By Amy Looker, editor National Liquor News
Registrations are still open for the annual Australian Liquor Stores Association (ALSA) conference, which starts in Cairns on Sunday August 24.
An expected 200 delegates including liquor retailers, suppliers, wholesalers and key industry stakeholders will come together at the Pullman Cairns International for an in-depth forum that examines a range of aspects that are relevant to liquor retailing in today?s competitive market.
Among the confirmed keynote speakers is Steve Lewis, chief executive officer of UK liquor retailer Majestic Wines; one of Australia?s top leadership experts, Peter Baines OAM; Dr Ross Walker, a consulting cardiologist at the National Institute of Integrated Medicine; economist Peter Switzer and Nielsen?s Michael Walton.
Delegates will also be able to meet with leading suppliers and sample the latest products at the ALSA Expo and Trade Day along with a busy schedule of networking events that will showcase the best Cairns has to offer.
For more information on attending the 2014 ALSA conference, click here.
Merivale CEO reveals concept behind Coogee Pavilion
By James Wells
In an exclusive interview, Merivale CEO Justin Hemmes has revealed the concept behind the new Coogee Pavilion and why the community-driven venue is a natural progression for his company.
Hemmes told TheShout Coogee Pavilion is not a pub but a venue tailored to the local community and a destination for different types of occasions.?
?It?s such an iconic building in one of the most remarkable positions. We?ve renamed it the Coogee Pavilion and we?re treating it as this beautiful iconic heritage building on the beach on the most beautiful coast in the world," he said yesterday.
Even though a wide variety of food and beverage offerings are the cornerstone of the venue, there are also a number of cultural and social experiences for people to enjoy.
?It?s three levels; we?re just about to open the ground level and it?s got very much a market feel to it. There?s numerous different food offerings," he said.?
"We?ve got an oyster bar, a coffee cart, a sashimi section, a cold pressed juice cart, we?ve got a little florist going in, a barber shop, a little theatrette, a petanque court, a ping pong area, we?ve got a huge scrabble board up on the wall, we?ve got shuffle board, there?s a seafood section; a little cocktail bar, there?s a pizzeria and there?s a grill section and the main bar ? all within the ground level."
?So [there are] lots of different experiences. You can sit wherever you want you can do whatever you want, you can eat, you can drink, you can just walk around. We want to open up the space to everyone," the Merivale CEO said.
"You can come in in your speedos, your bikini, you can be playing volleyball here and come in for a cold pressed juice, you can be coming on a date, coming with your family, lots of activities for kids - very kid friendly."
?We have a whole dog parking area on the outside, you can park you dog there and there?s drinking bowls for them while you go in and grab something to eat. We do lots of takeaway as well."
?My girlfriend said to me ? this is what you actually do on weekends, you eat great food, you have a drink by the ocean, you?re swimming and this is how I like to live."
?So it is a natural progression for Merivale, what we?ve been doing and we?re just continuing our direction in food and beverage which is a new way of eating and drinking I believe ? it is a very social way of eating and drinking.
?Every venue we do is tailored to the area or the community we go into and in this instance we are going into a beachside community that is heavily focused on family values, there?s a lot of young families here, the community?s marvellous. We are tailoring the offering to what they want,? Hemmes said.
Click play on the video below to see the exclusive video interview with Justin Hemmes.
PIN-only advice for pubs, bottleshops get banned patrons list: Smart Licensee
The switch to PIN-only credit card authorisation and Victoria?s first banned patrons list for packaged liquor are among the news items tackled today on Smart Licensee, the new subscription-only publication launched by?TheShout?this week.
Smart Licensee is a premium e-newsletter and website for managers and licensees working in both the on-premise and off-premise sectors of the liquor industry and their suppliers.
Topics covered include best practice bar management and retailing, market and shopper insights, as well as crucial regulatory developments and prosecutions.?Here are some of the articles that are new today on Smart Licensee:
PIN authorisation poses three main issues in hospitality, warns advisor
Australia?s financial institutions are adamant that the move to mandatory PIN authorisation for credit card payments will benefit the hospitality sector, but an industry advisor warns that the transition poses three main concerns for bars, restaurants and hotels. Read more
First banned patrons list for packaged liquor
A regional Victorian city has become the state?s first to introduce a banned patrons list specifically for packaged liquor, which will run in parallel to the existing list for hotels and nightclubs. Read more
Click here to take a free trial of Smart Licensee.
Aussie craft spirits gaining international recognition
By Clyde Mooney ? editor Australian Hotelier
Riding the wave or recognition for Tasmanian distillers, artisan brand William McHenry & Sons was recently awarded a gold medal at the prestigious American SIP awards in Dana Beach, California.
The 100-member judging panel of the Spirits International Prestige (SIP) event, which proclaims its mission to ?cut to the core of public opinion?, tasted its way through a record 403 beverages across 28 categories.?
