By James Wells
Speaking with TheShout at the recent Destination Australia conference held in Melbourne and hosted by Tourism Australia, Four Pillars co-founder Stu Gregor was selected to promote drinks using his gin to delegates at the conclusion of the conference.
But during the conference, he asked Tourism Australia chief executive officer, John O’Sullivan, about the ‘Food & Wine’ message which appeared in the recent advertising $36m Crocodile Dundee movie-trailer advertising campaign activated during the Super Bowl which was viewed by 100 million Americans. Wine Australia supported this advertising campaign with $1.5m of government funding and as a result Australian film star Chris Hemsworth was shown at a winery in the commercial.
“The work with Tourism Australia is an initiative to help achieve our tourism objective and drive visitors to Australian wine regions,” Wine Australia CEO Andreas Clark said during the launch of the Dundee campaign.
The Dundee campaign represents the largest investment that Tourism Australia has ever made in the US and aims to capitalise on this potential by targeting high value travellers and growing international visitor spend to $6bn by the year 2020.
Gregor told TheShout there are a variety of alcoholic beverages manufactured in Australia, and as a result the entire drinks category needed to be promoted equally.
“Australia has great wine, great cider, great beer, great spirits – so I think it is time that we grew up and realised that it is not just about ‘food and wine’ – it is about ‘food and drink’,” he said.
“There are many parts of the country where there are some great products and even urban places in Sydney and Melbourne where there are great distilleries and no wineries.
“We need to grow up a bit and recognise our spirits industry in particular is growing rapidly and we as a nation should start thinking about food and drink and not just about food and wine because there are a lot of people that don’t like wine but they love to drink a gin or a rum from Queensland or a whisky from Tasmania.
“The Tasmanian whisky industry is arguably as important or more important than the Tasmanian wine industry to that State’s economy so they get a bit cross when there is all that talk about ‘Food and Wine’.
Gregor said that export sales of Four Pillars was growing, with the gin now available in 16 countries.
“The reason I am at this event today is because two of my staff are in Taipei and Korea as part of a Victorian trade delegation so we hope to be in 10 counties across Asia pretty soon. Export is now 10 to 15 per cent of turnover at the moment but it is growing very quickly. We would hope that it is 30 per cent in the next couple of years.”