Further liquor industry consolidation as Metcash buys Duncan’s

Metcash has entered into an agreement to purchase Southern Independent Liquor Group (SILG), which trades under the Duncan’s and OzLiquor banners.

SILG operates in Victoria with over 100 Duncan’s and OzLiquor branded retail outlets has over 400 wholesale customers.

Ian Morrice, Group CEO of Metcash said: “The purchase of SILG would strengthen Metcash’s presence in these states. The Duncan’s stores are well placed and we believe that as a part of Metcash’s ALM portfolio, sales can be increased as they become part of the Group’s established marketing program.”

Metcash will also be able to leverage SILG customers and retail outlets which will be serviced from the ALM distribution centres in Victoria and Tasmania.

The acquisition follows the recent transition of Steve’s Liquor Group to Metcash’s BottleO network.

Frank Kraps, Chairman of SILG said: “Both SILG and ALM are focused on growing independent strength and we view the asset sale as a positive step toward building a stronger and more robust independent liquor retail sector.”

An Extraordinary General Meeting of SILG shareholders will be held in March to obtain approval of the Asset Sale of Agreement.


Tasmania’s Nant Distilling Company wins at World Spirit Awards

Tasmanian distillery, Nant Distilling Company has taken home two awards from Europe’s prestigious World Spirits Awards.

Nant claimed a gold medal win for its American Oak Sherry Wood and silver for its French Oak Pinot Noir Wood expression.

The recent wins add to Nant’s growing list of accolades including having won “Liquid Gold’ status in Jim Murray's annual whisky bible (Murray being renowned as one of the world’s leading authorities on whisky).

Owner and CEO of Nant, Keith Batt said that he was thrilled with the distillery's latest wins, adding that the prestige of the award brings significant attention to the Tasmanian single malt industry, which is now recognised as world class.

“Once again we have had a fantastic result. The international attention Nant has received in its short history has earned us a reputation for being one of the best traditional distilleries of single malt whisky in the world,” he said.

“Our Sherry Wood 43 percent in particular continues to attract global attention, taking Gold in the China Wine and Spirits Awards in 2014”.

An increased interest from Australians for quality whisky over recent years saw Nant open its own branded bars in Melbourne, Brisbane and Hobart.

In the year ahead, Nant will open a flagship bar in Sydney and a second venue in Melbourne, while internationally expansion plans are underway in both Singapore and London.

In March, 2014 fellow Tasmanian distiller, Sullivan’s Cove gained international attention for taking out the title of world’s best single malt at the World Whisky Award in London.

Sullivan’s Cove’s French Oak Cask single malt whisky beat high profile entrants The Glenlivet, Bunnahabain, and Japanese Yamazaki for the award, which is considered to be the most prestigious in the world for whisky producers.

IBISWorld has predicted sales of Tasmanian-produced whisky are forecast to grow strongly as the state's reputation as a producer of premium single malts strengthens.


China gives the nod to Aussie wines

Australian wines were a big winner at the China Wine and Spirits Best Value Awards.

Seven Australian wineries stood out from the rest and took home double golds and Wine of the Year Trophy for their region:

  • d'Arenberg’s The Coppermine Road
  • The Colonial Estate’s Exile Shiraz
  • Wyndham Estate’s George Wyndham Founders Reserve Cabernet Merlot
  • Brands Laira’s Stentiford's Shiraz
  • Morris Wines’s Morris Old Premium Rare Liqueur Topaque
  • Taylors Wines’ Taylors Merlot
  • Wolf Blass’ Grey Label McLaren Vale Shiraz.

Taylors Wines in particular has shone at the awards, taking home the trophy for Clare Valley Wine of the Year for its 2014 Taylors Estate Merlot, alongside five Double Gold medals and five Gold medals.

