In the 2021 National Liquor News Industry Leaders Forum, Lion’s Managing Director James Brindley spoke about sparking life in the industry ahead of the recent announcement of the company’s on-premise National Local Day initiative.
Lion has cultivated a reputation for offering many classic beers of choice for Australian consumers. In 2021, it is hoping to use that reputation to help its customers and their businesses navigate the dangerous waters of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Managing Director James Brindley said there is a silver lining in the destruction the pandemic has wreaked on the industry.
“In many ways I think 2020 has made us more collaborative, resilient and solutions-focused as an industry,” Brindley said.
“We will harness the learnings from this period to become a stronger business as we move into 2021, and we will walk the road to recovery alongside our customers, suppliers and valued partners.”
Lion itself was able to combat difficulties of 2020 by ramping up production and doing what it could to forecast in an everchanging environment, while always keeping the focus on its customers and how to help them navigate their own challenges.
This is something that the brewer will continue into 2021 within its holistic approach to aid industry recovery this year, with plans to boost sociability for both on- and off-premise consumers. Lion plans to provide products and launch initiatives that retail customers will be excited about, generating important discussions, inspiring social behaviour and encouraging the support of local business.
“We have a number of new community initiatives in the works for 2021 as well, which we hope will start conversations around some of the social issues that 2020 has exacerbated, like isolation and loneliness,” Brindley said.
“In addition, there are plenty of exciting new projects coming up across our portfolio of core beer brands, and look forward to seeing how our 2020 releases are embraced by beer drinkers around the country.”
Meanwhile, Brindley said some strategies for the on-premise industry include: “supporting the local venues across Australia… that play such an important role in bringing us together and keeping us connected”.
“A big challenge for Lion and the industry more broadly will be understanding how we can encourage more people out and about again to support local venues,” he said.
“A cold beer on tap at a local pub, club or bar is such an Australian way of connecting with others, and you simply cannot beat the taste of a Tooheys New, XXXX Gold or Furphy on tap at your local.”
Lion’s sustainability strategy is another focus for 2021. After becoming Australia’s first large-scale carbon neutral brewer it has set the bar high for itself and intends on following through.
Brindley said: “We have set ourselves a target to use 100 per cent renewable electricity in all our breweries by 2025, as a further mechanism by which to reduce our carbon footprint.”