my time and their time was used productively. You can’t have reps coming in as they feel, interrupting you and expecting you to give them your proper attention. The system has worked well and though some reps still don’t understand the concept they eventually figure it out when I refuse to see them until they make an appointment on the requested day. With the extent of technology today it is not hard. ROGER: It is very important to understand your customers, and what they are looking for. It’s about building a mutual respect for each other’s business requirements and appreciating that your customer has a trust in you and your relationship. All deals need to be a win/win situation, otherwise it’s not good for either party.

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A003 Notes

Fresh upfront hop aromas. Ripe & zesty summer fruit flavours. Light bitterness balanced with subtle malt for maximum refreshment. 4.2%

For more info contact your Good Drinks representative or




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