By Deborah Jackson, Editor National Liquor News

Speaking with National Liquor News for the 2017 Annual Industry Leaders Forum, Martin Smith the Managing Director of Endeavour Drinks Group (EDG) revealed the Group's highlights from 2016 along with what to expect from the year ahead.

In 2016 the Woolworths Liquor Group became EDG in a move that Smith said better reflects the Group's vision moving forward.

"Woolworths is synonymous with the supermarket’s food business. Our association with them through the wider Group ownership is strong and proud, but it was time for a story about us, for us," said Smith.

The year also marked the opening of the first Dan Murphy's store in Tasmania and the opening of the 1500th overall store for the Group. Smith said this was "a significant achievement in itself considering the challenges of securing development approval and liquor licenses across Australia".

Meanwhile, BWS launched its own dedicated transactional website supported by the country's largest click-and-collect network. According to Smith the intent is to make BWS the most competitive value offer in the convenience business.

In 2016 Woolworths Limited reported a disappointing result but for the first time the liquor businesses results were reported separately and EDG showed sales growth.

In speaking with the Annual Industry Leaders Forum Smith discussed the contributing factors to EDG's sales growth.

"We live by the maxim of striving to meet the ever-greater customer expectations of retail. This means we have to work harder at meeting more of our customer needs by collaborating across the multiple brands and channels that make up EDG.

"With two very strong brands in BWS and Dan Murphy’s, it became apparent that they needed to be strongly differentiated in the market. We’ve done a lot of work as a Group [last] year in having a clear strategy for BWS to be the ‘local’ convenience offer in the market, while retaining the momentum in Dan Murphy’s being a destination and specialist offer.

"It’s all about the customer. They are now in control of our future direction and we must have a strategy in place to better understand them in order to fulfil their shopping needs and drinking occasions. Retailers have some of that information and producers share the rest. We need to better collaborate to allow the full picture to be painted to truly meet and deliver customer expectations."

Smith also went on to discuss what EDG foresee as the biggest drinking trends for 2017.

"We expect the positive growth numbers occurring in bottled spirits to continue, as customers get more involved in crafting cocktails at home. 

"Beer still has the opportunity to recover if we experience late lingering warm weather to make up for the cooler start to summer. We also expect a stronger play on seasonality to come into the beer category, particularly among craft producers.

"In wine, the trend we are noticing is a shift from Sauvignon Blanc into Rose, largely driven by greater authenticity in the style and its ability to match well with a variety of foods and drinking occasions."

The Shout Team

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

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