A View from Behind the Bar: 2015 Trends from Jenna Hemsworth

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Suggestions of trending Wine, Beer and Spirits from One of Australia’s Top 5 Bartenders, Jenna Hemsworth.

Across all categories, Australia is producing some of the world’s most exciting adult beverage brands. Whether it’s Tasmanian whisky, Victorian wine, or craft beer from Byron Bay, you are sure to find stellar local offerings from wineries, distilleries and breweries around the country.

As Australians search for their favourite new independent libations, bartenders offer some of the most in depth insight into the industry. They are tasting, experimenting and serving up new flavours developed to delight the palette and kindle the spirit. If you are lucky enough to call one of our country’s great bartenders your friend, then you are likely tasting something truly special on a daily basis.

We are excited to have had the oppurtunity to talk with Jenna Hemsworth – what better source to get updated on what’s going on in the Australian Industry than from one of Australia’s most loved bartenders?

Australia Trade Tasting gets exclusive tasting notes from Jenna Hemsworth, Diageo Reserve World Class Top 100 Bartenders (Top 5 in Australia), on some of Australia’s most exciting distilleries, breweries and wineries.

Mr Black

Mr Black is an interesting Coffee liqueur from Erina, NSW.

Cold drip coffee liqueur. Retains the taste of fresh espresso, rather than sweetening it up with vanillas and caramels, great for coffee lovers as it tastes closer to coffee than a liqueur. Not overly bitter, well-rounded liqueur.

Four Pillars:

Four Pillars is a Australian staple gin coming out the Yarra Valley, VIC. They have three gins on the market (their original gin, a barrel-aged gin and a navy strength gin).

Original gin utilises whole oranges in the distillation process, leaving a superbly fresh, light and vibrant distillate. Pepperberry leaf and lemon myrtle are wonderful native ingredients used to add a touch of Australian influence and modernity.

Aged gin is rested in ex-Chardonnay French oak barrels, mellowing the gin so it can be sipped over ice or neat and chilled.

Navy strength adds finger limes into the distillate and cuts the percentage of oranges in the distillate, raises the abv to 58.8% for an intense, citrusy and lively gin that goes perfectly into a fresh lime gimlet (my favourite with this gin!).

Overeem:

Overeem Whisky is from Old Hobart Distillery.

There are two  main offerings of Overeem: Sherry and port matured whiskeys aged in 100L ex-port French oak barrels (quarter cask) and Sherry-matured whiskey in ex-sherry French oak barrels, also quarter cask/100L. Both come in 43% and cask strength variances. Superbly balanced, rich and complex whiskeys- a great example of Australian whiskey production and one of my go-to Aussie whisky brands.

Belgrove:

Belgrove Whisky is a great Tasmanian Offering.

Peter Bignell creates his own biodiesel on site in order to grow and process his own rye to create his whiskey on site. They have a white rye (unaged) and aged rye, as well as two rare releases of an oat whiskey and peated rye. I can honestly say all four of these products are exceptional- I am a massive fan of rye whiskey and it can easily stand up to the American brands! It is a different taste however, in a category of its own.

Belgrove is a sustainable distillery and his spent mash is fed to his animals on his farm, which is pretty cool. Great balance of sweet/savoury/spice throughout the range, with the aged rye developing this superb complexity through the barrel ageing process.

Edge Brewing Project:

Edge Brewing is From North Melbourne, VIC.
There Cool Hops stands out. It is the most prevalent variety I have seen out and about.  It’s Sessionable, hop-forward and a true to style pilsner.
They also offer ‘Addiction’ (english pale ale), Angel of Zest (saison/farmhouse style), Angry Pirate (american pale ale), Ashes to Mashes Wattleseed stout (Export stout), Cool hops (german pilsner), Cryonic hops (American double/imperial pilsner), Southern Hemisphere IPA (american double/imperial IPA).  All of which trying are a bit harder to find, but worthy of a try when you get the chance.

Killer Sprocket:

Killer Sprocket was founded in 2012- from Cavalier brewing (West of Melbourne, VIC).

‘Bandit’ is style peated pale ale which has 10% peated malt in it. It’s a very interesting brew worth keeping your eye out for. Another one of their interesting offerings is an experimental American Pale Ale which they add juniper berries to. Their ‘Hey Juniper.’   has a distinctly piney taste.

Holgate Brew House

Holgate Brew House is located in Woodend, regional VIC.

Their Mt Macedon Pale Ale is a broadly appealing, easy drinking Pale Ale worthy of any summer day.

Road Trip is their American IPA) and is a really sessionable, super hoppy offering.
ESB (extra special bitter) is a classic, earthy, English bitter and is a good ‘pub beer.’
Temptress is thier chocolate porter and is INCREDIBLE. My favourite, it’s infused with Dutch cocoa and whole vanilla beans.
Pilsner is their german style lager. Light bodied, massive flavour, is an easy drinker. In fact it’s easy to get through the case.

Hopinator is their Double American IPA and something really special.  I used to drink this on tap regularly at a beer hall I used to work in…. massive, MASSIVE hops, big bold and bitter, all about flavour.

Stone and Wood Brewery

Stone and Wood Brewery is from Byron Bay, NSW.
They have three staples that should be a part of any beer lover’s rotation.  The first is Stone and Wood Pacific Ale which is easy to drink, very fruity with passion fruit aromas and crisp taste.
The Stone and Wood Lager is a great representation of a classic lager and can be drank at any time and with any food
Stone and Wood Jasper Ale is a mash-up of German alt, American Amber ale and English brown ale.  It’s a big winter beer, with a spicy bitterness.

Feral Brewing Company:

Feral Brewery is from the Swan Valley, near Perth, WA.
Feral white is a witbeer made in the traditional Belgium style of 50% wheat, 50% barley and with a Belgium yeast strain.
Hop Hog is an American IPA that I love and certainly worth an order. Aggressively bitter, pine notes. It’s one for a real beer lover.
Golden Ace Golden Ale has a distinct citrus flavor and is brewed with Japanese bred Sorachi Ace hops providing for an interesting variation.

Gapstead Wines:

Gapstead Wines are From King Alpine Valleys, VIC.

