In the 2022 National Liquor News Industry Leaders Forum, Diageo Australia’s Managing Director, Angus McPherson, discusses how the company is contributing to positive change.

For one of the world’s biggest spirits suppliers, the Australian industry is an exciting place to be right now. Angus McPherson, Managing Director for Diageo Australia, said although 2021 was a tough year, successes over this time show a bright future ahead.

“I’m proud of the strong performance we’ve delivered in the Australian market despite the challenges of the last 12 months. We had to be agile to navigate our way through these challenges and because of that we’ve been able to leverage different opportunities to drive growth and bring new consumers into the spirits category through our market leading portfolio of brands,” he said.

“We found some creative ways to inspire consumers on how to make great cocktails at home and turbocharged our innovation pipeline, launching 45 per cent more NPD in F21 than the previous year including the first Johnnie Walker Black RTD anywhere in the world and the local launch of Gordon’s 0.0% that will benefit from the huge growth we’re seeing in the low and no alcohol category.”

McPherson said Diageo sees great potential in this exciting environment, and: “In 2022, we’ll be looking to provide even more support to our customers on category development. That’s where suppliers really need to focus their efforts if they want to best support their customers to capitalise on emerging trends and respond to consumer demand.”

With production sites in western Sydney and Bundaberg in Queensland, the local Diageo business represents 30 per cent of the spirits market in Australia, producing more than 10 million cases annually. Eighty per cent of what is sold in Australia is bottled locally, which has helped minimise ongoing global supply chain impacts.

McPherson said: “Managing those challenges and mitigating the risks is all in effective planning and forecasting. We’ve had a lot of practice over the last 18 months in preparing for all sorts of challenges and putting contingency plans in place to avoid as much disruption as possible.”

Positive change

Diageo has been engaged in several positive change initiatives in recent years in a number of sectors. This includes the Bundaberg Rum Raising the Bar program, which saw $11.5 million invested into supporting the Australian hospitality industry as it struggled with pandemic restrictions.

Another area of positive change has been in diversity and inclusion, with Diageo named as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality in 2021 for the third year running; a Diversity Council Australia Inclusive Employer 2021-22 for the second time; and a global signatory to the Unstereotype Alliance, of which it is a proud founding member for the first Australian chapter of the organisation.

“Our goal is to work with our partners to be a driving force in the effort to accelerate and transform the industry to be more representative, progressive, and equal,” McPherson said.

Meanwhile, sustainability continues to be a focus for Diageo on a global scale as it continues to target the goals set out in the Society 2030: Spirit of Progress plan. Alongside this, in 2021 came the first newto-world brand for Diageo in 15 years – Reeftip Drinks Co., with a range of spiced rum RTDs and a full size bottled spirit.

“It’s a home-grown drinks brand with a bold purpose because from day one Reeftip has committed to donating 10 per cent of its profits to the Coral Nurture Program, a world-first science and tourism partnership to support the growth of new corals in the Great Barrier Reef,” McPherson said.

Read more from the 2022 National Liquor News Leaders Forum here.

Brydie Allen

Brydie Allen is the Editor of National Liquor News. She has been with Food and Beverage Media since 2019, when she joined the company as a journalist across National Liquor News, Bars & Clubs, The...

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