Australian Liquor Marketers (ALM) hosted its inaugural Supplier Conference in Sydney last month, which brought together more than 200 suppliers in the spirit of partnership.

The content for the day was structured around the feedback ALM received directly from suppliers through the Advantage Report – both good and areas to improve. With every presentation laddering up to the business strategy house of famous, frictionless and sticky, ALM showcased its strategy into execution for wholesale, on-premise, IBA retail banners, operations and committees.

Central to the conference was ALM’s purpose of ‘championing successful independents.’ Through each session, ALM demonstrated the importance of its role as ‘the big guy helping the little guys’, and how beneficial it was for the retail and supply side of the industry to connect on a human level.

For Josh Gaudry, General Manager of Marketing, Digital and Loyalty at ALM, this togetherness was a meaningful outcome from the conference and the networking drinks which followed.

“My absolute highlight was bringing this community of suppliers together in person. Our industry is about sociability. What other industry can you think of that fierce rivals can come together in the same room, participate in the experience of our sharing in our strategy and then come together for a sociable drink afterwards? We’re proud to be able to facilitate that and are quite happy to leave two hour Zoom calls behind in the COVID years,” Gaudry said.

Accolade Wines was one supplier in attendance which saw this value. The company’s Head of Independents, Jonathan Chang, congratulated ALM on a fantastic event.

“There was a real sense of collaboration and aligned purpose as we heard about how we can work together to champion and support independent liquor retailers across Australia,” Chang said.

“It was also a really valuable opportunity not only to network across the industry but also to celebrate the sociability that is so central to our industry.”

Hayley Fazakerley, National Account Manager for IBA at Accolade Wines, was in full agreement, adding that it was a great opportunity for open two-way dialogue about each arm of the ALM business.

“From a strategy perspective, we learned more about ALM’s strategy to champion successful independents and how we as suppliers can be part of this and work collaboratively to drive immediate and future growth,” she said.

“It was great to learn more about ALM’s and IBA’s priorities and strategies and their mindset of continuous improvement, including detailed plans by banner across wholesale, retail and on-premise.”

Throughout each session, suppliers were impressed by the transparency from ALM about its blueprints for IBA retail banners, as well as its strategies as a wholesaler and on-premise supplier. Diageo, for example, noted that this uncovered innovative ways the companies can partner together in the year ahead and beyond.

Nigel Hahnel, National Business Manager – Independents at Diageo, said: “The consistency in strategy enables us to better plan and execute, as does getting real insight into the IBA banner strategy.

“As an insight-led business, Diageo is always keen to collaborate more in this space to really unlock value for the customer, the shoppers and the category.”

The ALM Supplier Conference didn’t just focus on the bigger suppliers either – with a core desire to create a level playing field, ALM welcomed smaller and independent producers as well. This included Hawkes Brewing Co., which congratulated the ALM team on an informative and useful day.

Vince Bateman, National Sales Director – Retail at Hawkes Brewing Co., said a particular highlight was the team “bringing to life the integration of the ALM strategy across the various business functions, the proposed improvements in process and clarity in the contact matrix, all of which will make doing business that much easier.

“As a smaller supplier it was good to understand the evolving banner partner opportunities available to us, particularly as we grow our brand and expand into new markets.”

Chris Baddock, CEO of ALM, closed the conference by reinforcing ALM’s philosophy that success needed to be founded in partnerships, with both retailers and suppliers. Baddock did this by quoting an African proverb: “If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together.”

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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