By Deborah Jackson and Andy Young

The Australian Liquor Stores Association (ALSA) and IRI held a joint networking event in Sydney yesterday to present the findings of the inaugural 2016 Australian Retail Liquor – State of the Industry Report, following its launch in Canberra last month.

Hugh Edwards-Neil, Virginia Baker, Daniel Bone and Terry Mott at the Sydney networking event on Tuesday

Building on from last year’s Australian Retail Liquor Market Insights report published by ALSA, the State of the Industry Report provides details on the overall size, health and trends within Australia’s liquor retailing industry.

The 48-page report is available for ALSA members to download via the ALSA website, and ALSA president Giuseppe Minissale, yesterday urged every retailer to read it.

Speaking as he led a panel discussion, including David Reberger of Kemeny’s and LSA NSW, John Grimes from Samuel Smith & Son and Hugh Edwards-Neil from IRI, Minissale said "I was staggered by the level of detail within the report. It has got so much basic information, but it has also got some gems in there, which we will hopefully pull out today".

One point that Minissale wanted to stress was that the data collected for the report was mainly sales out data from retailers, with the research reflecting the broader sales out consumer-based behaviour observed in the industry. So the data captured, is any sale that goes through a till, irrespective of how it came to be in the store. “In beer, for example, that could be parallel beer, it could be beer that’s not bought directly from breweries,” said Minissale.

Edwards-Neil added: "If it goes through a till, we capture it, irrespective of how it came to be in the store."

One of the many aspects covered in the report, and one which the panel discussed in detail was the growth and development of Australia's wine market. In particular the huge growth of wines in the $15 to $20 bracket. With Minissale asking Grimes whether it was a deliberate move by middle-sized companies to target that increasingly popular price bracket.

Grimes said: "I don't think we'll all be there, but as a company we have taken a deliberate choice to pretty much get out of below $10. You will still see Y-Series very occasionally below, Oxford Landing is not the powerhouse that it was 10 years ago, our growth is in retail terms $15 and above the $25 bracket. I was talking earlier about rosé, and we've sold out of every single rosé in our portfolio, aside from about one or two imported wines, and a lot of those are above $25. So the numbers I am seeing in this report are exactly what I'm seeing in the market."

Guiseppe Minissale, David Reberger, Hugh Edwards-Neil and John Grimes address the event

Reberger added that rosé appears to be an increasingly popular trend in the wine sector.

"If there's one big trend, it is rosé. Historically, I think if we all look at our numbers and these are our reds and these are our whites, but you can take rosé out now as a separate category and I think rosé is definitely here to stay now. Obviously over in France, they drink more rosé than white wine. 

"What startled me is that we had a unknown, boutique rosé which we sold for $20, and now we're buying it by the pallet. We're now importing straight containers of French rosé and it's that Provence style that the customer is coming to moreso than the sweeter or heavier styles."

Grimes added: "I was arguing with our production side for more stock, because they were saying that they can't get us as much as we want, and it has to be that Provence style David was referring to, the crimson sweeter style is on the nose."

Last month TheShout spoke to Peter Nixon of Dan Murphy's, who predicted that rosé could become the next big thing, and yesterday Minissale said: "The commentators are now saying that rosé will out perform New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and I find that hard to believe, but they are saying there is the potential there for it."

In terms of other wines that could become the next Sauvignon Blanc, the IRI and ALSA report highlights that Pinot Grigio, Riesling and Pinot Gris are all growing well, but Minissale added: "I see Semillon making a comeback, I see some movement in my six stores. I am seeing some numbers. There is a bit of movement around Sem."

Reberger agreed, highlighting that Semillon wines are his top two selling white wines and that there is a growing following for the variety. He added: "We think Semillon is Australia's secret treasure that is yet to be fully appreciated by consumers."

Further ALSA and IRI networking events will be held in the coming months and the State of the Industry report is available to all ALSA members through the organisation's website.

The Shout Team

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

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