Image (c) Mark Avellino 2019. From left to right: Craig Hawtin-Butcher (Australian Hotelier), John Musca (JLL), Stewart McCallum (EY), Stephen Hunt (multi-venue owner), Craig Shearer (Open Arms Hospitality) and Paul Waterson (Australian Venue Co).

Pub Leaders Summit 2019 drew to a successful close on Monday 20 May at the MCEC in Melbourne.

Over 200 attendees heard from 26 different speakers, ranging from AHA Vic President David Canny and VCGLR regulator John Curran to the CEOs of Sand Hill Road and Australian Venue Co along with food and beverage specialists including wine expert Matt Skinner and expert single-site operators from across Australia, including those from the Rose and Crown, WA and Carringbush Hotel, Melbourne.

The program of the one-day event curated and hosted by Australian Hotelier, was fit to bursting with speakers and panelists worth listening to, across an array of complex subject areas.

During the day, our audience heard from motivational speaker Chris Helder about the power of holding a ‘useful belief’ – providing a powerful motivation from outside the hotel industry to encourage delegates to celebrate the now and think in the present to make positive changes.

Getting behind the key stories affecting hoteliers right now, Paul Waterson of Australian Venue Co sat on the same panel as Craig Shearer of Open Arms Hospitality, having only recently transacted the Riverland in Brisbane between one another. Steve Jeffares of Stomping Ground discussed the rise of fruit sours drawing more women into the beer market – timely given his GABS beer festival had just taken place in Melbourne the day before.

We looked at the vital importance of supporting pub success through live sport, music and entertainment, along with the supportive role that state government and arts organisations can play, including Music Victoria who were represented on a panel by their CEO Patrick Donovan. We also took the time to look back at the past year through the eyes of a number of operators, particularly those celebrating their first anniversaries – including Lawrence Dowd of Colonial Leisure Group, one year on from renovating the Portsea Hotel in the Mornington Peninsula. Tim McLernon of the Three Pound Group, who had just had 56,000 fans descend on the Optus Stadium in Perth alongside his one-year-old Camfield venue for the Hyundai A-League Final the day before, explained precisely how to manage venues at scale.

Delegates also heard from successful Victorian outfits about the key role beverage continues to play, delving into the rise of wine on tap and the importance of beer-line cleanliness. We heard a compelling overview of the pub landscape from AHA Vic president – and AHA National vice-president – David Canny. We explored the important contribution of gaming while navigating the regulatory framework. We delved into the important role of fast casual – and affordable – food, the challenges posed by other forms of entertainment and the home-delivery upsurge, countering these challenges by discussing how to excel with a food proposition. Sand Hill Road CEO Dan Viney took your questions and shared his answers in a quick-fire session, since we all grow when we share our knowledge and insights. We discussed how to respond when hoteliers reach a crossroads – whether to stay, go or grow. Supported by our knowledge property experts and operators pictured above. All followed by our ‘put it to the panel’ session with some of the industry’s leading lights.

We’re delighted our Keynote Speaker Chris Helder could join us to share a point of view from outside the industry, while our ever-reliable Master of Ceremonies Kent Anderson guided us through the day aided by his hotel insider knowledge.  There were numerous opportunities to network, particularly during networking drinks with Gage Roads and afterwards at Richard Chadfield’s nearby venue, Melbourne Public.

Standby for a full photo-gallery from the day, featuring delegates, speakers and sponsors, available in the coming days.

Lastly, Australian Hotelier would like to sincerely thank all of our sponsors for their continued support, without whom this event would simply not be possible.

Platinum Sponsor: Intrust Super

Gold Sponsors: Foxtel Business, Gage Roads Brewing Co; JLL; and Vectron;

Silver Sponsors: Bisleri; Campari Group; CellarControl; Duotank; and H&L.

Pub Leaders Summit will return to Sydney in 2020.

For event sponsorship enquiries, please email Jason Wild or call: +61 (0)2 8586 6213.

For all other event enquiries, please email Paul Wootton.

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