In the 2021 National Liquor News Industry Leaders Forum, Peter Bingeman, General Manager Sales at Carlton & United Breweries, talks about the focuses and challenges for the year ahead.

A year of low on-premise liquor sales throughout 2020 wasn’t enough to stop Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) from taking the next step towards improving its extensive range of products for its customers.

The integration of CUB into Asahi Beverages last year sent waves of excitement throughout the company and industry, putting CUB in a stronger position for 2021. Peter Bingeman, General Manager Sales at CUB, said the combination of the businesses was well executed despite the unusual circumstances during the Coronavirus pandemic and it had been pleasing to learn how nimble Asahi was in minimising disruptions to CUB’s customers at such a critical time.

“We’re really excited by the combined portfolio we’re now able to offer our customers, but we don’t take anything for granted,” Bingeman said.

“I’ve been really impressed with Asahi’s focus on category solutions and their keenness to listen to the customer and to work to enhance growth together.

“I think this year provides the combined business with an amazing opportunity across the beverages landscape given Asahi Beverages’ breadth and depth of portfolio.”

With a new business layout and a new year comes a stronger resolve and priorities for CUB. Bingeman said one of CUB’s first priorities is to continue investing in its well-known and big brands, offering customers reliable and popular brands in challenging times.

“What we are finding is that in times of uncertainty, people return to the brands and products they know, trust and love, and that includes many of our great beers,” Bingeman added.

He also noted the importance of flexibility for CUB, as the full impacts of the pandemic are yet to be felt in the market.

Bingeman said that a large priority is to: “make sure our business is focused on and acting with agility to the changed behaviours that have come about as a result of the pandemic.”

For CUB, its expected challenges for 2021 are the same as its opportunities. As Bingeman said: “Consumer behaviour has been significantly impacted by the pandemic – whether that’s come about due to government restrictions, individuals’ health concerns, or because we’ve found new and better ways of doing things.

“Our challenge and opportunity is in determining which changes are permanent, and which are temporary, and how we structure our business to meet these expectations.

Customers spoilt for options

CUB is already home to some of Australia’s most famous beers, and now with the inclusion of Asahi Beverages, Bingeman is excited for the opportunities 2021 will hold for its ever-expanding customer base.

“Whatever the occasion, from a classic pot of Carlton Draught in the pub to craft beer exploration with Mountain Goat, from easier-drinking contemporary beers like Great Northern to the premium international experience with Asahi, not to mention Pepsi, Schweppes and our amazing ready to drink options like Cruiser, we now truly are a one-stop-shop beverages company.”

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