This is the second year in a row Taylors has taken home a trophy at the China Wine and Spirits Best Value Awards, winning Australian Wine of the Year for its 2010 Promised Land Shiraz Cabernet in 2014. This week’s wins will join the trophies won at the show’s sister competition the China Wine and Spirits Awards including: in 2014 Clare Valley Wine of the Year for 2010 Taylors Winemaker’s Project Barrel Selection Clare Valley Shiraz, in 2013 Australian Wine Producer of the Year.

Taylors Wines third generation managing director Mitchell Taylor said this was an auspicious win being the first for the winery in China since the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was signed between Australia and the Asian giant in late 2014, and of course with the nation celebrating Chinese New Year this week.

“Taylors Wines are excited and optimistic about our future in the Chinese market. The success at such a prestigious show across a real breadth of our wines selected by a panel of judges that knows the end consumer and buyer so well, is a complement to our team,” Taylor said.

The FTA between Australia and China sees a lift on the 14 per cent tariff on Australian bottled wine, putting Aussie wine on equal footing with that of New Zealand and Chile who have already benefited from FTAs. China is Australia’s biggest export market by value for wine valued at wholesale price point of more than $7.50, and third largest overall by value after the United States and United Kingdom.

The China Wine and Spirits Awards attracts judges from all major purchasing decision makers in the growing Chinese market including wine importers, distributors, wholesalers, restaurant group owners and sommeliers based in China. More than 5,600 wine brands entered the 2015 China Wine and Spirits Best Value Awards.

Taylors Wines award winning wines at the 2015 China Wine and Spirits Best Value Awards:

For the full list of winners, click here.


Consumption growth of spirits restricted: IBISWorld

Increased health consciousness and stagnant alcohol consumption have restricted spirit consumption growth in overall volume. For these reasons, industry research firm IBISWorld has updated its report on Spirit Manufacturing in Australia

Australia imports the majority of the spirits it consumes. As a result, players in the Spirit Manufacturing industry in Australia supply less than 40 percent of domestic demand. For some products, a degree of transformation occurs domestically, particularly in the case of ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages, which compose the majority of industry revenue.

According to IBISWorld industry analyst Ryan Lin, “over the past five years, the industry has recovered from effects of the alcopops tax in 2008, which reduced demand for RTDs.”

This recovery has been helped by an increased demand for bottled spirits and ready-to-serve cocktail products. Industry revenue is forecast to grow at an annualised 1.8 percent over the five years through 2014-15. In 2014-15, industry revenue is expected to grow by 2.4 percent to $508.8 million, assisted by rising consumer discretionary income and favourable export conditions.

Conditions within the Spirit Manufacturing industry have varied over the past five years. Increased health consciousness and stagnant alcohol consumption have restricted consumption growth in overall volume.

“This has been partly offset by a trend towards more expensive spirit consumption, and a growing consumer willingness to try new industry products,” Lin said.

The RTD segment has remained subdued since the introduction of the alcopops tax in 2008, which raised prices and placed greater restrictions on marketing. However, the good value of many Australian spirits, increasing consumer preference for local products and the growing popularity of Australian whisky and gin have all aided industry revenue growth. These factors bode well for domestic manufacturers. The industry exhibits a medium level of market share concentration. Major players include Diageo Australia Limited, Asahi Holdings (Australia) Pty Ltd, Coca-Cola Amatil Limited and Bacardi Lion Pty Limited.

Over the five years through 2019-20, factors such as the rise of cocktail culture and the premiumisation of the beverage market are expected to boost demand for pre-mixed cocktail drinks and value-added bottled spirits.

Imports are likely to continue to dominate the industry as imported spirits remain popular and international manufacturers diversify their product lines. Sales of Tasmanian-produced whisky are forecast to grow strongly as the state's reputation as a producer of premium single malts strengthens. The initial success of Australian spirits is likely to encourage a more diverse range of boutique distillers to enter the Spirit Manufacturing industry. However, growing competition from cider, beer and wine manufacturers will likely threaten industry revenue over the next five years.


