In the 2022 National Liquor News Industry Leaders Forum, Good Drinks Australia’s Managing Director, John Hoedemaker, said the company has met its goal of being one of the country’s leading independent beer producers.

A long-standing goal of the Good Drinks Australia business has been to become one of the leading independent sales and marketing groups in the liquor market nationwide.

In 2021, it was finally able to tick that goal off the list in what Managing Director, John Hoedemaker, called “a remarkable year,” driven by great execution across the board.

“The team delivered on our strategy to grow distributions, sales and the relevance of our brands not only in Western Australia but across the eastern seaboard. We’ve seen record production of near on 20 million litres, healthy 40 per cent growth in revenues leading to strong earnings growth. As always, we’ve reinvested those earnings back into the business to continue to drive growth,” Hoedemaker told National Liquor News.

Throughout the year, Good Drinks focused on expanding the sales team’s footprint, bolstering the field force numbers and key account servicing, and increased the marketing team’s capabilities and budget.

2021 also saw Good Drinks champion a venue strategy, opening the Atomic Beer Project in Sydney and designing and constructing the Gage Roads Brewery in Fremantle. Moves were also made in Queensland, where Good Drinks purchased a heritage venue in Eumundi, which will become the site for a Matso’s Brewery.

This venue strategy will continue to be an immediate focus for Good Drinks in the year ahead, especially with the recent opening of the Gage Roads Fremantle venue, which Hoedemaker said was the “spiritual home” of the brand.

For the wider coming year, there are several other exciting things on the table for Good Drinks.

“On the opportunity side, with our broadened and very capable independent national sales and marketing team, we’d like to see if there are opportunities to work with other exciting brands to broaden our portfolio and to continue to add scale and capability to our sales and marketing teams. It’s a fine line to not burden the team with too many brands, but we feel there is still a little room for nicely complementary and interesting brands winning in segments where we are not already represented,” Hoedemaker said.

Despite some challenges also predicted, particularly as WA opens up to a fuller impact of the pandemic than ever before, Hoedemaker added that he is confident in the strategy and the prevailing core appeal of Good Drinks.

He said: “I think we build successful brands by concentrating on the basics. On the product level we have a very credible brewery and brew team, the quality and consistency of our brews stands the test of time. We build brands that are unique in flavour and proposition, however can also be enjoyed by a vast majority of consumers.”

Stars of the portfolio

During a positive year for the Good Drinks portfolio, star products were easy to find. Hoedemaker said this includes big brands like Gage Roads Single Fin Summer Ale and Matso’s Ginger Beer, continuing to grow between 34 and 40 per cent. New Gage Roads brands like Side Track All Day XPA and Pipe Dreams Coastal Lager are also performing well, tapping into areas of craft beer growth.

“It’s great to see Gage Roads grow from strength to strength. Gage Roads is really all about championing that coastal lifestyle that so many of us enjoy, so it’s great to see more and more consumers getting a sense of that last coastal holiday, fishing or surfing trip every time they crack open a Gage,” Hoedemaker 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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