By James Atkinson

Executives from Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) and Coopers-owned distributor Premium Beverages have detailed their efforts aimed at tackling parallel imports of beer.

At the recent Australian Liquor Stores Association (ALSA) conference, CUB sales director Peter Filipovic confirmed parallel imports had been a significant issue for the company when it was the licensed importer of the Corona brand, which he added "is now Lion's problem obviously".

Filipovic said CUB had two or three full-time staff whose sole responsibility was reporting source codes of parallel product back to brand owner Grupo Modelo.

"Having a co-operative principal such as Modelo at the time meant that there were a few distributors that they actually closed down because they were working outside the parameters from other countries," he told delegates.

James Brindley, managing director of Lion Beer, Wine & Spirits, recently acknowledged CUB's achievements in working with Modelo to reduce parallel.

For Premium Beverages – which brews Sapporo and now Carlsberg under licence in Australia – pricing strategy has been a key tactic in reducing the practice, according to national sales manager Paul Esposito.

"The biggest issue we're seeing with the international portfolio is the [strong Australian] dollar and the impact it has on parallel," he said.

"We made the decision to reduce the wholesale price and hopefully discourage these parallel guys from taking on our brands."

The Shout Team

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

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