William McHenry, based in the apple isle?s idyllic Port Arthur, took the gold medal for its London Dry Gin, and is also the only distiller in Australia producing a Sloe Gin.
The distiller has also recently signed with Sydney-based ?craft distiller? distributor, Nip Of Courage (NOC), which likens the global trend toward boutique and small-batch spirits to the evolution of craft beer in recent years. (continues below)
?Craft spirits are not for all pubs ? just like craft beer isn't for all pubs,? NOC sales & marketing manager Kathleen Davies told TheShout.
?Most pubs these days can offer a lovely boutique wine or unique craft beer to customers who want to trade up, but an option for a unique spirit isn't considered in most cases.?
?There are now approximately 50 craft distilleries in Australia, and that number is growing. The chains are introducing them, but largely the whole craft spirits movement in Australia is under-developed.?
NOC appears to have developed a knack for picking the winners, with several of its stable brands enjoying widespread acclaim.
Bathurst?s Stone Pine Distillery earned silver in the uber-competitive London Dry Gin category in the UK spirit awards, and Queensland?s Mt Uncle Distillery has received gongs for its rum, vodka, whisky and gin across a number of events.
Also, Tasmania?s Belgrove Distillery ? the ?greenest distillery in the world? and one of only three globally to boast ?Paddock to Bottle? ? will soon release a world-first ?100% Peated Rye?.
More than 200 punters, publicans and industry heavyweights were at Collingwood?s recently revamped Gasometer Hotel on Monday for the inagural Time Out Melbourne Pub Awards.
Hosted by Good Beer Week co-founder Miro Bellini, the evening also marked the launch of the first-ever Time Out Melbourne Pub Guide ? a definitive new list of the top 50 pubs in the city.?
Deafening applause met the announcement of Pub of Year winners Terminus Hotel. Best Beer List went to Werribee?s craft brew kings the Park Hotel, proving that sometimes, the ?burbs still do it best. Andrew McConnell?s perfect cheese sandwiches and fish pies made the Builders Arms Hotel worthy winners of the Best Pub Food gong. [continues below]
Brunswick's Edinburgh Castle took out the Family Friendly Award. The Yarra Hotel was awarded Best Entertainment, while the Savoy Tavern picked up the Revival Award.
Fitzroy stalwart the Rose Hotel won the Legend Award, with Matt and Melanie from the warm and friendly Reverence Hotel awarded Publicans of the Year.
St Kilda?s Local Taphouse, which has in excess of 300 different beers available every year, picked up the People?s Choice Award.
?Pubs are as integral to the fabric of Melbourne as trams or footy. Any entertainment guide worth its salt should celebrate them,? said Time Out CEO Michael Rodrigues.?
This time around, it was Time Out's turn to put on a spread, with brisket tacos, beef sliders and fried pickles paired with Little Creatures pale ale, pilsner and Rogers? ale, and Apple Thief Cider?s Granny Smith, William Pear and Pink Lady varieties.?
Upbeat soulsters the Holiday Adventure kept feet firmly planted on the dance floor, while a lucky few scored great prizes on the chocolate wheel, raising money for the good folk at Ozharvest.
TheShout brews Beervana collaboration beer with Young Henrys
By James Atkinson
Mega Mega White Thing, a beer created by Sydney?s Young Henrys in collaboration with TheShout, is one of more than 250 beers that will be available at next month?s Beervana festival in Wellington, New Zealand.
Mega Mega White Thing is a 5.8 per cent ABV ?White Stout? using this year?s crop of Motueka and Wai-iti hops as the Kiwi elements of the beer required for Beervana. [continues below]
?We?re using flake barley, which is a common ingredient in Stout, and we?re using oats, which will hopefully give it a bit more body as well,? Young Henrys brewer Richard Adamson commented on the recent brew day (pictured).
Adamson said that before it became synonymous with dark beer, the term Stout was originally used as a descriptor for a big, strong beer.?
?So really a strong white Pale Ale is what we?re making and we?re just keeping it really pale, with also that Stout-like body to it,? he said.
?The Wai-iti hops are low in alpha acids but high in essential oils, which should give us good flavour.? [continues below]
As with many of Young Henrys? collaboration brews, the inspiration for Mega Mega White Thing lies in music and more specifically the lyrics of British electronic act Underworld?s 1996 hit ?Born Slippy?: ?Shouting Lager, Lager, Lager. Shouting Mega Mega White Thing...?
After premiering at Beervana, Mega Mega White Thing will be available at select Sydney venues that pour Young Henrys specialty beers.
Beervana?s inaugural trade show takes place on Thursday 21st August, ahead of the festival on Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd August.
