Home' National Liquor News : NLN FEB 2017 Contents NATIONAL LIQUOR NEWS FEBRUARY 2017 | 91
MICHAEL YORK, DIRECTOR
WHAT WERE SOME OF THE
HIGHLIGHTS FOR QUITTIN’ TIME
There were a lot of changes at Quittin’ Time
in 2016. We are 100 per cent family-owned
and run and in 2016 I was appointed to
take over as Director when my father Curt
retired. I guess you could say it is bitter sweet
taking the reins of a business that I helped to
build, but working with family has been an
Some highlights include getting back out into
the field and doing events such as Indie Tasting.
Over the past few years we’ve opted out of
some shows for various reasons and made some
operational changes to free up some resources,
so in 2016 we were able to do more events
around the country and we plan to expand on
this in 2017.
We were fortunate to be appointed by
Barbados-based R.L. Seale & Company as
its exclusive importer/distributor for the
Australian market for their Doorly’s and
Foursquare premium range of rums. We are
very excited to be bringing such a great range
to the Australian market.
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS MAJOR
Quittin’ Time is always looking for new
opportunities with products and business
partners around the country and the world.
Spiced rum has dramatically changed the
perception of the rum category over the last
couple of years, for the better, in my opinion.
It’s put a positive impression on people who
have previously had a bad experience with rum.
However, it’s also been a little detrimental to
the ‘real’ rum category as it brings the overall
perception of rum down to a drink that is
inferior to Bourbon or whisky.
In 2016, we began developing two brands
in Australia that we know are ‘real’ rum (not
sweetened like spiced rum or made to appeal
to a particular market), just genuine and pure
rum. While they are a little more challenging to
the average rum consumer, they will certainly
be intriguing to the lovers of Bourbon and
single malt whiskies. We will be pushing
Doorly’s and Foursquare rums from Barbados
wherever we can as we feel this will help bring
the perception of rum up to the standard it
deserves; it offers rum drinkers the next step on
El Dorado has released some special cask
finishes which are limited quantity but are
also changing the face of the rum category
and making it more sophisticated. These
cask finishes from Foursquare and El Dorado
combined with the Bristol Classic range of
rums offer us a great opportunity to showcase
some amazing rum and position ourselves at
the premium end of the category.
IN WHICH AREAS DID YOU SEE
THE MOST AMOUNT OF GROWTH
In terms of growth as a whole, we saw more
growth this year in retail sales than we have
in prior years. I believe this is a combination
of people becoming more aware of the liquors
used in the drinks they are consuming and
finding out what they are, as well as more
consumers using online platforms to order
products from around the country, particularly
in northern Queensland and Western Australia.
With regard to each category, spiced rum
has seen steady growth, which I think most
importers/producers will have noticed, but
the area that grew the most was the mid- to
premium-end aged rums. With this we’re
looking at our five to 12-year-old rums.
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE BIG
TRENDS FOR 2017?
We believe that 2017 will see consumers
shifting away from spiced and sweetened
rums and moving into more sophisticated
products. It’s been a change that has been
slowly happening over the last couple of years
and we’ve certainly seen increased sales on the
premium side of our range. I think this trend
will continue to grow for the next few years as
more people come to appreciate real rum. We
tend to keep our eyes open for new products
and taste a lot of products. We listen and
understand what the producers are seeing at
their end in terms of trends and demands and
make decisions on products accordingly.
WHAT PLANS DO YOU HAVE TO
ENGAGE THE TRADE IN THE
We are looking to do a couple more events
around the country in 2017 to engage venues
and consumers personally and keep that ‘family
business’ approach that we have rolling. We
will offer people a chance to taste some of the
world’s best products from some of the world’s
best producers. The key is to get the right
product into the right mouth. We are aiming to
get a couple of products into key retail stores
nationwide and to continue to support and help
our partners around the country to grow their
businesses as well.
WHAT KEY FACTORS DO YOU
THINK THE INDUSTRY SHOULD BE
DISCUSSING IN 2017?
I think the industry both in Australia
and globally should be talking about the
misconceptions when it comes to products.
Different ageing styles and methods create very
different products with very different price tags.
Often consumers aren’t aware that a number
on a bottle might not be an age statement, but
rather, related to how many distillates go into
a blend, for example. I think as a category
we need to educate people more about which
product they are tasting actually, how old it
is, and what’s actually in the bottle in terms of
additives, sugars etc.
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