In the 2021 National Liquor News Industry Leaders Forum, we caught up with Brenton Quirini, Managing Director of Empire Liquor, to discuss how Empire has become the home for iconic British beers. 

Having established itself as one of Australia’s best authentic international wholesalers more than 27 years ago, Empire Liquor has continually extended its portfolio. Despite the difficulties of 2020, it has introduced a unique range of British beers earlier this year, adding to an already mouth-watering selection of international beers.

Empire Liquor’s Managing Director Brenton Quirini said: “The addition of the highly awarded and respected brands of Greene King, Old Speckled Hen and Belhaven will increase our ability to provide for enthusiasts of authentic British ales, porters and stouts nationally.”

He said these additions are part of Empire Liquor’s focus in 2021, centred on growing the national customer footprint through
new brands and new product distribution.

“Brand stewardship is a core responsibility that I value, and we have enjoyed wonderful relationships with several beer and wine partners: many dating back to our establishment year of 1993. Our aim is to be a brand custodian, with long-term partnerships and joint outcomes as key goals… These [new additions] will continue our policy of ‘all imported beers must be brewed in the country of origin and 100 per cent authentic’,” Quirini said.

Empire Liquor’s expansion this year isn’t unfamiliar to the business’ history of exceptional selections for customers. Its beer journey started back in 1999, when Quirini seized an opportunity to enhance the portfolio by adding a selection of international
beers alongside the existing wine range.

“We reached out to several importers who were not actively represented in South Australia, as we already had the existing restaurant customers,” he said.

“The addition of beers from Italy, China, Vietnam, Germany, and others was well received, and our portfolio developed from there. This worked extremely well for us, and we built a solid business on providing beer that was relevant to a customer experience.”

In 2002 Empire began importing Hofbräu from Munich, Germany, and then in 2013 added Fuller’s from London, making it the first company in Australia to import Fuller’s in kegs.

Through Quirini’s passion for offering Australian businesses the best of international brewers, Empire Liquor has become the
home of British ales, porters and stouts.

“I suppose I am more of a ‘traditionalist’, but if you consider the popular beer styles made by craft brewers – not only from
Australia, but from around the world – many of them are modelled on ales, porters, and stouts from the UK,” he said.

“We have seen a new interest and appreciation for these classic beer styles over the past 12 months, not just from ‘old time’ British expats, but from the ‘new brigade’ of craft beer drinkers that have discovered these timeless brewing beauties and wish to experience authentic brewing history for themselves.”

Quirini also told National Liquor News Empire Liquor has just secured a mixed container of Spanish wines from four smaller producers and regions, to offer new stocking opportunities of organic reds and whites as a well as a great value Cava made by
the sparkling winemaker for the Royal House of Spain.

This is another example of Empire Liquor’s commitment to cross category brand custodianship, as Quirini noted: “This is an
authentic business, and it is an honour to represent this brand, considering their history, awards, and reputation.”

You can read this story and many more in the 2021 National Liquor News Industry Leaders Forum here. 

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