In today’s instalment of citizen journalism, Cellarbrations at Thirlmere proprietor, Brett Hallgarth, suggests the national liquor chains have conspired with the Government to introduce the RTD tax excise to hurt the independents.

“Owning an independent liquor store, I make note of the following:

RTDs have been the domain of the independent retailer since its inception. It is the independents that made the category so popular as the chains threw all of their might at the bottled spirit market and dominate it very well with their “two for one” style anti-responsible service of alcohol.

Being innately uncreative in their marketing unless copying others, the chains utilised price crushing or borderline irresponsible behaviour that only grasped the RTD potential after the independents achieved success by working out a way of surviving against the odds.

Sure the chains have taken on the RTD concept, but they can’t get it right (e.g. they’re not flexible enough to sell mixed cases).

I would think proof of the power independents had was the fact that the largest supplier of RTDs is or was Independent Distillers. It is not coincidental that the company wasn’t called National Chain Distillers.

This company loves independents. They have a kiwi style of looking after all their resellers in the best way they could and fought fair.

Enter the tax hike. The spirit bottles stayed the same while the price of the independent’s bread and butter skyrocketed. It didn’t matter to the chains as a little hurt for them meant a lot of hurt for us.

Where are Wesfarmers and Woolworths spokespeople in regard to the tax hike? Nowhere, because they love it as us independents try to catch up on capturing the straight spirit market that they own.

I am of the opinion that the big boys in retail liquor had something to do with the RTD tax hike. But what would this battler know?"

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of TheShout.


The Shout Team

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

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