Home' National Liquor News : NLN JUNE 2016 Contents 44 | JUNE 2016 NATIONAL LIQUOR NEWS
IMPORTED & INTERNATIONAL BEER
example of how quick Australians
were to embrace a new product.
"National statistics suggest we're
drinking less beer per capita but as
retailers we're finding that people
are drinking more premium, more
imported and more often than not in
broken formats. So it has to be well
merchandised and category managed
in-store," he said.
"As an industry, we're having to
find more innovative solutions for
ranging international beer. Moving
into the premium end of the market,
most are sold in six-packs. Some
are near on $30 for a six-pack, so
we need more space in our stores to
range such beers, which puts pressure
on the good old VB and Tooheys."
Heilman is quick to point out that
this shouldn't be seen as a negative
thing. "It's very positive; it's just a matter
of finding the balance between both."
One distributor who won't hear
of international beers brewed in
Australia is Empire Liquor. "We
only have products that come direct
from the authentic source... it's our
company policy," said managing
director Brenton Quirini.
Empire Liquor is the importer and
national distributor of Fullers from
London, as well as the distributor in
South Australia and the Northern
Territory for a wide range of
international and craft beers. It has
been working with the Fullers brand
for seven years and importing the
product directly since March 2013.
"Consumers are very much more
aware of authenticity these days. I'm
not sure that it's driven by flavour
alone, I think it's more than that. It's
the whole beer experience. A lot of it
is driven by home brewers using these
products as benchmarks."
Fullers ESB (Extra Special Bitter)
has been widely credited as a
benchmark for many American and
Australian craft beers. Developed
in the 1970s, it has been recognised
by the Campaign for Real Ale as
England's Best Strong Ale no less
than seven times. Head brewer John
Keeling is frequently a guest judge
at the Australian International Beer
Awards. "Craft brewers appreciate
companies that have a long history
because they see them as benchmarks
for particular styles."
Although Fulllers is typically sold in
500ml bottles, Empire Liquor is adding
a line extension, making ESB, flagship
bitter London Pride, London Porter
and IPA available in 330ml bottles.
"We see an opportunity for people
who want to take a Fullers product
home. They'll feel more comfortable
with 330ml because it's what they're
Apart from its core range, Fullers has
two other ranges that are being brought
into Australia. Its Limited Release range
includes an Imperial Stout: "It's been so
popular they're producing it annually
at the moment." Its Past Masters range
includes a 1914 Strong X ale produced
to coincide with the centenary of the
beginning of World War I.
Quirini has visited the Fullers Griffin
Brewery in Chiswick, London, and has
seen the books where "every brewer
has kept handwritten records of every
beer done since 1845. They (Fullers)
are selectively going through those and
picking out ones (to release). They will
go and find the exact raw material that
the brewers used to create those styles.
They have found patches of malts that
were produced in the early 1900s and
are encouraging farmers to plant more
of them, to recreate these old styles."
The next one due to come out
in the Past Masters range is a 1926
Oatmeal Porter, released this year to
commemorate the 90th birthday of
Queen Elizabeth II. It is due to arrive
in Australia in September and will be
available in limited quantities -- just
200 cases of 12 x 500ml bottles.
"Our product might not suit every
venue. It's all about quality and
experience," Quirini said. "We do
sell at a premium. The retail world
expects all beer to be the same price.
Where we possibly can, we try to have
a range of products in kegs. Fullers
has five different products in kegs on
a varying basis."
The product comes from London
in 50-litre steel kegs, and the empties
go back to the UK. "The beer is
simply amazing. We get limited
release products in the kegs as
well." At the time of writing, kegs of
Fullers' Montana Red Rye Ale were
on their way.
"The big challenge is that with the
huge influx of new domestic craft
breweries, the consumer is a little bit
mesmerised by the whole proposition of
these new beers coming on the market,"
Quirini said. "People are always
seeking the new experience. They're less
inclined to be product-specific loyal. It
must drive [retailers] crazy."
"PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS SEEKING THE NEW
EXPERIENCE. THEY'RE LESS INCLINED TO BE
PRODUCT-SPECIFIC LOYAL. IT MUST DRIVE
- BRENTON QUIRINI, EMPIRE LIQUOR.
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