A very interesting winery dabbling in a large selection of varietals: Cab sauv, Durif, Shiraz, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauv Blanc, Sparkling Chardonnay/Pinot Noir, Dolcetto syrah, Moscato, Rosa moscato, Pinot grigio, Sauv blanc, Saperavi, Tempranillo, Barbera, Petit Manseng, Fiano.

They have won over 100 different medals and trophies for their wines and their
Victorian alps winery has a restaurant boasting great food and wine pairings. They use local produce to match their cool climate wines and offer an amazing menu.

About Jenna Hemsworth

Jenna is a well-respected bartender in the Australian hospitality scene. uShe has worked in esteemed Melbourne venues such as Eau De Vie Melbourne, Cookie, Kodiak Club and Bad Frankie.  She placed in the Top 5 in Australia in the World Class bartending competition 2014, held by Diageo, and Top 8 in Australia in the Australian Bartender of the Year competition 2014 held by Australian Bartender Magazine. She is also a regular competitor on a national stage, having achieved placing positions in various national competitions.
Jenna has worked closely with, and developed an adept knowledge of Australian spirits in her position at Bad Frankie bar, who solely stock local spirits from around Australia. She has a strong knowledge of spirits from around the world, cocktails, beer and wine.Jenna was a judge for the 2014 Melbourne International Spirits Competition.

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Are you an Australian beer, wine or spirits distributor looking to source new products for your portfolio?  Get Involved at Australia Trade Tasting and network with trending wineries, breweries and distilleries in 2015.

Australian Brewery – National Pride and Canned Craft Beer

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Australia Trade Tasting Profiles Craft Beer exhibitor Australian Brewery.

Founded in 2010, Australian Brewery is a state of the art facility full of clean, sleek stainless steal.  The brew room is quite impressive and makes you wonder if it was built to reflect their dedication to canning, a signature characteristic of Australian Brewery.

Australian quickly gained market traction as their line-up of unique canned beers won multiple awards and their dedication to building a fan base of die-hard consumers won them support around the country. From it’s canning line to it’s front office, the brewery is purpose built to produce some of Australia’s choice beers and ciders.

We had the chance to talk with Australian Brewery owner Marcello Colisimo on the rapid rise of Australian Brewery and his plans for it’s future.

Why is it that Australian Brewery strictly cans their beer and cider line-up?

It was an easy decision really, as a craft Brewer you are always
looking for the ways to ensure your beer remains as fresh as possible
for as long as possible. I mean in an ideal world everybody would be
drinking straight from our tanks, but after extensive research the next
best option was to package in cans. Zero light (preventing UV light
breaking down the delicate flavours.) Less oxygen pickup during
packaging than bottles and no oxygen leaks once inside (unlike bottles.)
Not applicable to taste but important to us as a company is the
environmental benefit, cans are lighter so leave a smaller carbon
footprint and have a higher recycling rate than bottles. So all-in-all,
cans were an easy choice for protecting our award winning beers.

Tell us more about the Canbassador competition, what was the overall response from your audience?  It looks like you guys really boosted your brand recognition with the program.

Canbassador for us was about educating consumers on the benefits of
cans and connecting to a key target demographic of a young, creative,
socially engaged craft beer drinker. In a cluttered Australian craft
beer market it had an overwhelming response, converting casual drinkers
into passionate supporters of our beers and brand.

Australian Brewery takes part in a lot of local and national events.  What message do you guys try and get out into the world when you are exhibiting?

Part of being a micro – craft brewery is about getting in consumers
faces and having them taste our beers. We have one of the highest medal
rates of any brewery in the country with champions trophies, and many
best in class awards; including two this year for our Pale Ale (Best in
class Australian Pale Ale CBIA / AIBA.) So we know customers will love
it, we just need to let them taste it. And the easiest way of getting in
front of a lot of people at once is trade shows and exhibitions. It also
helps that consumers at these events are already engaged.

You also spend a lot of time doing tasting at retail accounts – what do you find works best building support in your distribution channels?

As a small producer we don’t have the ability to provide rebates to
lock in stockists and tap share like the big multi nationals. So we have
to get pretty creative with our accounts. Tastings are very important
and we run them weekly, but we also offer staff incentives etc. However
what works best, and what we love to do the most is to bring the venues
staff out to the Brewery for lunch, a brewery tour and of course beers
with our head brewer. This gives the staff the confidence to sell our
products. In our experience if the staff love it, they will pass that on
to consumers.

How are you planning on taking advantage of your presence at Australia Trade Tasting?

We have begun exporting our beers to Japan with quite a lot of success.

The next stage of our distribution is to take this further with an eye
to meet distributors for other Asian countries and America. We are also
looking to boost our national distribution in Australia. AuTT looks to
be a great place to connect with a variety of industry leaders in the
distribution game.

Australian Brewery has built a successful national brand over the course of a few years. As they continue to grow and build markets around the world, they will be spreading their passion for their namesake country.  They’ve put themselves in an exciting position to represent both Australia and craft beer together and are poised to be a bright spot in the industry for decades to come.

AuTT_Banner_Wine_MagAre you a beer distributor looking to source new and innovative Australian craft beers? Get Involved at Australia Trade Tasting.

In Depth Data Analysis on the Craft Beer Industry in Australia from David Lipman, Founder/Director of Drinks Hub

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Australia Trade Tasting gets in-depth insight into the Australian Craft Beer and Cider Industry from David Lipman, Founder of Beer and Brewer Magazine and Drinks Hub.

The Craft Beer and Cider Industry has seen steady growth in Australia over the past decade.  With it’s increased popularity, more and more offerings are popping up as novice and pro brewers take their passion to the marketplace.  While excited consumers rejoice because of the extra options in bars and retail stores across the country, trade professionals question the industry’s capacity and wonder if the market is saturated.  We caught up with one of the industry’s leading professionals, David Lipman, to get his perspective.

Here is our Q & A with David and his interpretation of the most recent Australian craft beer and cider industry data available today.

What Craft trends are appearing in Australia? 