Pictured L-R: Richard Adamson with TheShout editor James Atkinson
By Clyde Mooney ? editor Australian Hotelier
Supermarket giant Coles has purchased its first pub in four years, in stark contrast to its recent practice of selling hotel establishments around the country.
In accordance with Queensland?s liquor laws requiring a hotel licence to anchor retail liquor outlets, the nation?s second-largest pub operator has purchased Marina Quays Tavern on Hope Island.
The transaction was brokered by Knight Frank director of hotels Craig Harley, who said the big name purchase reflected a positive sentiment for the hotel marketplace in Queensland.
?The substantial hotel property is adjacent to a planned shopping centre, retirement village, and service station, and is surrounded by residential development that enjoys high visibility and extensive passing traffic,? said Harley.
Coles head of property for liquor and hotels, Ben Parkinson, said the hotel is well located on a busy road network, and will provide a good opportunity to offer customers in the region a convenient choice for their packaged liquor needs.
The leasehold purchase locks Coles into a 15-year lease, with eight five-year options for the Wesfarmers-owned group.
Coles operates retail liquor brands Liquorland, Vintage Cellars and 1st Choice, and will almost certainly build a big-box outlet on the site.?
For the latest information on pub real estate, visit TheShout's dedicated Pub Sales page.
By James Atkinson
A new craft beer subscription service with an emphasis on limited release beers has sent out its first beer boxes to customers in recent weeks.
Beer Days offers beer boxes containing eight, 12 or 16 craft beers for sale on a one-off basis or as a monthly or quarterly subscription - with prices starting from $54.95.
With craft beers now widely available in bottleshops, Beer Days founder Cameron Elliot told TheShout the service is not about replacing the retail channel. [continues below]
"Beer Days delivers a beer tasting experience that encourages you to try fantastic craft beers that you might not have seen or heard about," he said.
"If you like them, then we encourage you to go to a specialty bottleshop and seek them out. Our aim is to take craft beer to the masses and make craft a beer drinkers' first choice."
Elliot said Beer Days is continually talking to a variety of brewers and distributors in order to source the very best, hard-to-find and limited release Australian and international craft beers.
"Our first beer boxes just left Beer Days HQ and some of the beauties inside included Brew Cult Get Down American Brown Ale and Barrique O'Karma, which were both limited last runs that we got our hands on the last few cases and were very hard to find," he said.
By Amy Looker, editor National Liquor News
New South Wales liquor retailer Chambers Cellars has confirmed its acquisition of three Blue Mountains outlets.
News of the acquisition comes after Chambers moved to quash speculation that the independent had sold its outlets across the greater Sydney area to Woolworths.
The three new stores are situated at Springwood, Winmalee and Faulconbridge and were owned by the Bell family under the Liquor Stax banner.
Chambers Cellars marketing manager Matt McEvoy said the acquisition lays to rest the recent sale rumours, bringing the banner to 36 stores throughout greater Sydney and NSW.?
?The new Blue Mountains stores are a great addition to our group and really strengthening our position in the lower Blue Mountains,? McEvoy said.?
?There will certainly be a few changes to the range and store layout which will provide an improved shopping experience in line with the rest of our group but the fact customers still have their local stores with local staff is very important to us.?
McEvoy told TheShout that Chambers Cellars has further growth and expansion planned, with the group currently in acquisition talks with stores in other areas across Sydney and surrounds.?
?With the growth and expansion of stores comes a need to further employment opportunities, both internally and externally. For the past few years we have been working with Peter Hall and Austrain for staff training and that is being modified to deliver improved outcomes.? ?
By James Atkinson
Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) has successfully challenged a Chinese company's bid to trademark a wine brand that was a clear imitation of its Wolf Blass imprint.
Guorong Xu sought to register the Kensington brand featuring the perched eagle logo pictured below.
Jock McDonagh of the Australian Trademarks Office said that as the the second ranked still bottled wine brand in Australia by value, Wolf Blass clearly had an established reputation in this market, with gross sales in the eight years prior of some $100 million.
He said there was "real likelihood that the average consumer will wonder or be left in doubt" whether the Kensington wines were a sub-brand extension of Wolf Blass.
TWE director of group corporate affairs, Roger Sharp, told TheShout the Kensington logo was "a fairly direct and blatant rip-off of the Wolf Blass eagle".
He said the company was very pleased with the decision, which would be instructive for authorities in China, where new trademark laws came into effect on May 1.
"It's a very strong lever for us to demonstrate prior association and prior ownership, verified by the trademark authorities in the country of origin."
Sharp said recent media coverage of TWE's issues surrounding the Penfolds trademark in China were completely overblown.
"We have over 80 brands, we're the world's largest listed wine business. On any given day there are a whole range of trademark issues that we're dealing with," he said.
"Any branded entity that is doing business in China has these challenges," said Sharp.