By James Atkinson

Woolworths Liquor Group has set up a training division called The Drinks Academy to better equip employees with product knowledge and customer service skills. 

The Drinks Academy has a team of drinks training specialists across the country and is headed up by Viona Young.

"We established the Academy to assist with our aspiration of telling the stories of the brands we represent," Young told TheShout.

"The idea was to take training out to the stores, rather than taking team members off the floors."

She said there are two streams of training: product knowledge and customer service. 

"Modules are structured by drinks category and begin at a very basic introductory level. Other modules, which will incorporate a progressive learning approach, are in development," she said.

"The content deep dives into the brands – where they come from, what’s unique about them, who’s behind them." 

"It’s about getting team members excited about our product range, including the grape growers, winemakers and small batch producers who inject the personality into those brands," said Young. 

She said the training is currently being rolled out across the country, with the current focus on BWS.

"The program is also in roll-out across Dan Murphy’s but will be slightly different in structure due to the differences between the businesses (181 large Dan Murphy’s stores with a broader product range versus around 1230 small BWS stores)," Young said.

"In Dan Murphy's the drinks training specialists replace the old fine wine specialists."

She said the program will never be ‘complete’ across the business, as Woolworths is always employing new team members and aims to continuously improve their knowledge. 

"It is an ongoing program. The response from store managers has been terrific; they can’t wait to get it in-store," said Young.

The Shout Team

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

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1 Comment

  1. It is great to hear that Woolworths, a leader in the premium spirits category, continues to expand it’s presence through the education of staff and ultimately the community. This is precisely what my company is all about – education of the market about quality spirits.
    I applaud their (Woolworths) initiatives!
    Education, not punitive fines and ‘punishment’ programs offered by the current government will do more to reduce the so called ‘alcohol-fueled violence’ the media broadcasts, almost daily.
    Congratulations, Woolworths! You are on the right path.
    Curt York
    Quittin’ Time Pty Ltd

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