Diageo virtually opens its doors with Google 360˚ technology

Four Diegeo distilleries in remote parts of Scotland can now be toured from laptops, iPads and other digital devices using Google Business View.

Diageo has worked with Google Business View, a 360˚ virtual tour that will allow people to see inside Diageo’s Single Malt Scotch Whisky distilleries: Cardhu, The Singleton of Glen Ord, Talisker and Lagavulin.

Nicholas Morgan, Head of Whisky Outreach, comments: “All of our whisky distilleries are unique and all happen to be located in some of the most beautiful places in the world.  Many aspire to visit, but only a few can. So we’re delighted that this technology can open doors for whisky fans across the world, to give enthusiasts an insight into the craftsmanship and hard work that goes into creating these whiskies.”

Venky Balakrishnan, global vice president, digital innovation for Diageo, said: “People travel from all over the world to our distilleries in Scotland to learn about the heritage and provenance of their favourite brands. Google Business View brings the immersive experience of visiting these famous landmarks to people regardless of where they are in the world. Seeing & feeling the incredible history, craft and quality first-hand will bring them closer to the brands they love. This is a great example of how we are using cutting-edge technology to pay tribute to centuries old traditions.”

Ed Parsons, geospatial technologist at Google UK, said: “The processes that are involved inside these landmark Scottish distilleries are of interest to a wide range of people, in terms of their history, heritage and craft. Now anyone can explore these places in detail, and we are thrilled to be able to share this with users from around the world through Google Business View.”


Coco Joy Flavoured Coconut Milk

Product Name: Coco Joy Flavoured Coconut Milk

Product Manufacturer: FAL Food and Beverages

Ingredients: Water, coconut juice, coconut extract, sugar, stabilisers (473, 407, 412), flavour and colour (varies per flavour)

Shelf Life: Approx two years

Packaging: 500ml and 250ml bottles

Product Manager: Jordan Cameron

Brand Website: https://Falstore.com.au

What the company says:

Flavoured milk lovers can rejoice! Coco Joy Coconut Milk is free of dairy, soy, lactose, gluten, casein, egg and MSG and rich in vitamin D and calcium.

After the fruit is husked and halved, the delicate pulp is pressed to release its rich, tasty cream. It’s carefully blended with pure filtered water, along with other ingredients like vitamins, minerals and natural flavours.

Coconut milk is a great dairy substitute because not only does it keep blood sugar balanced, it also promotes skin, blood vessel, bone, joint, and immune health. The main saturated fat that it contains, lauric acid, has been shown to promote brain development and bone health.


FAIR Quinoa Vodka

Product Name: FAIR Quinoa Vodka

Product Manufacturer: FAIR.

Ingredients: Organic Quinoa, Barley & Wheat

Packaging: 700ml glass bottle

Brand Website: www.noblespirits.com.au

What the company says:

FAIR Quinoa Vodka is a new generation of vodka, stemmed from unique French know-how, produced and bottled in France, in the Cognac region, using Bolivian quinoa seeds cultivated according to the methods of organic farming.

FAIR Vodka is born out of a double brewing operation, and subsequent distillation in craft authentic column still to keep a silky and delicate aroma.


Magnum Wines

Product Name: Magnum Wines

Product Manufacturer: Accolade Wines

Ingredients: A range of Accolade Wines

Shelf Life: Six months

Packaging: Cask wine packaging – 1.5 litres

Product Manager: Scott Bell

Brand Website: www.magnumwines.com.au

What the company says:

An Australian first, the new Magnum is a 1.5 litre soft pack that gives wine drinkers the flexibility to enjoy great wine, a glass at a time. The equivalent of two bottles, Magnum delivers great value, premium varietal wines that are regionally and vintage declared in a compact format that allows wine to stay fresh for weeks, not days.

Magnum is available nationally and across a range of brands such as Hardys, Houghton, South Island, Goundrey, Ta_Ku, Riddoch, Brookland Valley, Waipara Hills, Cat Amongst the Pigeons and Monkey Bay. 


