Alcohol Beverages Australia (ABA) has set out its Vision 2030, a 10-year plan for Australia’s alcohol beverage industry which brings together a range of strategies to drive jobs, exports, tourism and safer thriving communities.

Vision 2030 also encompasses technology and better environmental outcomes with rural and regional Australia seen as critical to the industry’s success. This sector-first collaboration commissioned by ABA has used modelling by Deloitte Access Economics to identify how the beverage industry currently delivers $52 billion annually to the Australian economy, plus 485,000 jobs and $9.3 billion in combined taxes and where it could be in a decade.

Through the development of rural and regional wineries, distilleries and breweries, and the associated businesses, the report makes specific reference to the importance of rural and regional Australia to the industry. Vision 2030 also includes recommendations on how to build stronger regions, including initiatives to create over 16,000 new jobs.

“The heart of the alcohol beverage industry, as well as 35 percent of our workforce, is based outside the major cities,” said ABA CEO, Andrew Wilsmore. “Our home is in the country. Agriculture is the source for so many of our products, from wine to whisky.

“Our Vision 2030 plan recognises our integral connection to Regional Australia and identifies ways we can provide support to businesses throughout the supply chain, from farmers, primary manufacturers, supply chain operators, wholesalers, tourism operators, retailers and food and beverage businesses.

“In many regional centres pubs and clubs are often the only place communities can gather together. Almost half the liquor licenses in Australia are in regional centres and it makes sense to us that we must do all we can to promote and improve livelihoods for all those who live there, whether it’s on farms or in the towns. City quality broadband is a must and Governments need to do more to provide the services that locals deserve, and the initiatives that encourage people to move there.

“With the right policy settings by Government and the cooperation of everyone across the value chain we can supercharge the future for this industry from where it starts in the paddock to where it ends in the hands of a consumer,” Wilsmore said.

Dialling back into a world with international visitors ABA said that alcohol beverages and tourism go hand in hand across Australia. Iconic wine regions have long attracted high numbers of visitors, but as food and drink experiences increase across the country, the emergence of more regional distilleries and breweries brings additional tourism to a wider range of locations.

Wilsmore said: “The most recent research shows that the majority of visitors associate visits to Australia with food and drinks experiences and almost 7.5 million overnight trips in Australia last year involved a visit to a winery, brewery or micro distillery.

“Domestic and international spending by tourists on food and drinks can grow by more than $10 billion by 2030 – and that value-add goes straight to regional communities with jobs, and better infrastructure that make them an attractive location to live, work and visit.

“Our members will partner with the state and federal tourism authorities, to reinforce the value of drinking experiences, but there’s a role for Government by growing the sense of importance for Australians to travel within Australia, while still making us the destination of choice for international business travellers and tourists.”

The Deloitte modelling has suggested an extra 48,000 jobs can be added with over 16,000 of these in regional Australia in agriculture and tourism, supporting a workforce across a wide range of careers, from viticulture and hospitality through to manufacturing and management.

Wilsmore added: “The vast majority of operations in the alcohol beverages industry are small or medium enterprises, which are disproportionately affected by burdensome regulation. In order for these businesses to continue creating jobs and economic value, more work needs to be done to streamline the regulatory environment and create positive conditions for investment. We support regional employment initiatives, including regional work visas and pathways for young, unemployed and underrepresented Australians to work in regional Australia. By propelling new regional job initiatives, industrial relations settings, and visa reforms the Government can make a critical and meaningful impact on communities in every state.

“We also aim to grow our industry’s present $65m investment in technical, vocational and tertiary education to $100m by 2030 to promote opportunities for professional careers across the entire supply chain.”

Vision 2030 also sets out the potential for exports of Australian alcohol beverages to more than double to $8.6bn by 2030.

Exports of Australian alcohol beverages are currently worth $3.6bn, and account for one per cent of total exports. Broken down by product category, the contribution is 85 per cent wine, 14 per cent spirits and one per cent beer and cider.

Close to half (44 per cent) of all wine produced in Australia is exported, primarily to China, the United States and the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, only seven per cent of spirits and less than one per cent of beer produced here are exported, highlighting the huge growth opportunities.

The ABA says that while wine exports will continue to lead the Vision 2030, a specific focus on the growing Australian spirits market in particular, has the potential to create a similar trajectory to wine export growth that started in the 1970s. Given that in 2020 Australia had nearly 300 distilleries (versus 30 in 2010), and 700 breweries (versus 70 in 2010) this provides a rich basis for export growth. Innovations in brewing, particularly new products including zero-or-low alcohol, also provide broader trade opportunities for the sector.

“We can double the international trade of our wines, spirits and beer to $8.6bn, provided we can reduce barriers for new and current exports markets and create new support bodies for smaller producers,” Wilsmore said. “You only have to look at Japan to see what’s possible. What was a modest domestic whisky market 20 years ago has become a billion dollar world powerhouse.”

In outlining Vision 2030, ABA Chair Bryan Fry, said: “Through measures such as improving market access for exporters, and reducing red tape and unnecessary regulation to enable small producers to reinvest in their operations and increase employment, this statement sets out a comprehensive vision which would maximise the opportunity for local businesses to bottle the best of Australia and share it with the world.”

For more on Vision 2030, head to the Alcohol Beverages Australia website.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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