1. On-premise, premiumisation, drinking less, spending more
Barscan who report on around 3% of on-premise sales trends across Australia, said in the three months to March 2014, 45% of pubs in the BarScan sample set had a craft beer available on tap with the growth from the previous three months to December 2013 being 20%.

In the three months to October 2014 56% of pubs in the BarScan sample set had a craft beer available on tap with the growth from the three months to March 2014 being 24% (representing a 6-month growth period).

With this growing trend of craft beer on tap, Barscan says “Craft Beer is the fastest growing beer segment in pubs, largely due to the growth in taps, and being sold at a price premium”. March figures from BarScan reported Volume of beer in pubs was -2.2%, while value was +1.6%. Dramatically in the UK volumes were -6.5% year on year), interestingly in the USA volumes were +1% (over a 10 year period 2002-2012). Looking at share of draught beer versus total beer, in the USA draught is only 10% (cans being 65%), whereas in Australia and the UK it’s more like 48% draught.

I am seeing more venues open being dedicated (themed) to craft beer, more craft beer events such as Tap Takeovers, Festivals, Dinners and Meet the Brewer Tastings. Some craft beers are being packaged only in kegs, being exclusively available in pubs, so as to provide pubs a point of difference to the off-premise, and allowing brewers to collaborate with venues on recipe development (e.g. Bridge Road Brewers, Beechworth Vic). Also in pubs I see the growth of House Beers, where an individual pub will work with a brewer to produce their own brand of beer, with the style to meet their customer’s tastes and provide more margin to the pub. E.g. Opera Bar (Sydney NSW) Organic Ale by Redoak, NSW and Sail & Anchor Hotel (Fremantle WA) from Feral Brewing, WA. Pubs are also improving their food/bistro offering to pair with the diverse spectrum of flavour in craft beer, which is helping attract more customers and increase spend per customer.

Looking at growth in pubs having a craft beer and/or cider on tap, according to BarScan, craft beer is growing twice as fast as cider in pubs, with 24% growth for craft beer versus 12% for cider, in the three months to October 2014.

2. On-premise Consumer Insights, from Drinks Hub survey of Beer & Brewer magazine readership in March 2014

Consumers demand four different craft beer brands per month in pubs
That’s up to 50 different beers per year – if only one tap dedicated to craft, then it needs to be rotated weekly. According to Barscan, the average sell through of a keg of craft beer per week is 75% of a keg, which needs to be 100% to allow for one keg sold per week, to ensure beer freshness, quality and paying its way. Some specialty craft beer venues are selling 300-500 different beers per year.

80% want to try a new craft beer when they visit the pub
The challenge is only 33% of craft beer drinkers visit the pub weekly – therefore pubs need to offer at least two different craft beers per month to appease the craft beer drinkers’ repertoire and keep them coming back to their venue.
100% of respondents want craft beer on tap
At least one craft beer tap in every pub, as respondents are spread all over Australia. Venues have on average 8 taps, and if one needs to be craft beer, it’s up to the publican to ensure their tap contracts or suppliers have the selection to appease their customer’s current tastes and preferences and entice new customers with updates to the tap bank seasonally or by occasions.

60% want craft beer to be more affordable on-premise
Excise on beer packaged in kegs (49.5 litres) is 40% less than beer packaged in kegs or bottles (less than 49.5 litres). However with high labour costs and rent, craft beer on tap is too expensive in the eyes of 60% of respondents. Craft beer prices are competitive from the large brands; however it’s the smaller craft brands that are not able to be price competitive due to much smaller production volumes. The trend of consumers drinking less and spending more (on craft beer and premium imported brands), comes down to do the top 20-30 craft brands on-premise receiving most of the volume growth, as they have the tap space. It’s one thing for a small craft beer to gain a tap, however the higher wholesale price leads to the consumer paying more, drinking less, and then that tap not selling as much as other taps and making the publican need to try other craft beers, or essentially keep that tap rotating to appease the consumers that want to taste 2-4 different brands a month in pubs.

3. Limited retail space and the importance of distributor relationships
With 3,000 plus local and imported beers available in Australia, and retail space to accommodate these beers being limited in on-premise to on average eight taps and 30 bottles, and in off-premise 150 bottles, it means the market is highly competitive and retailers wanting to deal more and more with distributors that represent a portfolio of craft beer, rather than the individual brand owners themselves. Local breweries entering the wholesale market that need to hit around 1.5 million litres a year to generate decent profits, need to consider their distribution model to maximize volumes, be that via a distributor, wholesaler, direct via their own sales force, or direct with retailers. Brewpubs or cellar doors are of course a guaranteed distribution channel, albeit a high capital investment.

The strong Australian dollar and growth in consumer repertoire drinkers has greatly attributed to the high number of imported beers available in Australia, not to mention the ease of access from parallel importing.

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Is Cider going to continue to be a popular category in Australia?

IRI-Aztec, who are Australia’s leaders in off-premise sales stats, state on the popularity of the Cider category, “Whilst we are seeing volume declines in Total Liquor in the Australian off-premise we are still seeing value growth as shoppers consume less, but are willing to pay more. Cider continues to be the stand out with strong growth of the last few years. Although this growth is not as high as it has been it appears to be holding at a very healthy rate (double digit). In the last 12 months we have seen 11% value growth in the category. We have seen recently that volume growth has overtaken value growth as the key driver within Cider”.

BarScan, who lead the industry in on-premise sales stats in Australia, state that a pub is more likely to have a cider on tap than a craft beer. In the three months to March 2014, 67% of pubs in their sample set had a cider available on tap, compared to 45% for craft beer. Now in the three months to October 2014, 75% of pubs having a cider on tap. The trend here is showing cider is getting closer to 100% of venues having a cider on tap, and hence still a popular category in Australia.

Cider will continue its growth, however it should be mentioned that cider can take many forms, based in the amount of juice or concentrate used in the base cider, and as a generalization the huge growth in cider, particularly off-premise, is thanks to Rekordelig and the Swedish ciders. Given Barscan’s stats it appears cider may be slowing its growth, albeit off a large base.

