By James Atkinson – editor TheShout

The Australian Liquor Stores Association’s national conference kicked off in Cairns Sunday night with 160 retailers and suppliers in attendance.

Opening the business sessions Monday morning, ALSA CEO Terry Mott told delegates that last year marked the association’s 30th anniversary, which was cause for a major review of its purpose and service delivery for members.

He said the result was the first attempt at making ALSA “a truly national organisation, rather than a meeting point for state and territory liquor stores associations, the major chains and the Master Grocers”.

“A year and eight meetings later, plus countless emails and phone calls, the ALSA board agreed to a restructure and we are now implementing that,” he said.

Mott and ALSA president Giuseppe Minissale were followed by Peter Baines OAM, founder of the Hands Across The Water charity and an expert on leadership skills, as well as an upbeat economic briefing from conference stalwart, Peter Switzer.

“Retail is on the comeback trail,” the economist said. “Inflation adjusted retail sales grew 3.1 per cent over 2013-14, that’s the best annual growth in six years!”

Monday’s highlights included a grilling from Switzer, of panellists including the CEOs of Australia’s major beverage suppliers and liquor retailers in the Switzer Live session, as well as the twilight cocktail dinner cruise hosted by Coopers Premium Beverages aboard the Ocean Spirit I.

Steve Lewis, CEO of UK retailer Majestic Wine, will address the conference Tuesday morning.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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