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CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER
ACQUISITIONS, NEW PRODUCT
DEVELOPMENTS AND A
RESTRUCTURED SALES FORCE WILL
PAVE THE WAY FOR A SUCCESSFUL
2016 FOR ASAHI PREMIUM
WHAT WERE SOME OF THE
HIGHLIGHTS FOR ASAHI
PREMIUM BEVERAGES (APB)
This year has been an outstanding one for
our business. We have had many notable
successes including, the acquisition of craft
brewer Mountain Goat; Continued growth of
Asahi Super Dry; The launch of Asahi Soukai,
a lower carbohydrate premium beer; Somersby
now entrenched as the number one cider in
Australia*; a very strong year for Woodstock
as sponsor of V8 Supercars Championship;
Somersby Blackberry providing much needed
innovation into the flavoured cider segment;
and Vodka Cruiser Originals campaign where
we brought back an old favourite flavour,
Blueberry and sold out all stock in three weeks.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE
CHALLENGES FACING APB?
The challenges facing APB are those which the
broader industry is also facing. Overall decline
in alcohol consumption (both on-premise and
retail) is challenging for all manufacturers, but
we are fortunate we have offerings in segments
that are showing growth. Critical to future
success is understanding shifting consumer
preferences and trends, and being able to adapt
to meet the needs of tomorrow, as well as
servicing today’s consumers.
WHAT CHANGES HAS APB
EXPERIENCED OVER THE
LAST 12 MONTHS?
In our business, we have made the decision to
re-align our senior executive team to enable us
to realise exciting new opportunities outside
of Australia. We created a general manager –
international position, and appointed Andrew
Amarant, previously general manager –
national accounts to the role.
We brought together the entire sales function
under one structure, to further optimise our strong
sales performance across Australia, creating the
new role of general manager – national sales, and
appointing Michael Ritoli, to this role.
We have also created an Australia and
New Zealand marketing team, appointing
Michael Edmonds to the role of general
manager marketing ANZ. By aligning
across the two markets we can leverage our
combined capability and resources in portfolio
development, consumer insights, brand
positioning, marketing communications, and
innovation. We can also incubate ideas in one
market and apply learnings across the region.
These changes will set us up well for 2016
and beyond. The APB business is performing
very strongly and these changes provide us with
a platform to continue this growth path while
accelerating our international expansion as we
continue to provide outstanding service to our
customers with our market leading brands.
The acquisition of Mountain Goat is further
confirmation of our craft beer credentials, and
our desire to play a more active role in the craft
WHAT PLANS DO YOU HAVE TO
ENGAGE THE TRADE TO DRIVE
SALES IN THE YEAR AHEAD?
We have some exciting plans for 2016 and
the partnership with Woodstock and the V8
Supercars Championship will see some great
consumer promotions. We will invest in on-
pack promotions and we will leverage the V8
Supercars with Woodstock to drive consumer
excitement and engagement. We will also
continue to drive consumer promotions with
Somersby and Vodka Cruiser with greater
investment in the digital space. We have just
launched our new Asahi TVC and introduced
Asahi Soukai to the Asahi family which has
been popular with consumers and supported by
WHAT IS YOUR KEY
MESSAGE TO RETAILERS?
Over the last few years, APB has worked with
retailers to build strong promotional programs and
we will continue to invest in our brands and NPD
in 2016. We have access to more information and
better data than ever before and our challenge is to
ensure that we are able to use the data and work
with our retailers to drive growth through NPD
and in-store initiatives by providing the products
that consumers want to drink.
We’ve grown our sales force and have been
able to spread our reach, enabling us to call on
more retailers. We will also continue to invest
in our people to equip them with tools and
information to work and plan with retailers to
drive growth for their business.
HOW HAS PREMIUMISATION
IMPACTED ON YOUR
The premiumisation trend has been very positive
for our business. The Asahi brand has continued
to grow in the past year as it has moved up the
repertoire of many consumers with a market
share of circa five per cent* of the premium
international beer category. The premiumisation
trend is also witnessed in the growth of craft beer,
which is a category that consumers are prepared
to spend more on. Our Cricketers Arms brand
has grown to be a top 10 player in craft this year.
We expect that other categories will follow this
trend and we are well placed with brands like
Somersby, our premium European cider, to ensure
we are at the forefront.
WHAT ROLE DOES
INNOVATION PLAY IN YOUR
At APB we have an entrepreneurial spirit and an
innovative culture. We are not the market leader
and don’t have a presence in all categories,
therefore, we need to provide innovative options
for our customers to maintain relevance.
Last year we launched Asahi Soukai, a
low carbohydrate and mid-strength option
for discerning drinkers. We also launched
Wild Moose Canadian Whisky and Dry and
a number of new product introductions in
Cricketers Arms, Somersby and Vodka Cruiser.
These new product introductions provide our
customers and consumers with new options
and keep the energy and excitement in the
categories in which they compete.
*Aztec, MAT to 04/10/2015, National (off-
premise) by volume.
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