2. Where do you see potential for budding craft companies?

Distribution
Local craft brewers and distributors of imported beers alike, may like to focus on non-traditional liquor retailers, such as restaurants, clubs and hotels – which represent a far bigger number of licensed venues (38,000 in NSW and Vic alone for example) compared to the traditional liquor store or hotel licenses, with approx. 23,000 across Australia.

I believe craft brewers should focus on restaurants, as their beer lists are small, meaning the chances of getting picked are much better than in a bottleshop or pub, plus once you’re on the list, and the beer is selling each week, why would the restaurant change? More chefs and sommeliers are realizing that beer has a much broader spectrum of flavour than wine, and hence is an excellent match to any food on any menu, be that to complement, cleanse or contrast the food flavours.

Alternative routes to market for craft brewers are standalone draught beer systems that can operate on bars, in function rooms, and so on. These also work for non-traditional liquor outlets such as cafes and restaurants that done have any taps installed, nor the space or budget.

It’s interesting also the new Dan Murphy’s connections online platform that allows suppliers to sell their complete portfolio, rather than only what Dan’s could fit on the physical store floor. Drop shipping is a scenario many online retailers offer to share the risk of retail sales with suppliers.

Styles of beer and packaging
As at July 2014 sales data, IRI-Aztec, who gain sales data from most independent and banner group off-premise retailers nationally, say, “we are seeing Mid-strength, Premium Imported brands and Craft the real drivers of growth in Beer with the other segments in decline”. “We have seen a number of new multipack SKUs being introduced recently ncluding 10, 12 and 18 packs. It is very early days, so we don’t have any reliable performance information, however consumers are becoming more and more driven by convenience and occasion based purchasing, which would suggest an opportunity for new pack formats that cater to this”.

Diversifying
There is a trend of craft brewers branching out to craft distilling, plus distillers not just focusing on whisky or gin, or vodka, but producing all three. If it’s hard enough maintaining retailer relationships and distribution, then craft brewers look at offering their loyal customers another craft product from their company. E.g. Young Henrys in Newtown NSW.

Social Media, Online Marketing
Doing the online basics well is very cost effective for budding craft companies – such as having the social media handles as the same name as the brand across all the social media channels, ensuring the brand has a regular eNewsletter and/or blog, plus keeps their web site up to date with events, new releases and awards. Some venues have an App when and what new beer is going on tap, when bottled beer menu changes, events dates, etc. which is excellent marketing. E.g. The Wheatsheaf Hotel in Adelaide SA.

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Is there encouraging data in on-premise channels, tastings, etc.?

Yes there is very encouraging sales data in on-premise, as mentioned above. However there may be only 20-30 brands that see the sales from this data.

Yes tastings are the way to build a brand, and have a direct positive impact on sales. Dan Murphy’s seem to be the champions of in-store tastings, and while previously brands were said to be built on-premise, it’s now a case of any venue, either on- or off-premise that engages new customers with products via tastings, will see a positive impact on brand awareness and sales.

3. Is Craft Beer finding new retail homes easily as competition increases with the number of brewery offerings continuing to grow?

Australia is already saturated with 200 breweries (approximately 290 beer brands), from a per capita perspective, compared to 3000 breweries in the USA for example. This number isn’t too high, however when imports are factored in, as mentioned previously, the number of beers grows to 3,000+, making the competition fierce and the ability for individual brands to grow very challenging.

As mentioned above, given craft beer on tap in pubs is growing at 24% during the three months to October 2014, it may seem craft beer is finding new homes easily, however I believe this is very much only enjoyed by the top 20-30 selling craft beers, given most pubs only have eight taps, these beer brands have the ability to supply large volumes at competitive prices and are willing to promote their products with pubs (i.e. offer contracts, rebates, equipment, point of sale, promotional dollars, etc.). I believe craft beer as a generalization for all sizes of craft brewers are finding new retail homes in pubs relatively easy in selling 1-2 kegs, or a pallet of kegs for one month on a guest tap. The problem is once that keg sells or that month is over, the brewer loses that tap and they are left needing to find another venue, meaning growing draught beer volumes is very difficult.

Specialty Beer off-premise venues are proving great retail homes for craft beer, from large fridge space, growlers and events, such as Warners at the Bay (NSW), Plonk (ACT) and Mane Liquor (WA) however these are few and far between when you pool them with the 9,000 off-premise shops nationally.

There is a lot going for imported beer in Australia, given the economies of scale, and consumer willingness to pay more for international beer.

Imported beer in Australia is a good profit margin for importers and distributors; given the average retail (off-premise, looking at random online retail prices for an 8 litre carton of craft beer) price incl. GST for international craft beer of $74 is 13% higher than local craft beer at $64.50. Importers are buying imported craft beer at an average $17.50 (Drinks Hub wholesaler research) per carton (24x330mL) when the average ex-works local craft beer carton is approximately $30 ex excise, representing imported craft beer as a 42% saving. When you add the International craft retail price premium of 13% (approx. $6.50) to the 42% wholesale price saving (approx. $12.50), that means distributors of imported craft beers are approx. $19 per carton better off, not taking into account customs, warehousing and freight, etc. costs.

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Given Australia is only 1% of global beer consumption, local craft brewers will never be able to compete with imported craft beer as imported beer being brewed in the USA, Asia and the EU/UK is able to be brewed at much larger annual volumes to gain brewing efficiencies where the cost per carton will always be better than local craft beer wholesale prices. And it doesn’t cost much to freight beer ambient around the world. The largest fixed cost apart from the liquid, for local brewers in Australia is excise (it’s drastically less in the USA for example).

If Government excise on craft brewers in Australia wasn’t so high, it would help local craft brewers’ profit margins and ideally they pass on those savings to retailers, thereby becoming more price competitive (if they scale down their wholesale prices that is) – then as volumes grow, the local craft brewer gains brewing efficiencies and perhaps the Government charges a higher rate of excise. The flip side is, this may encourage even more entrants to the local brewing scene, and craft brewers don’t pass on the savings in excise.

Australia is already saturated with breweries per capita, when compared to the USA. We need the existing beer brands selling more, so they are more sustainable, and if more price competitive to imports this will help, particularly when 60% of consumers from the Drinks Hub research of Beer & Brewer magazine readers in March 2014 want craft beer to be more affordable at the pub.

