Paramount Liquor has launched a new banner group, BottleStop, which CEO Nathan Rowe describes as a next-generation banner that puts retailers in control.

BottleStop was launched at Paramount’s first Re:Tail series of events in Melbourne this week, with more than 150 people from the city’s off-premise in attendance at The Wool Mill in Brunswick East.

During the event, National Liquor News took the opportunity to sit down with Rowe, to learn more about the BottleStop concept, how it will differ to Paramount Liquor’s premium retail offering, Sessions, and how it will carve its own niche in the market.

Rowe explained that while Sessions plays in a more premium space, the BottleStop concept will be more mainstream with a technology-first approach. Paramount has developed Beverage Cloud, a beverage industry specific POS system, that integrates e-commerce, loyalty, and an app, and will be provided free to Sessions and BottleStop members.

“What we have found is that we have a really great opportunity to execute with a tech-first approach to try and unlock the capabilities within the independent market through the execution of our POS system, Beverage Cloud,” says Rowe.

“We want to make sure that the retailers that come on board with our group believe in the vision that we’ve got, which is about embracing technology, and also the fact that we’ll be able to continue to innovate our technology, Beverage Cloud, which will drive innovation through the independent network.

“We want to reduce that barrier to entry for retailers to make that leap of faith over to Paramount and our groups.”

Paramount Liquor has an ambitious five-year strategy, which includes the Sessions banner growing to around 50 stores, and building a network of around 150 to 200 BottleStop stores.

“We are anticipating a strong year in the retail sector and are excited to be bolstering Sessions by adding more stores across all states, and the addition of our new banner group, BottleStop.

“Currently we have around 16 Sessions stores and over the course of five years we’d expect that to get to about 50, and that’s because it’s a niche offering – we don’t want to put Sessions into the wrong store formats.

“We expect BottleStop to be a larger network with around 150 to 200 stores within that five-year growth strategy.

“But I’m very conscious to not just rely on store numbers because more importantly it’s about quality of the members and them delivering good volume growth for our supplier partners and being part of a community driving the whole network forward.

“We’re investing into this retail network because we believe in it, and we think that there is a better way to do retailing in the independent world.”

Paramount has grown from being a Victorian-based wholesaler on a medium-sized scale, to now being the second largest wholesaler in Australia.

“We’ve got our business to a $500m revenue business and we’re looking to double our business again over the next five years, and part of that is our retail growth strategy,” says Rowe.

So far, four retailers have signed onto the BottleStop banner, and we can expect to see the first stores opening over the next couple of months in Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia. Beyond that, the banner will venture into Queensland.

“We now know that we have the right resources within our business to allow us to capitalise on the retail market,” says Rowe.

“With Sessions it was the right time for us to dip our toe in the water and now that we’re of a lot larger scale from a national perspective and from an infrastructure perspective, we’ve got the resources within our business to really go after retail now. We’ve taken a lot of learning through that Covid period around digital marketing and technology and how to best approach our entry into retail, because it wasn’t something that we wanted to take lightly – so there is a lot of capability within the Paramount network to be able to support retail.  

“We’ve also engaged in conversations with our supplier partners about the launch of BottleStop and the new technology that we’ve built, and the resounding feedback is that when we execute this, it will be best in class for the independent market.”

Deborah Jackson

Deb joined Intermedia in 2015 as Editor of National Liquor News and Deputy Editor of The Shout. Since then, she has also worked as the Editor of Beer & Brewer and the New Zealand title, World of Wine....