Q4 results for Pepsico and Coca Cola please shareholders

Both Coca Cola and Pepsico have released their Q4 and full-year 2014 results, with Coca Cola beating Q4 numbers and Pepsico returning higher than expected profits.

Coca Cola’s results triggered a rise in its shares prices, Kara Ordway, senior market analyst at www.cityindex.com.au says.

“The great news with Coca Cola is the fact it saw North American sales grow for the first quarter in four, which highlights a potential turning point for consecutive quarterly sales decline in its biggest market.

“North American sales grew by 2 percent to $5.37bn in the firms fiscal fourth quarter, which is vital considering North American sales contributes to 49 percent of total group sales. Compare this to a 10 percent drop in sales in Asia Pacific and a 2 percent decline in sales in Europe and it’s easy to see here that North American sales played a vital role in Coca Cola beating forecasts here,” Ordway says.

“Going forward there remain significant concerns over exposure to currency fluctuations internationally considering recent strength and forecast continued strength in the US dollar.

“The firm predicts currency fluctuations to generate a 5 percent headwind on net revenues and a 7-8 percent impact on profits before tax for the 2015.”

On the other hand, Pepsico delivered a “double whammy of higher than expected profits and a return of cash to investors totalling as much as $9bn,” Ordway says.

“The drinks firm saw fourth quarter core earnings per share rise to $1.12 with the market expecting around $1.08 per share. Organic revenue grew by 5 percent in the last quarter of the year and 4 percent for the year as a whole, brightening underlying prospects and comes despite growing calls from activist investor Nelson Peltz’s Trian Fund Management for the executive board to agree to dramatic changes to the firm to make it more streamlined and agile.

“From a pure numbers perspective, there is enough here to be well received by the market but it’s the return of cash to shareholders of as much as $9bn in the form dividends and share repurchases that will help even more with the digestion of their firms earnings.

“The firm seems to be gaining some solid momentum, especially with organic revenue growth growing more strongly in the last quarter of the year and this brightens medium term prospects for the company as a whole.

“One thing to warn against is the recent strength of the US dollar and the like progressive impact this will make on global sales and currency exposure. We saw dollar strength make an impact in Pepsico’s earnings this time around and with the dollar gaining even more momentum, this needs to be guarded against by investors,” Ordway says.


Does gluten-free beer have potential in Australia?

The rise of gluten-free is showing no signs of slowing down, and there’s a new player on the block: beer.

Overall growth in the beer manufacturing industry is stagnant, with and craft/premium beers dominating growth, according to the IBISWorld Beer Manufacturing industry in Australia market research report.

The industry is worth $5 billion overall and grew at only 0.1 per cent in 2010-15.

According to Euromonitor International, the gluten-free food market was worth A$246m in Australia in 2014, with an annual growth rate of 54 percent.  What’s more, it’s anticipated to reach A$437m in value by 2019. And now it’s entering beer.

Can this momentum be replicated within the alcoholic drinks arena?

Spiros Malandrakis, Euromonitor International Senior Alcoholic Drinks Analyst says it already has.

“Cider’s meteoric rise in the US market is largely relevant to the category’s naturally gluten-free attributes (alongside the savvy promotional campaigns underscoring the fact as a unique selling point). Spirits are also naturally gluten free – even though some recent launches seem to have only just got the memo and wear it as a badge of honour,” Malandrakis says.

In the UK, a brewery which claims to the be the UK's first to produce only gluten-free beers is due to open in Edinburgh next year.

The Bellfield Brewery is currently testing a premium gluten-free IPA beer before its release next year. A stout, a lager and other styles of beer will follow shortly. Having established a small-scale brewing site in Edinburgh, the company is now seeking GBP250,000 to scale up production to meet what its founders claim is a largely untapped market.

Does gluten-free beer have potential in Australia?