This case study justifies why so many small craft brewers and associations in Australia lobby the Government for excise tax reform. It comes down to will the Government ever see a net benefit from excise tax reform? Surely there can be, just like income tax-free thresholds, why not have a volumetric tax system based on annual production volumes with rebates (more like $300,000 not the current $30,000) for local brewers (and free trade agreement country members)?

I strongly advise budding entrants to the craft beer space to do their due diligence in business planning on deciding on the retail or wholesale market for sales. If wholesale to budget in tough competition from tap contracts, parallel importing, high excise and the growing retail liquor home brands, all competing for shelf space.

4. What resources do breweries that are looking to export have at their disposal?

Brewers have Government agencies Austrade and DFAT, and brewing associations (ARCBA and CBIA) as industry resources to help them with preparations for export and join in Embassy and Trade tastings/shows abroad. I have recently launched Drinks Hub, which is an Exporter of Australian Premium Drinks, being craft beer, cider, gin, whisky, wine sachets.

It’s important to mention that many Australian beer brands have tried/dabbled in export, and don’t seem to pursue it, as the initial orders don’t turn into repeat orders – mainly due to price as mentioned above. I recommend only largely produced craft beers consider exporting as they can be most price competitive and gain enough volume to fill up containers and make it worth their while. Drinks Hub can help brands export who don’t plan on exporting a great deal, or large craft brands export and assist growing their local brewing volumes to improve local wholesale pricing and profit margins.

5. Where do you see the craft industry in five years?

With distribution growing on- and off-premise giving consumers access to more craft beer and consumer tastes being more and more educated, the craft beer industry in Australia in five years will be higher than what it is today, and if I take a guess I think approx. 6% of total volume (or at least value). I hope in five years every pub in Australia has at least one craft beer available on tap (guest/rotating or regular), as craft beer drinkers are all over regional and metro Australia and pubs wouldn’t want to be alienating prospective customers. I hope the number of local beer brands stays around 300, so that the increase in volume benefits the existing, and allows them to be more price competitive and profitable.

Many of the Australian Whisky brands cannot keep up with demand both locally and export, and therefore with the growth in craft distilling, I see a lot of excess demand being available for these new entrants as the existing brands struggle to fulfill existing demand.

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David Lipman, Bio

David’s passion for beer began in 2002 as a Cellarman at The Whitehorse on Parson’s Green and The Porterhouse Covent Garden, two institutions for great local and imported beer in London. In 2007 David founded Beer & Brewer magazine and www.beerandbrewer.com, and finished up as Publisher/Editor in May 2014. David has published as Editor-in-Chief five books on beer, including Ultimate Beer Guide Australia & NZ (2011), Craft Beer Trade Buyers Guide (2012), Breweries of Australia: A History 2nd Edn (2012), Best 100 Beers Australia (2013) and Beer Buyers’ Guide Australia & NZ (2013) www.beerbuyersguide.com.au. David has also published booklets on beer & food matching for Beer & Brewer magazine and BBQ School. David has launched three beer events including Beer & Brewer Expo (2009, Melbourne), Beer & Brewer Awards (2010, Sydney) and Beer & Brewer Conference (2012, Melbourne). These days David continues his passion hosting corporate tastings (including at the Sydney Opera House and Taste Festivals Australia). David has also just launched Drinks Hub, an exporter of Australian premium drinks, including craft beer, cider, spirits.

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Are you a craft beer or cider brand looking to expand your distribution and grow brand recognition?  Get involved and network with top industry buyers and media  at Australia Trade Tasting.

Paracombe Wines, A Boutique Adelaide Hills Winery Built on the Grounds of a Generation Past.

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Australia Trade Tasting profiles Paracombe Wines, a boutique Australian winery from a storied region.

Since they bought their land in 1983, Paracombe founders Paul and Kathy have been hard at work making their dream of owning a winery come true. Today, they have grown what was once their idyllic garage project into a full-fledged operating winery. Expanding from 100 cases to a facility capable of crushing 2000 tonnes of fruit in just over twenty years, Paul and Kathy have built Paracombe into a premium wine label through dedication and honest hard work.

As you open a bottle of The Reuben – A Paracombe family blend named after Reuben Chapman who was a great community man that was revered for giving a lot to the district in the early days of Paracombe – one can only wonder how the wine making process has changed since his time. Anticipating the subtle taste of chocolate and tobacco swirling in your mouth, a great whisp of blackberries and strawberries meet your nose and you are reminded of what a great adventure these new pioneers are truly on.

After twenty years perfecting their craft, Kathy and Paul are sharing the fruits of their labour with the rest of the world. Today, Paracombe Wines are exported to United Kingdom, Canada, Europe and Asia.

We caught up with Kathy Drogemuller and she gave us some great insight into how we can all live the Paracombe way of life – It’s one of those unique stories that seems right out of a fairytale.

Tell us about your family winery – where does the name come from and what’s the story behind the brand?

Paracombe is the name of the small rural township where we are located in the picturesque Adelaide Hills, South Australia. Just a half an hour drive from Adelaide CBD and with vineyards and orchards laced through the district,  it is a truly beautiful part of the world.  Our remarkable story started in 1983 when Paul and I bought a burnt out, old dairy farm after the devastating Ash Wednesday bushfires of 1983. With no background in growing grapes or making wine, we planted vineyards. Then we discovered there was a history of grape growing and winemaking in the region dating back to the mid 1800’s which had died out. So began our passion and vision to revive Paracombe as a premium wine producing area. We started making wine in our tin shed with a home built basket press, second hand milk tanks and crusher. With just 100 cases of three wines we launched Paracombe Wines in 1992.

Today we have 14 wines in the range, have expanded our vineyards, designed and built a winery with facility to crush to crush up to 2000 tonnes of fruit, underground cellars and stunning cellar door.

Paracombe wines are made, bottled, packaged on site and distributed direct from the winery. This soft environmental footprint and authentic style of management has helped Paracombe Wines harness an identity and reputation for producing ecologically crafted wines with finesse and style. Our son Ben has joined the family business and we have an amazing team who all contribute to making Paracombe a successful, award winning winery. It is a wonderful, inspiring success story.

