IBA talks strategy for the year ahead
By Deborah Jackson, Editor, National Liquor News
Towards the end of 2016 IBA set its sights on growing its national footprint. As such, we saw a few acquisitions and some changes to its organisational model.
National Liquor News caught up with Rod Pritchard, the General Manager, Merchandise for Australian Liquor Marketers (ALM), to talk strategy.
Last year, ALM acquired both the Porter’s Liquor group along with the NSW and Tasmanian licenses and day-to-day operations of the Thirsty Camel business and Big Bargain bottle shops in Tasmania. Pritchard told National Liquor News that ALM is now working with the Porter’s team to establish alignment between the two groups.
“We are currently working with the Porter’s team to establish understanding and alignment between the two businesses and its retailers, with a view to integrating the Porter’s brand into the IBA model mid-year,” he said.
“We definitely have ambitious plans for this brand over the next year or two and look forward to offering a niche wine offer to shoppers across the country.”
Meanwhile, Pritchard told National Liquor News that the Thirsty Camel acquisition has helped to strengthen IBA’s offer in NSW and Tasmania.
“We have been working closely with the Thirsty Camel retailers to strengthen our offer in their respective markets in the immediate term. We also plan to integrate Thirsty Camel into the IBA model mid-year, and will continue to focus on developing the offer to best meet the needs of both the retailers and shoppers.
“We recognise the importance of aligning with the key Liquor Alliance stakeholders, and the Thirsty Camel retailers, to ensure it has strong national plans so the brand continues to grow in the future. It is one of the most engaged brands for shoppers, and it is very exciting to be partnering with Liquor Alliance into the future.”
To accommodate the growth, IBA found the need to centralise its promotion and marketing roles, creating 13 new head office positions. The new team is now in place with a diverse group of people from the liquor, grocery and hardware retail industries.
“The new structure will drive national strategies, however, we will ensure these are balanced by a commitment to state and local offers by store. We believe that the greater focus on local programs will benefit shoppers and give the range and service that they are looking for,” said Pritchard.
“Apart from re-engineering our retail model, we have also reintroduced the National On-Premise Manager role, with a view to strengthening ALM’s on-premise offer into the future. Craig Tompkins has joined the team in this role, and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge in this channel.”
Pritchard continued: “IBA will continue to work with both retailers and suppliers to help grow the independent market and support local communities with a liquor offer that is unmatched. We firmly believe that not one size fits all, and with the plans to further localise brands and range, we are confident that we will continue attract and convert shopper loyalty within each market.”