Although only making up a tiny proportion of the Australian beer market so far, there is good reason to believe that gluten-free beer might soon be an important growth market, says Daniel Grimsey, Senior Research Analyst, Euromonitor International.

Gluten-free beer in Australia would “potentially appeal not only to coeliac disease suffers, and those on a gluten-free diet, but also craft beer enthusiasts,” Grimsey says.

The major brands in Australian gluten-free beer are Schnitzer Brau (brewed in Offenburg, Germany) and O’Brien (brewed in Wendouree, Victoria).

“Gluten-free beer is typically produced with other non-gluten cereals such as sorghum and millet, giving it a similar appeal to other non-barley beers such as wheat beer, which grew by 13 percent in 2014.   There’s even an opportunity for gluten-free beer to play a similar role to that of low-carb beer, offering a health & wellness option that craft beer currently does not have.

“Its success of course, will all depend on how it tastes,” Grimsey says. 


Fosters is killing craft beer: Choice

Consumer watchdog Choice says that foreign owned brewing giant, SAB Miller (which owns the Fosters Group inclusive of Carlton & United Breweries) is locking out genuine craft beer at local pubs.

Choice’s head of media, Tim Godfrey says that while pubs may appear to offer a wide selection of tap beers, the reality is that most of the taps in Australian pubs are controlled by one of two international brewing giants, Sab Miller or Kirin, at the expense of genuine Australian craft brewers.

 “It's not uncommon for the big brewers to offer more money, rebates or other incentives for exclusive access to 80 percent or even 100 percent of pub taps, making it hard for independent brewers to get a fair go,” says Godfrey.

“We know 83 percent of revenue in Australia flows to the big beer barons, Kirin and SABMiller. If exclusive dealing cuts competitors, forecloses markets and keeps competitors out, it may well be unlawful.”

Choice obtained a contract for the supply of tap beer that stipulates demands for exclusive access for the SABMiller-owned Foster’s Group. Examples of the terms include:

  • Foster's will be the exclusive supplier of all Light Strength (<3%ABV) Draught Beer;
  • Foster's will be the exclusive supplier of all Low Carbohydrate Draught Beers;
  • Foster's will be the exclusive supplier of all Domestic Premium and Sub-Premium Draught Beers;
  • Foster's will be the exclusive supplier of all Imported Draught Beers;
  • Foster's will be the exclusive supplier of all Specialty & Craft Draught Beers;
  • Foster's will be the exclusive supplier of all Draught Spirits & Cider.

Choice say that the ACCC is currently investigating the wholesale supply of beer to Australia’s pub industry to determine whether anti-competitive behaviour is locking out smaller, genuine craft brands.

“This isn’t the only tactic the big brewers are using to muscle in on the growing craft beer market. For some time Kirin and SABMiller have been buying up craft beer brands and now currently control 47 percent of the craft beer market,” says Godfrey.

“These big global beer barons know there’s a price premium on claiming to be craft brews and it’s now clear their ‘craft washing’ strategy extends to exclusive dealing which sees genuine Australian craft beers locked out of the market.”

In April last year, US entrepreneurs, Barrett Garese and Rudy Jahchan have launched a 99 cent app that is designed to help beer lovers differentiate between genuine craft beer, and beer that is marketed as craft, but is in fact owned by big brewing companies.

The popularity of craft and boutique beer has experienced impressive growth over the last few years with brewing giant, SABMiller noting that it had reported a decline in sales of its top mainstream brands including Crown Lager, Carlton Draught and Victoria Bitter.

The company also noted that popular tap beers including Carlton Draught, were losing traction as pub drinkers favoured craft beers over mainstream brands.


Four big challenges for Coca-Cola

Euromonitor International Senior Beverages Analyst, Howard Telford comments on four potential challenges for Coca-Cola ahead.