Are your wines produced exclusively from grapes from your vineyards?

Our Paracombe range includes some stunning single vineyard wines from our family vineyard at Paracombe like our Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc  and Cabernet Sauvignon. We also have some superb single vineyard wines from our Paracombe growers such as the Malbec and Shiraz Viognier. Then there is the wonderful five varietal wine – The Reuben is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec Cabernet Franc and Shiraz harvested from our family block as well as grapes from three local growers.

In addition to our own home vineyard, we also source grapes from local specialist family growers with whom we work very closely to ensure our high standards are met. All vines are hand pruned with minimal irrigation to keep yields low, contributing a strong influence in our premium wine style.

Paracombe has won numerous awards.  Tell us about the ones that mean the most to you and why.

Our very first Trophy, for our 1997 Sauvignon Blanc, at the Royal Adelaide Wine Show will always be memorable. And then when our 2012 Sauvignon Blanc won Trophy for Best White Wine in Shanghai in China in the SIAL Wine Awards, was up against 320 winery exhibitors from 11 countries including China, France, Spain, South Africa, Australia, Germany, Hungary, Greece, Tunisia, Portugal, and Italy that was very awesome.

Recently picking up awards for our Chardonnay, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz just makes a fantastic statement about how very special Paracombe is proud to represent Adelaide Hills wine region, which is producing world class award winning wines across a range of varieties and wineries.

What are you planning on highlighting at Australia Trade Tasting?

We’re excited to show our wines, tell our story and realise new opportunities for Paracombe throughout Australia and meet trade and media attendees. We have an incredible offering: Pinot Noir; Chardonnay Sparkling with parcels of back vintages over 22 years; crisp aromatic whites – Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris;  point of difference reds like Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and a cool climate Shiraz with great generousity of fruit.

We want to grow by supporting our partner distributors in Victoria and New South Wales and gaining more momentum in the trade by finding new partners in states like Queensland. South Australia is incredibly strong for Paracombe, and we want to find partners ready to achieve and realize our vision for a national Paracombe.
Paracombe wines represents Australian ideals that mimic those of a long and storied history of wine making throughout the world, but their open philosophy to the modern wine industry has given them the exposure they need to succeed. The family winery offers a unique look back at what the Paracombe wine region once was, while also representing the potential of what it will be in the future. Looking out over the Paracombe vineyards, it’s easy see why Kathy and Paul were so enchanted by the land and eager to make Paracombe Wines a national story.

Australia Trade Tasting

Are you a wine importer, wholesaler or distributor looking to source with Australian Wine Labels?  Get Involved and connect with leading Aussie brands at Australia Trade Tasting.

 

Melbourne Gin Company: How a Local Craft Distillery Found a National Following.

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How Andrew Marks’ passion gave Melbourne’s favourite local distillery, Melbourne Gin Company (MGC), a national home.

In many ways, The Melbourne Gin Company’s success is a product of it’s honest branding.  The classic bottle and bold, lower-case branding – mgc – has become iconic on bar rails across the country. Even though every bottle abides by simplistic marketing and spartan branding, the brand is anything but forgettable. Every time you see a bottle it subtly reminds you, “Oh, You forgot about me did you? Go on, dabble again.”

AuTT interviews Andrew Marks and gets insight into the road that MGC traveled to go national.

Andrew Marks created the Melbourne Gin Company with one idea in mind – to produce great gin.  He didn’t start out with a business plan or any gimmicks to get people on board, he just wanted to produce a gin that he was proud to label ‘Melbourne Gin Company.’   True to his desire, Andrew kept at work and experimented with countless ingredients until he perfected his gin.

Today he offers gin lovers a taste of his passion as MGC, a blend of juniper, sandalwood, orange and grapefruit peel distilates, (as well as a few others!) that make MGC a balanced, earthy bodied gin full of citric aromas and lingering herbal aromatics.

1.  MGC is proud of their origins.  Was it hard finding recognition outside of Melbourne?

Melbourne is a cultural melting pot, internationally recognized for its cosmopolitan forward thinking lifestyle. People around Australia and further afield understand that and we have found that, along with great production values, everybody is ready to embrace a product that encapsulates the idea of a bringing people and cultures together.  We’ve had such a great response across Australia and we couldn’t be more proud of our product and it’s origin.

2.  What are some of the more successful support strategies you guys have used to build your brand?

We have an online presence through social media that works wonders at connecting with the consumer.  Our team is tirelessly, communicating and giving back as much energy as we receive from our devoted fans.

At the MGC we believe that giving back to the community is extremely important.  We have been involved with the sponsorship of many local events, which reach a broad cross section of the community, as well as lots of events and charitable shows. It has been great aligning the MGC with organisations and businesses that share a common ethos and we try our hardest to find worthy partners ready to share in our passions.

3.  What do you think it is about MGC that draws the attention of the consumer?

At first, it’s the clean lines of our classic design, and clear strong branding, but the litmus test (pardon the distiller trade talk) really is the taste of the product. We spent a year developing the flavour profile and recipe.  If people buy a second bottle it is because it tastes good, not because of the branding.

4.  Micro-distilleries, and the craft industry as a whole, have really become popular. What shape do you see the market taking in the next five years and what advice do you have for small and medium sized distilleries trying to find a healthy niche moving forward?

The market is morphing as we speak. It is a very exciting space to be a part of right now. The market will continue to develop and offer many interesting and different products.  There will be some that catch the consumer strictly based on the branding and others that offer truly unique varieties.  If consumers speak loud enough, there is no limit to where the distillers will go and what they will come up with.  I think the main focus for us, as distillers, is to ensure that our products continue to taste good.

The Melbourne Gin Company has grown from a singular beginning. Every bottle proves itself a testament to Andrew’s dedication to his trade and MGC’s growth and popularity comes on the back of his vision to make his passion into a reality. The next time you go and pick up a bottle of MGC, remember Andrew’s credo, “If people buy a second bottle it’s because it tastes good.”

Australia Trade Tasting

Are you an adult beverage brand importer, distributor or wholesaler looking to source craft distilleries for your portfolio?  Get Involved at Australia Trade Tasting and connect with innovative new Aussie brands.

