By James Atkinson
Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) has launched The Beer Collective, a specialist on-premise sales team dedicated to providing unique product offerings to non-traditional beer venues.
CUB sales director – on-premise Paul Donaldson (pictured) told TheShout the launch of The Beer Collective is part of a renewed focus on the on-premise sector by CUB under SABMiller's ownership.
"On-premise in Australia is evolving rapidly, and as the major supplier to the channel, we need to keep developing new and different service models," he said.
"This new team brings a highly capable group of people to our business with the aim of helping our partner venues add greater quality to their overall experience."
The Beer Collective is a combined sales and marketing team of 10 employees headed up by national manager Rob Raffa, formerly of Pernod Ricard.
Donaldson said the division will service a different account base to CUB's core on-premise team, catering for a pool of progressive bars and restaurants that is rapidly growing driven by new liquor licensing laws in several Australian states.
The Beer Collective provides a tailored mix of imported premium and craft beers from within the SABMiller stable, including Matilda Bay and international brands such as Peroni, with further additions coming from the United States and Europe.
"Given SABMiller operates in 77 countries we're going to take our time and pick the brands that are most appropriate," he said.
The first new brand to be introduced is Aguila, a Colombian lager that is being seeded into specific areas as part of a long-term plan, which Donaldson said has delivered "some stunning initial sales results".
"There's three more Matilda Bay brands about to go on tap in June, they'll go through this group as well," he said.
The Beer Collective will also sell and market some of the heritage beer brands CUB is re-releasing, such as Tooth and Ballarat Bitter.
"Some of the really cool bars on Brunswick Street in Melbourne or Newtown in Sydney or Fortitude Valley in Brisbane – they're really interested in these older heritage brands coming back and giving them something different," Donaldson said.
"Even though these are very traditional older brands, they start to get a bit of a cult following. The best example is Reschs, which is performing really well on tap in the eastern suburbs of Sydney."