Low-calorie cola performance

With governments across the globe and media publicizing obesity concerns, sugar content in soft drinks has gone under increased scrutiny.  While the Coca-Cola Co. has already developed low and zero calorie drinks that are top ranked brands in their respective categories, the overall category is anaemic in the US, reflecting concerns over alternative sweeteners. It will be interesting to see the performance report for Coca-Cola Life, which is the company's stevia sweetened cola.

Emerging market performance

While Coke dominates the emerging markets, it has seen increased competition from domestic players, with global competitors such as Pepsi Co. also looking to grow in these regions as well.  If the company wants to hit its 2020 targets, BRIC growth and development of major secondary markets such as Indonesia and Vietnam are essential.

Health and wellness trends within the soft drink category

Coca-Cola already has a wide range of juice brands and waters that could be winners for the company, but they must continue to develop and innovate with new health and wellness angles within its brands.  A key growth area could be functional and energy drinks.  Besides the company's Monster Energy equity investment late last year, what other innovation plans do they have in-store?

Push other drink categories besides carbonates

As the popularity of carbonates has waned in traditional high-consumption markets, the public pressure to reduce sugar consumption via soft drinks will remain high.  Coke will need to expand sales of other beverages and diversity its soft drinks category portfolio, including functional beverages and dairy.  Fairlife, the company's new US milk product boasts 50 percent more protein and calcium with 30 percent less sugar and has a longer shelf life than regular milk.  Fairlife aims to get a big share of the $20 billion dollar US drinking milk products market, up 5 percent in 2014.  The big question is the strategic direction of the Fairlife brand and what Coke thinks of this opportunity.


Beverages industry: training can be a game changer

Given the present economic environment, it’s not unheard of for training to fall to the wayside, but the Australian Beverages Council is keeping it on the agenda and addressing areas for improvement in the industry with their training events.

Food Magazine spoke with Colin Felder, Technical & Regulatory Manager at the Australian Beverages Council, to find out more.

There’s no denying that technology moves fast and it will continue to do so. Keeping your eye “on the ball” through ongoing training can be both a preventative tactic, and aid in innovation.

“If you take your eye off the ball, technology will either catch up with you or there’ll be something which pops through the system, which may lead to a recall,” Felder says.

In previous years, the Council identified a need for a training course which covered the beverage supply chain and introduced the integrated regulatory, quality and safety programs of the beverage industry in Australia, New Zealand and beyond.

“Unfortunately the way the education system and the courses that are being offered at the moment, often you’re not getting a good commercial background, you’re just coming out with specialists.”

Felder found a lot of the attendees for the 2014 Manufacturing Beverages One course were plant operators, or people who’d come out of the packaging industry and didn’t have an understanding of ingredients and the things that go into the total manufacturing of a beverage.

“Then there is newer graduates coming out of things like food science and walking in. They need to know what the actual language of beverages is.”

Felder says sometimes these graduates “don’t understand and sometimes can’t communicate the quality assurance and packaging roles and legislative roles that they need to in order to have a good understanding of the whole industry.”

Spotting the gaps

Although the Australian Beverages Council is currently in the process of reviewing the industry’s areas of need, Felder predicts the big challenges in 2015 will be new ingredients and the shift in bottled water towards lightly sparkling.

 “We’re looking at new ingredients, especially with the advent of less sugars and the increasing role of natural sweeteners,” Felder says. “Stevia is obviously a bit part of that.”

Felder says that with the growing bottled water market trending away just from bottled water into lightly sparkling, some smaller operators are needing to adapt.

“We’re teaching them things like the basics of carbonation so they can expand the plant and take extra opportunities there in the market and expand away from their standard still bottled water into the sparkling, which they’re upgrading the plants to do.”

“To actually be able to take a basic bottled water plant and give them the opportunities to put simple additions to the plant and upgrades gives them a opportunity than just sitting around and playing with different labels, for example.”

Smaller operators

Training can especially be a struggle for the smaller operators.

“We’re finding that even the smaller operator, because everything is down at such a small margin you can’t actually afford to have your key plant operators out of the factory for three days, for example, and probably by the time you have your travel, you’ve probably lost them for a week for three days of training.”