 

The Mountains Wines of Macedonia & Swedish Winter Vodka in Australia’s Beverage Landscape.

Drinks R Us Blog

Profiling Znaps Vodka and Dalvina Wine from Australia Trade Tasting Exhibitor ‘Drinks R US

Stalwart in their determination to create internationally renowned vodkas worthy of a long winter’s work, generations of Swedish distillers have been producing vodkas celebrated around the world as being some of the best. It’s a standing tradition in Sweden that Australia has, in relative terms, just begun to embrace as their own. The craft distillery movement is becoming ever more popular in Australia, and with some amazing offerings popping up around the world available it’s for good reason.

Drinks R US is already on board the craft revolution band wagon. Their Swedish  Vodkas are new offerings soon to be turning Aussie heads northward (or to their smart phones) as they look to learn from Sweden’s famous winter wheat culture and vodka tradition.

Two thousand kilometers away, almost due south, grapes have been cultured in Macedonia’s mountain valleys for wine production since Roman times. It’s an age old tradition from an ancient land that is just beginning to find it’s way into the heart’s of modern consumers.

What do you get when you put Swedish vodka culture together with a Macedonian summer? Drinking on Long Sunny Days – now that’s something any Aussie can get behind!

Drinks R US talks about Vodka from Sweden & Dalvina wine from Macedonia’s burgeoning Strumichko-Radovishki wine region.

BTN: What’s the story behind Swedish Vodka- what make Swedish distilleries so special?

Great Vodka is all about quality ingredients – and Sweden really has some clear cut advantages in comparison to other countries producing premium vodkas. Sweden’s uniquely cold climate, winter wheat and pristine water means that micro-distilleries get access to some of the best local crops and produce their vodkas in boutique environments tucked away in winter wonderlands. They are very proud of their distilling culture and take it very seriously. We tend to agree – we are going to be showcasing two Vodkas that we believe are some of the best that money can buy.

The Smooth Vodka is an organic Super Premium Vodka made from organic grown wheat. It has been awarded international medals for its smooth quality and also as Sweden’s first organic vodka. The bottles are designed by one of Sweden’s most famous designers, Mr. Lars Hall.

The Ginseng Vodka comes in the same designer bottle as The Smooth Vodka. Even though it is geared towards the Asian market, it’s always a crowd favourite. Still using the highest quality grains, ginseng is added to the vodka for an extra smooth sensation. We say it is a perfect marriage between
Swedish & Chinese cultures. Tough to imagine, but true! With the large Asian population in Australia and the move for buyers to find quality premium offerings, we think Ginseng Vodka will be a valuable asset to retailers as the market moves from traditional drink categories to specialty vodkas and spirits.

BTN: You are also going to be highlighting some interesting wine at the event – where does the Dalvina label come from?

Dalvina is from near the city of Strumica in southeast Macedonia . The Strumichko-Radovishki wine region, that lies in the valley between the Struma and Strumeshnica rivers, has a Mediterranean climate and an average altitude of 380m. Surrounded by high mountains, the vineyards at Dalvina have a constant light wind as a guest. The average year round temperature in the valley is 20.2 degrees and there are 210 sunny days a year. With practically perfect conditions, healthy, high quality grapes are a stolid characteristic of the region. The fruits are allowed to develop to full maturity and make juicy, fruity wines with a rich palette of tastes and aromas. The area is becoming more and more popular as the world is beginning to recognize the area as a new stronghold of value wines in the world market.

Dalvina practices minimal intervention to allow for the most natural expression of the fruit and the land and believes that paying meticulous attention to detail throughout the entire wine making process – from the vineyard to the winery – produces wines of depth, character and sophistication.

BTN: Have you launched any of these products in Australia yet and What are you looking forward accomplishing at Australia Trade Tasting?

Our Dalvina wine products have been on the market for just over a year now, and are gaining traction. We’ve been targeting Macedonian & Balkan communities, as they recognize the brand. We are excited to get buyers at Australia Trade Tasting on board and expand to a broader market as we believe consumers will quickly see Dalvina as a great value wine offering.

Our Vodka range is yet to be launched – we’re awaiting stock delivery later this year. We expect that Australian Trade Tasting will be a great opportunity for buyers to experience our vodka and come to see them as a unique premium option for a reasonable price.

We are targeting high end bars, clubs, restaurants, Duty Free shops and high end retailers because we our Vodka and Wine offering is exclusive, carries the highest quality and allows consumers to purchase high quality products at a very reasonable price, a market gap which is growing in Austalia.

From the frozen fields of Sweden to the sun parched hills of Macedonia, ‘Drinks R US’ is bringing some pretty exciting offerings to the Outback. The industry is booming on the skirts of the growing craft industry as consumers open up to experiencing new independent brands. Importers like ‘Drinks R US’ are the companies fueling the revolution.

Are you a wine, beer or spirits producer looking to expand your distribution? Exhibit in front of leading importers, distributors and retailers at Australia Trade Tasting.

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A Truly Organic Experience – Profiling Pure Vision and Nature’s Step Wines

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Australia Trade Tasting Profiles Pure Vision and Nature’s Step Wines

Light’s View Wines has been helping pioneer the organic movement with their Pure Vision and Nature’s Step brands. Bursting with fruit and reflecting a distinctly pure terroir, their organic line-up is something special.

While organic wines may have appealed to a select market a decade ago, it only takes an afternoon tasting Pure Vision and Nature’s Step’s offering of dynamic varietals to taste why the category is a leading example of what innovation is bringing to the industry. As some of the few organic selections coming from Adelaide Plains, consumers and critics alike are quick to identify that these wines are far more impressive than just another boutique offering.

Light’s View Wines has been helping pioneer the organic movement with their Pure Vision and Nature’s Step brands. Bursting with fruit and reflecting a distinctly pure terroir, their organic line-up is something special. The Mediterranean like climate of Adelaide Hills and Light’s View’s forty year old, converted organic vineyards are the perfect recipe for a showcase wine and they’ve been getting their fair share of attention.

