Australia Trade Tasting Brings US Market Expertise to Melbourne

US representatives from the wine, beer and spirits industry found their way to the inaugural Australia Trade Tasting (AuTT) event in Melbourne on September 2 to present an impressive line-up of educational seminars to international industry professionals.

After a day of presentations defining the state of the Australian industry and an earlier trade tasting exploring new and innovative wines, beers and spirits set to expand in the Australian industry, US professionals came to give their expertise on successful expansion strategies for the USA on day three of the event.

Ranging from innovative consultants to distribution leaders, leading figures from the US industry presented on a wide range of issues facing international brand owners. The seminars opened with a welcoming presentation from Wine Australia Director Angela Slade, who gave visitors a clear outline of the current state of Australian wine inside the USA. Key findings from the data highlighted by Angela includes:

(Image: Angela Slade, Regional Director, North America, Wine Australia)


• Australian wine holding 5% (by value) of the US market share ($USD 600M);
• USA is the #1 one export market for Australian wine (by VAL $AUD 415M),
• A 27% increase in sales for premium offerings (over USD $20);
• Second largest imported wine (by volume) at 6% of total import wine into USA.
John Beaudette (President of MHW) followed Angela with an overview of the three tier distribution system and outlined how to successfully navigate the available options for international brands. Emphasizing the importance of compliance and clearly delineating the challenges that brand owners face, it was clear that his expertise was fully appreciated by the large array of visitors new to the three tier concept.
John MHW

(Image: John Beaudette, MHW)


Importer/ Consultant Deborah Gray (Bluestone Imports spoke on what it takes to secure an import partner and cement your brand in the American marketplace. Her presentation complemented Beaudette’s content by exploring successful strategies towards getting your product stateside, the first step in the three tier system.  Ben von Doussa (Wine Australia) continued the trend by highlighting the importance independent retailers put on a strong go-to market strategy from international brands. He shared valuable insight taken from the targeted retail programs designed for Wine Australia’s Market Entry program to help Aussie offerings find their footing in the USA.


Ben von Doussa
(Image: Ben von Doussa, Wine Australia)

Other topics included the detailed case study from successful Tasmanian distillery Sullivans Cove founder Patrick Maguire who shared invaluable lessons he learned from his highs and lows on the way to winning the ‘World’s Best Single Malt Whisky.’ Sid Patel, CEO of the event organizers Beverage Trade Network, spoke to attendees on the importance of a united team and how to leverage the lessons learned by the industry as a whole to create a clear path to sustainable expansion for your company. Touching back on the importance of due diligence in the US system, Tim Duval (DW Fox Tucker Lawyers) gave the audience practical advice on proper distribution agreements and ensuring payment and how to minimize overdue invoices.
Tim Duval (DW Fox Tucker Lawyers)

(Image: Tim Duval, DW Fox Tucker Lawyers)

Steve Raye (Bevology) and Peter McAtamney brought the event full circle with their harmonizing presentations on consumer building brand recognition and innovative content population through non-traditional marketing. Using their own unique points-of-view and examples, both presentations underlined the strategic advantage of developing strong consumer demand to ensure success across all three tiers.
Raye’s earlier emphasis on creating effective consumer and retailer programing to encourage depletion across the distribution chain was picked up and fully explored by the closing presentation from Bonnie Harvey and Michael Houlihan (Barefoot Wines). Exploring their ‘Seven Sells,’ Michael and Bonnie gave readers a real insightful look into how to develop an efficacious business plan designed to succeed in taking a brand national across the US.

Produced by Beverage Trade Network, Australia Trade Tasting’s educational conference element of the trade show truly highlighted the dedication the organizers put into bringing the industry’s brightest minds to the forefront developing the international beverage community. The three days of events in Melbourne gave all attendees an extremely valuable look at the industry as a whole, from both the US and Australian stand point.