In the 2021 National Liquor News Industry Leaders Forum, Bryan Fry, CEO of Pernod Ricard Winemakers, talked about the role of technology and how it contributes to adaptability post-pandemic. 

The year 2020 has been no stretch of the bizarre and unpredictable, but through it all, the people behind Pernod Ricard Winemakers have embraced flexibility and shown great resilience, according to CEO and Chairman, Bryan Fry. He said their performance has helped the company analyse market trends that he believes will lead to notable positive outcomes in 2021.

In parallel to the company’s own unwavering support internally, its customers have also shown flexibility and resilience as they adapt to the changing environment.

“We’ve shown great resilience in the face of many challenges and adversity and I hope everyone heads into 2021 feeling proud of all we’ve achieved over the last year as a collective industry,” Fry said.

Pernod Ricard now turns its focus in 2021 to working closely with its customers, ensuring it has the right products, at the right time and the right price. To do so, Pernod Ricard had to reassess what new norms have developed in domestic and international perspectives during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“[We will assess] with regards to off-premise, on-premise and e-commerce, as well as the experiences consumers want, for example, how they shop and interact with our products,” Fry said.

“Flexibility and focus will continue to be important – it’s likely that we will have at least six months where international travel will continue to be restrained, which of course impacts things like duty-free, but then we will potentially be moving into a very different climate towards the end of the year.”

Keeping up with consumer trends

Wine lovers throughout Australia have had to adapt their methods of consumption due to on-premise venue closures and limited capacity seating since the start of the pandemic. As a result, consumers are purchasing wine through e-commerce channels for home consumption purposes, according to Fry.

“There’s an opportunity to capitalise on the great strides that the consumer has made this year in relation to the use of digital technology. We need to consider the ways we can build on that, as a company and as an industry,” he said.

“The biggest trend for wine in 2020 was definitely home consumption, and we worked closely with our retail and e-commerce partners to capitalise on this trend.”

Pernod Ricard also explored the growing popularity of light and fresh wines, in particular, with the growth of rosé and lighter style reds such as Grenache and Pinot Noir. The launch of Pernod Ricard’s Jacob Sparkling, Rosie, Mumm Marlborough and the relaunch of Orlando captured the needs of consumers. He said consumers were also treating themselves more often and in smaller social settings.

“Last year more couples were consuming wine, rather than large groups, so there were some opportunities in relation to different formats such as half bottles of Champagne, which we sold out globally for G.H. Mumm in this format.”

With the multitude of consumer trends set to continue developing this year, Fry says Pernod Ricard’s customers should be excited for the new products it has in the development pipeline.

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