Home' National Liquor News : NLN MAR 2018 Contents 50 | MARCH 2018 NATIONAL LIQUOR NEWS
JARED: Like a lot of people in the industry, I began
by picking up glasses. After slinging beers in
various pubs around Sydney (mainly with a craft
beer focus) I ended up in venue management,
even setting up a new craft beer bar in the west. A
few months into my time at the Robin Hood I was
offered the position of Bottle Shop Manager.
DAVID: I worked behind a few different bars while
at university and fell in love with the hospitality
industry at the same time as I fell in love with Little
Creatures Pale Ale. After a short and somewhat
boring stint in media I jumped at the chance to
work for the Australian Brewery and the Colosimo
family again. Six years later the rest is history.
HOW ARE YOU FINDING THE
JARED: Despite only being in retail for a short
time, I think the current trends are evident
across the liquor industry as a whole, at least
in Metropolitan Sydney. Although overall
consumption is down, I have noticed a shift
toward more premium offerings. Customers in
the bottle shop and over the bar are taking a
greater interest in such things as premium whisky,
boutique gin, craft beer, and thanks to the boom
of cocktail bars in Sydney it is even extending
to more niche products such as aperitifs and
vermouth for the more adventurous.
DAVID: Long live the growth of the craft can. We
were the first to package in cans back in 2012
and it is great to see so many brewers following
suit and having customers chase them down.
We are finding an increased interest in our craft
lagers, especially our New World Pilsner. More
venues are dipping their toes into craft beer and
are looking for good gateway brews.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST
JARED: I think the biggest challenge currently
is cost, with wage growth stagnating and prices
continually rising, plus the addition of initiatives
such as the NSW CDS, the consumer is really
being hit hard at the moment. As an independent
retailer to retain healthy profit margins while also
maintaining consumer loyalty is increasingly
difficult. All while competing against the big
multinational liquor barns.
DAVID: The biggest challenges in general is that
so many brands are fighting for such a small slice
of the market. For us specifically, being the little
guy from North West Sydney we struggle a bit with
manpower. Simply not being able to put as many
boots on the ground as other brewers, some with
four or five reps just in Sydney.
WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL
BE THE BIG BEER TRENDS
JARED: I think a shift toward premium craft lager
and lightly hopped summer style ales has already
begun. The wave of big, hoppy, American style
beers was slowed dramatically and people are
now seeking beer better suited to the Australian
climate, while not sacrificing flavour or quality.
Even sour ales are making their presence felt, and
fruit infused ales always seem to be a hit.
DAVID: It is rare for me to walk into a bar now and
not hear the word collaboration mentioned, so a
big year for that. As Jared mentioned, I believe
lighter easier drinking styles of beer better suited
to the climate will continue to thrive. Somewhat
selfishly I would like to see an increased interest
in Saison as I’m dying to bring ours back. Big
flavour expressions, solid 6-7% ABV but a nice
light body. Can I say perfection?
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY
MOST ABOUT THE JOB?
JARED: It would have to be the endless amount
of learning there is to be had. No matter how
long you spend in the industry, there is always
something new to try, things to learn, and there is
always something that will surprise you. So many
products have rich histories and great stories and
with the newer brands such as Australian craft
breweries it is wonderful to be a part of their story
as they develop. It is a relatively small industry, so
building relationships with people over the years
as we all grow and evolve is awesome.
DAVID: It is a generally forward-thinking industry
full of creative, fun people joined over the love of a
beer. How could you go wrong? Watching so many
successful local businesses working together to
build each other up and continue to grow the
industry is also exciting and it is great to feel a
part of that. I still feel despite the rapid increase
in competition that the rising tide is lifting all boats
versus just the big boys.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST
ABOUT WORKING WITH
JARED: Over the years we have become friends.
So sharing a laugh and a beer when we get the
chance is always great. But, it seems now Dave is
trying to out-beard me.
DAVID: It is great when we get a chance to have a
beer and not necessarily talk shop. It helps that the
Robin Hood has the best craft beer happy hour in
the eastern suburbs! Jared has a few beard years
on me, but I think I have him for length.
WE TALK SHOP WITH JARED FRANCUZ FROM THE ROBIN
HOOD HOTEL BOTTLE SHOP AND DAVID WARD FROM
Bottle Shop and Purchasing Manager, Robin Hood Hotel, NSW
Sales Manager, Australian Brewery
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