By Amy Looker

A panel of key liquor industry stakeholders addressed delegates at last week’s Australian Liquor Stores Association (ALSA) conference, calling for the retail liquor industry to work together to achieve better outcomes.

ALSA president, Mal Higgs, Diageo Australia managing director, Tim Salt, Lion Nathan Australia managing director, James Brindley, and Carlton & United Breweries sales director, Peter Cantwell, and business coach, Lesley-Ann Grimoldby, were quizzed by media identity and business commentator, Peter Switzer, on the state of the industry.

When questioned about the impact of alcohol on the community, Mal Higgs admitted the industry had a right to be concerned.

“Yes, we are worried about the amount of attention that alcohol attracts in the media and from the community,” he told delgates.

However, Higgs pointed to DrinkWise as a positive step in the right direction.

“It got off to a slow start but is definitely on track now," he said.

Diageo’s Tim Salt said he has seen growth coming back to spirits and RTDs, while Lion Nathan’s James Brindley said that there was no doubt the introduction of the RTD tax had helped breweries achieve growth, particularly in the craft, premium and imported beer categories.

When asked to comment on the best approach to retailing in the lead up to Christmas trading, Higgs stressed that retailers need to play to their strengths.

“It’s going to be a quiet trading time in the lead up to Christmas,” Higgs said. “It’s important for retailers to get the mix of sales right.”

Salt, meanwhile, told delegates to be proactive in their approach.

“You’ve got to get on the front foot and demonstrate that we’re making progress as an industry," he said.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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