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It’s their vision to become one of South Australia’s leading wine companies in all areas of business while maintaining top quality organic standards in their vineyards. Between their diverse line-up and unique story, Light’s View’s organic wine brands really shine. We talked with Teresa Carypidis and asked her about what it means to be on the leading edge of such an exciting new category.

Light’s View is a really interesting name – how did you decide on it?
The name Light’s View originates from Lt. Colonel William Light – the first surveyor general of South Australia. In 1836, he chose Adelaide as the capital city for South Australia, designed the city centre, and created the park lands. We chose the name ‘Light’s View’ Wines because we are proud of the history behind our terroir and want people around the world to know the story behind our Adelaide based winery. The Colonel’s role in founding and designing Adelaide is remembered at Light’s Vision.

What does it mean to be and How Long have Nature’s Step and Pure Vision been ‘certified’ Organic?  
Our vineyards have been 100% certified organic since 2010. Becoming certified organic takes a lot of time and (money) and patience. In order to be certified we went through a strict 3 year conversion process with a certifying body.
We have eliminated the use of synthetic chemicals, fertilisers and pesticides, which over the years can be detrimental to the soil, planet and the wine drinker. Now, nearly five years on, the soils are clean and feed off living organisms. Being certified organic means that consumers can trust that our vineyards are grown and our wine is produced in accordance with national organic standards. We are also USDA certified which means our wines meet the strict organic criteria for USA enabling us to widen our export market.

What kind of consumers do your organic wines really resonate with?
Our organic wines are targeted to the modern day wine drinker looking for a healthier alternative to conventional wines without compromising quality. Our wines are low in sulphur, so we also reach out to those consumers who have sulphur allergies, as they find it difficult to drink and enjoy conventional wine. We want our customer’s to drink and enjoy our organic wines – without the nasty side-effects.

What are you excited about showing Industry buyers and media at
Australia Trade Tasting?
We cannot wait to show the buyers at Australia Trade Tasting our award winning organic wine range. We have created a unique range of organic wines that are affordable for the market. Come and see for yourself how fresh and fruity our wines are – customer’s will love them. We also want to share our families’ journey into the organic wine business and how excited we are to be a part of the organic movement.


An icon brand of the South Australia wine industry, Pure Vision and Nature’s Step are perfect examples of how good a truly organic offering can be. The cool coastal breezes and abundance of sunshine in the Adelaide Hills create ideal weather conditions for their vineyards to thrive under the certified organic requirements. The vineyards yield some of the country’s most unique grapes and they are taking advantage of the opportunity they present by making some remarkably unique wines with every one. The evidence is in the purity of their offering – these wines reflects the story of an extraordinary team and their commitment to their home, our country and the future of a sustainable wine industry for everyone.

Are you a wine importer, or distributor looking for organic wines for your portfolio? Get involved with Australia Trade Tasting and connect with some leading Australian wineries.

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The Perfect Summer Cider for the Heat Down Under: Profiling Australia Trade Tasting exhibitor Sidra Del Verano.

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Australia Trade Tasting exhibitor Sidra del Verano Summer Cider

Australia Trade Tasting interviews Anne Sequeira, Managing Director of Conquistador Brand Management Sidra Del Verano, on the family story behind Sidra Del Verano.

With it’s simple characteristic label and smooth, sweet taste, experience Sidra Del Verano Cider and you know that they’ve captured the essence of Australian Summer. They don’t pretend to be from down under, in fact they’re the first to state proudly that their apples are from the Basque region in Northern Spain and that their secret family recipe has been perfected over five generations, but they certainly know how to make a cider that’s the perfect choice for a hot summer’s day.

With a great fruity supporting brand line-up (Mango & Passionfruit, Blackcurrant & Cranberry, and Peach & Apricot) to go along with their traditional Spanish Apple Cider, Sidra del Verano labels are easy to drink, refreshing, and tap into a premium market for those consumers who want something special for their afternoon’s delight. We caught up with Anne Sequeira to follow along as they continue to gain momentum in Australia.

1.  What inspired Sidra Del Verano?  What is the story behind your name?

Well, Verano is made using an old recipe that has been handed down over 5 generations in the Soroa family.  Due to the product’s extremely light and refreshing nature, the recipes were produced as a summer batch for the local community in San Sebastian to enjoy during the long hot afternoon and evening of summer. Hence when we decided to  re-package this product and sell it  globally, the name “Sidra Del Verano” translating directly to “the summer Cider” was perfect.

2. When did the product launch in Australia? What has been the reponse?

Verano launched in Australia in January 2014 and has had an outstanding reponse by consumer and the trade. The product is ranged Nationally in Dan Murphy’s and also in some premium BWS stores. It is also in over 100 on-premise venues in Sydney and Melbourne. Consumers love the natural and easy drinking taste.

3.  What branding, strategy, etc. are you guys going to be highlighting at Australia Trade Tasting?

First and foremost, we want the trade to taste Verano and see for themselves the superior quality versus those of competitors. Secondly, we want the Australian trade to know that Australia is an important market for Verano and that we will be investing heavily over the next 5 years. Lastly, we will take the trade through our marketing plans which include event sponsorship, social marketing and “word of mouth” marketing.

4. How is Sidra Del Verano different to other products?

It is made from 100% freshly crushed CULINARY apples. It is the use of fresh culinary apples, as opposed to the traditional “bitter sweet” apples, that gives Verano its natural sweetness.

5.  What’s next for Sidra del Verano?

In Australia, it’s a big focus on building the brand in the on-premise to reinforce it’s premium image and gain trail. Moreover, we will be focusing on event sponsorship, social marketing and working on the ground trying to get our brand recognition up through word of mouth.

Today, Verano cider remains a Soroa family-run business, only now they export their refreshing, easy-drinking cider to over 60 countries worldwide. Sun, rain, wind, soil, passion. Verano is a cider born out of tradition and the spectacular, often rugged countryside of the Basque region.  It’s a great story about dedication to quality and tradition that has found it’s way from the northern reaches of Spain all the way to the Australian Outback.

Are you a winery, brewery, or distillery looking to expand your distribution in Australia? Exhibit and connect with leading importers and distributors at Australia Trade Tasting.

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