In the 2021 National Liquor News Industry Leaders Forum, Dean Taylor, CEO and Founder of Wine Depot, spoke about a big first year for the company and a strong future ahead.
It is not uncommon to hear about the difficult time felt by businesses throughout the liquor industry in 2020. However, for relatively new company Wine Depot, this couldn’t be further from the reality.
In its first full year in business, the COVID-19 pandemic helped boost Wine Depot’s direct-to-consumer sales channels. The compounding effect from a spike of new customers skyrocketed Wine Depot’s annual revenue growth in excess of 1000 per cent.
Wine Depot’s Founder and CEO Dean Taylor said while it was a difficult year for the majority of the industry: “we found ourselves in the right place at the right time.”
The first stage of Wine Depot’s online platform had just launched last year, providing producers with an affordable end-to-end fulfillment solution. From there, Wine Depot expanded significantly, hosting craft spirit, cider, beer and non-alcoholic beverage producers.
On the back of unprecedented 2020 growth, Wine Depot turns its immediate focus this year towards the launch of its Direct-to-Trade Marketplace. Due to launch in March 2021, the platform will allow Wine Depot’s affiliated producers to sell directly to “tens of thousands of trade buyers for a fraction of the cost of traditional distribution.”
“Not only will they be able to own and manage their customer relationships, but also get paid within two to three days of sale, dramatically shortening their cash cycles. On the other hand, venue operators such as restaurants and bottle shops will benefit from a much simpler inventory ordering experience, where they can open one account, place one order, get one delivery, receive one invoice, make one payment – all through one consolidated line of credit,” Taylor said.
Businesses throughout the wine industry were rocked by the Chinese Government’s tariff on Australian wine exports late last year. However, Wine Depot quickly adjusted its business functionality, providing registered businesses discounted pricing for larger purchases.
Taylor said: “I saw it as a way to provide the hundreds of our affiliated producers another channel to help clear excess inventory stemming from the recent collapse of the Chinese wine export market. There’s no doubt that this is going to place downward pressure on local retail prices as those most exposed look to clear excess inventory.”
More on the horizon
Wine Depot experienced a myriad of growth in 2020, growing its core staff from just six to 36, while increasing its customer database to more than 350 wineries. It also expand its network of temperature controlled depots across Australia and plans to expand into New Zealand this year.
Off the back of this, Wine Depot is undoubtedly set to have a busy year ahead. And so on top of the new Direct-to-Trade Marketplace, Wine Depot will also be launching its ‘Insider Trading’ program.
“It is an invitation only wine club for those working within the wine and hospitality industries,” Taylor told National Liquor News.
“The key benefit for ‘Insiders’ will be the ability to purchase directly from producers at ‘industry prices’ but also access to range of social media and networking tools to keep abreast of what’s happening within the industry.”
Other benefits include invitations to trade tastings, master classes and other industry only events. Details can be found at the Wine Depot website – www.winedepot.com.
Get more great Leaders Forum stories like this straight to your inbox alongside all the latest off-premise industry news by signing up to the National Liquor News newsletter here.