By Shane T Williams

Mal Higgs led a small delegation of Australian liquor retailers and suppliers to New Zealand this week for the first ALSA Retail Liquor Study Tour of Auckland.

NZ ALSA Study Tour delegates: Krystal Hall BWS Dianella Plaza, John Owens Fennell Bay Cellars, Karen Nicholls Porters Liquor Balgowlah, Lou Spagnolo Chairman Liquor Barons & Liquor Barons Carlisle, Sharni Wise Operations Manager Vantage Group, David Segretto Sales Director McWilliams Wines, Giuseppe Minissale ALSA President & GM Porters Liquor, Hiep Le GM Minle Group of Stores, Michael Ritoli GM National Sales Asahi Premium Beverages, Ger Buckle, Master Cooper of Jameson Irish Whiskey, Ben Taylor The Cellar Group North Coast, Mal Higgs ASLA Study Tour Delegate Host, Dan Mackie Hazelbrook Cellars

Four days of store visits and seminars provided key insights to the Aussie delegation on how the Kiwis are leading the way in liquor retailing.  

In some independent liquor stores, craft beer accounts for as much as 45 per cent of all beer sold, advertising restrictions promote competition around range not price and the extension of the shopping experience in the ‘Cool Room’ are some of the findings of the study group as they visited Auckland this week. 

“As much as 45 per cent of all beer sold in some independent liquor stores is craft,” said Peter Dudfield Liquorland’s Merchandise Manager (no association with Liquorland Australia) which has 107 liquor retail franchisees or 20 per cent market share of the NZ off premise liquor market. 

Liquorland store (NZ), retailers make the ‘cool room’ an extension of the retailing experience 

This was evident when visiting liquor stores across Auckland with a much wider range of craft beers than their Australian counterparts, the delegation found. Craft Beer Stations (Growler Stations) were also a part of the retail liquor landscape offering shoppers a wider range of craft beers and packing formats. The delegation also noticed many more multi packs in-store allowing for greater choice across craft and mainstream beers. Store visits to independent banner groups Liquorland (NZ), Super Liquor, New World as well as the Woolworths-owned Countdown found that 12-packs were by far the biggest selling beer format in the country, alongside six, 18, and 24-packs. 

“We are moving away from advertising around product and price towards promotions around occasion,” said Bryan Cherry, Marketing Manager of the other big independent liquor retailer in New Zealand, Super Liquor. With 145 franchisees in the group, Cherry briefed the Australian delegation on government restrictions banning advertising discounts greater than 25 per cent outside the store environment, saying that “liquor retailers in New Zealand need to compete in areas away from price”. 

Adrian Barkla of Remura New World shows delegates how Kiwis excel in supermarket liquor retailing

Store visits by the ALSA delegation found this to be true with promotions around ‘wine awards’, points, range and particularity store layout. “We have gone through a brand refresh project with Super Liquor,” said Cherry, “with store refurbishments that showcase clean store layouts, pricing and coolrooms that are an extension of the retail store and shopping experience.” 

The ALSA NZ study tour led by Mal Higgs was supported by Pernod Ricard Australia and Pernod Ricard NZ, as well as Asahi Premium Beverages and Accolade Wines. For a full wrap-up on how you can take advantage of the key insights into the ALSA Retail Liquor Study Tour of Auckland read the November issue of National Liquor News.

Delegates included a wide range of retailers and suppliers across the country, including: 

  • Giuseppe Minissale – ALSA President & GM Porters Liquor
  • Sharni Wise, Operations Manager, Vantage Group, Tasmania
  • John Owens, Fennell Bay Cellars, NSW 
  • Lou Spagnolo, Chairman Liquor Barons & Liquor Barons Carlisle, WA 
  • Hiep Le – GM Minle Group of Stores, Sydney 
  • Ben Taylor, The Cellar Group, North Coast, NSW
  • Dan Mackie – Hazelbrook Cellars, NSW
  • Krystal Hall – BWS Dianella Plaza, WA (Ex Young Retailer of the Year)
  • Karen Nicholls, Porters Liquor Balgowlah, NSW
  • David Segretto, Sales Director, McWilliams Wines
  • Michael Ritoli, GM National Sales, Asahi Premium Beverages 
  • Shane T Williams, GM Sales Liquor & Hospitality, Intermedia 

The Shout Team

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

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