In response to this, the Council is looking at putting together a module system which can be done online for specific needs.

But it doesn’t end with the Australian Beverages Council, with a lot of the larger members of the beverage industry, such as Asahi Beverages, opting for in-house training.


Fruit Concentrate Market is expected to reach $34.6 Billion by 2019

The fruit concentrate market is growing in the food & beverage sector, with an increasing trend towards the consumption of processed food products in developing countries.

Health issues with regards to food habits have changed. People are opting for nutritional food items. Hence, the consumption of fruit juices has increased in the market, according to a New Report By MarketsandMarkets.

The food concentrate market size is projected for fruits such as apple, orange, lemon, pineapple, grapes, pear, and specialty fruits, based on significant regions such as North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Rest of the World (ROW).

In 2013, Asia-Pacific dominated the fruit concentrate market, followed by Europe. The increasing demand for healthy and natural foods and safety concerns with respect to processed products drive the market. The fruit concentrate market is projected to reach $34.6 billion by 2019.

The increase in population has a tremendous impact on the global food supply. The food nutrition and quality concerns have received widespread attention. Different government and private industries have come a long way to achieve high standards for safe, unadulterated, and nutritive food. The consumer demands are met–with the development of different flavours of fruit concentrates that are appetizing, appealing, and economical-with the use of technology.


Australian International Beer Awards entries open

Entries are open for AIBA, the largest annual beer competition in the world assessing both packaged and draught beer.

A diverse range of styles across 18 categories will be assessed with a total of 30 Champion and Major Trophies presented.

In response to industry feedback, the Gypsy Brewer Trophy has been added to the programme recognising Australian brewers who do not own a brewery, who were previously ineligible for a brewery trophy. The award reflects this growing and emerging trend in the Australian market and allows gypsy brewers to be part of the Champion trophy set. It is believed to be the only award of its kind in Australia.

AIBA head judge and Little Creatures head brewer, Warren Pawsey, said “The Gypsy Brewer Trophy presents a huge opportunity to talented Aussie brewers who have previously gone unrecognised in the industry. It opens the programme to a new range of unique flavours and brew styles. There is a lot of quality beer coming from gypsy brewers and I can’t wait to see what is put forward.”

This year, the judging and presentation schedule has shifted to closely align with Good Beer Week with less than a week between the two. The move allows for international and interstate judges to attend the Awards and join other industry participants in Melbourne for the biggest week of beer celebration in Australia.

The winners of the AIBA will be announced and celebrated at the Awards presentation, a gala dinner held on Thursday 21 May, followed by the Exhibitor Tasting at Feddish on Friday 22 May, two feature events of the Good Beer Week schedule.

The 2015 AIBA will play host to a judging team of 60 industry experts from all corners of the world, the largest contingent of expert assessors ever assembled for the Awards. The judging process ensures fair and consistent marking across all competition categories through blind tastings, each beer being assessed on its own merit, against set criteria.

The AIBA prides itself on being accessible to all brewers and breweries, giving all industry participants the opportunity to benchmark their product against peers and allowing them to promote their award-winning brews using the AIBA seal of quality and excellence.

Charlie Hodgson from Mash Brewing, winners of the 2014 Champion Australian Beer Trophy and Best IPA Trophy for their Mash AIPA, said winning at the AIBA led to a direct increase in sales and brand awareness.

“It has done huge things for Mash. This past summer was very busy with most tanks (not just trophy winners) selling out on the day they were kegged or packed. A lot of people are looking much closer at what we do and some of our other brands are having a really nice flow on effect in terms of sales,” Hodgson said.

AIBA entries close on Friday 6 March, with judging to be held between Wednesday 13 May and Friday 15 May, and winners to be announced on Thursday 21 May.

For more information and to submit your entry, visit www.rasv.com.au/beer.


