By Charlie Whitting, Assistant Editor, National Liquor News
Pernod Ricard Australia (PRA) enjoyed a successful 2018, with a host of new launches including Beefeater Pink, Allt-á-Bhainne and Brancott Estate Identity, as well as the reintroduction of Glenlivet 12. But when Bryan Fry, Managing Director of PRA, thinks about 2019, there is one key word on his mind: premiumisation.
“We need to continue to reinforce the quality and craftmanship of our wines and spirits. We have one of the greatest brand portfolios in the world. For example, Champagne is performing well in Australia, and we are seeing premium Champagne (above $60) in double digit growth, which is perfect for our GH Mumm Millésimé and our entire Perrier-Jouët range. However, we need to manage the fact that our supply is not bottomless, demand is outstripping availability, especially as it takes time and craftsmanship to create.”
Beyond premiumisation, PRA is also looking at other major trends for 2019, such as “convenience, sustainability, the revival of gin, and the resurgence of whisky”, as the company looks to respond to consumer demands.
“Our consumers are on-the-go more than ever before, and want quality wines and spirits, but also great experiences that go with them. We’ve tapped into this with the launch of cans for Jacob’s Creek Brancott Estate and Kahlua Espresso Martinis, which use smart nitrogen integration to bring bubbles to the surface instantly to recreate the creamy foam of an Espresso Martini.
“Our consumers are keen to understand what our brands stand for and how they’re giving back to the community. We’ve focused this year on great initiatives including the Altos Global Sustainability Competition, and Absolut’s commitment to a CO2 neutral distillation process celebrated by the Laid Bare campaign. Pernod Ricard Winemakers committed to 100 per cent renewable electricity in Australia by mid-2019.
“We are seeing more men drinking rosé, we are seeing more women drinking whisky, and the resurgence across genders and ages will play a big part in our activity next year, particularly for our latest release, Allt-á-Bhainne.”
Allt-á-Bhainne, a peated Speyside whisky, was created to reflect the adventurous and unconventional consumer demands and Fry believes this “challenger whisky… will succeed in pushing the boundaries and meeting the needs of the whole new generation of whisky drinkers in 2019”.
This year, PRA will also focus on communication, whether it’s improving online consumer activations or “maintaining a two-way dialogue” with customers. Making research products easily accessible on mobiles, capturing consumer data and making brand platforms more seamless are all PRA targets for 2019.
“We’re developing a suite of engaging social content that can be easily accessed by retailers for use on their platforms, and we’re continually looking for new innovative digital initiatives.
“Maintaining a two-way dialogue with all of our customers is essential to ensure that we are meeting their needs and maximising the strength of the portfolio in the market. Our role is to be the best possible conjugate between the product and the consumer. The key question we ask ourselves is how do we bring more value to the consumer than just price?”
There are always new questions to be answered as each year passes and Fry thinks that the on-the-go approach will continue to drive “demand for convenience and delivery services”, while responsible drinking and responsible practices are also topics requiring swift and decisive action.
“We are working on bringing new skills and capabilities into our business to ensure we are adapting to the changes demanded by consumers. We also believe that it is critical that the industry remains united in continuing the fantastic work done so far with regard to promoting responsible consumption and building a more sustainable industry for the future. The continued growth of local wine, spirits and beer producers, as well as the growth of existing players, has seen positive job growth and economic contribution.”