By James Wells

Liquor Barons will provide a stronger focus on craft beer through its marketing and merchandising strategy over the coming 12 months.

According to Liquor Barons general manager, Chris O’Brien, the wine-focused retailer will prioritise its development of craft beer category through catalogue initiatives and marketing to a younger demographic.

“If I look ahead, I think our head office needs some extra capability in craft beer. I make a joke internally that we need to employ a tattooed bearded hipster and give us some capability in that craft beer space,” O’Brien said at the group’s recent Transatlantic conference.

“I see craft beer in Australia following what’s happening in the US where craft beer is the star category. US retailers don’t advertise wine – they advertise craft beer. So that is a long way from where we are today, and this is something where we need to be on the front foot.

“In terms of marketing to craft beer enthusiasts, we are under-represented in the 21 to 45 year-old demographic as well as female-friendly messaging. Diversity and inclusion is important and if we ignore this younger group of people and create an offer that is too focused on what we are used to we are really going to be in a world of pain. We need to be very careful around being too narrow in terms of broad based advertising and marketing.

“This doesn’t mean that we are moving away from mainstream beer or moving from wine to beer or spirits or anything else. What it means is the consumer is really interested in craft beer right now so our advertising and promotion won’t change a great deal but some of the emphasis we see will move from the products we currently move to a bit more of a craft beer focus.

“For example in the recent WA Day catalogue we moved craft beer from where it normally was in the back of the catalogue to pages two and three and then wine followed. This is where we can add a little bit more emphasis to this category of product that the consumer is really seeking at the moment, which does not mean we are walking away from the core of the business which is the best selling beer, wine and spirits to our customers.”

The Shout Team

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

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