Chinese owned dairy company plans to ramp up production

Chinese owned Yo You dairy company in south west Gippsland plans to double its herd size and export over 10,000 litres of fresh milk a day to China.

Gippsland will be the first phase in an operation to establish seven dairy farms across NSW and Victoria to sell premium milk to Chinese consumers at $7 a litre, ABC Rural reports.

The Yo You dairy company runs a farm in Kernot, 100km south-east of Melbourne, and is majority owned by the Ningbo Group, a top 500 company in China.

The company wants to build a processing plant and feedlot in the Bass Coast Shire but it has already faced local opposition.

Managing the permit application on behalf of the group is the professional services company GHD.

GHD manager Jon McNought said he had been waiting for an opportunity to increase investment in Australian dairy.

"They've been interested in the region as far as I'm aware for two or three years since the Chinese scare with their own product," he said.

"A lot of companies have been looking at sourcing dairy products from outside China and Australia is a very attractive proposition for that."

Mr McNough said Australia's free trade agreement with China had accelerated investment in agribusiness in Gippsland with local councils assessing more permits from Chinese companies.

"Even though Yo You have been operating here for a few years they have put this plan into action since the free trade agreement was signed, so that has encouraged them with their planned investment," he said.

"They have chosen Gippsland as their first one mainly because of their proximity to the airport where they will be flying the product out to China."

The China-Austaralia fresh milk market has been busy with activity, with many companies scrambling to position themselves to benefit from the FTA.

Devondale Murray Goulburn has re-launched its Devondale long life milk in China, with bilingual translations, clear messaging about country of origin and the farm's cooperative story.

Fonterra has also been edging closer to securing a milk deal with China, with China’s Ministry of Commerce recently granting anti-trust and strategic foreign investment approval for the proposed partnership with Beingmate.


Packaged food and soft drink consumption to increase

The world buys 1.5 trillion calories a day, with the average global consumer purchasing 765 calories each day through packaged food and soft drinks, according to new research.

Market Research Company Euromonitor International released new research examining the total amount of nutrients purchased per-person per day through packaged food and soft drinks products. 

The research found countries in North America and Western Europe purchase over 1500 calories, with India at 150 calories per day and China at 510, respectively.

“Despite over 40 percent of the global population being overweight and obese, our nutrition data shows that by 2019 the world will purchase 90 calories more a day,” says Lauren Bandy, nutrition analyst at Euromonitor International.

“This analysis helps address rising concerns surrounding nutritional value in food while building a picture of what people eat in different countries.”

Mexico buys the most calories a day with 1928 calories per person, which is 380 calories more than the US. The additional 380 calories is the equivalent of an extra slice of pizza per person every day in Mexico. Germany buys nearly twice as much fat per capita per day than Japan, and France purchases more calories from bread each day than India does from packaged food and soft drinks combined.

“Understanding how packaged food and soft drink brands contribute to the total purchase of nutrients by category and country helps address the rising concern of nutritional value in food,” Bandy said.

The data, available in Euromonitor’s Passport: Nutrition database depicts a brands contribution to the purchase of nutritional content around the world, identifying the contents of the world’s diet and the impact each nutrient, such as salt, has on our diets. The data allows companies and governments to understand consumers taste and food preferences around the world.


Pernod Ricard Winemakers introduces first Graduate Wine Ambassadors

Pernod Ricard Winemakers has unveiled the team of graduates they’ve chosen to become their first ever Graduate Wine Ambassadors.

Following a competitive international recruitment process, five rising stars are being given the opportunity to train and work in Pernod Ricard Winemakers’ wineries and global offices.

The Graduate Wine Ambassadors are a diverse group, hailing from Australia, New Zealand and Poland, with a broad range of skills including fluency in Japanese as well as degrees in commerce, arts and science. Each graduate was chosen for his or her natural business acumen and genuine passion for wine.

They’ll now undertake nine months of intensive training in Australia, New Zealand and Spain, learning about all facets of winemaking and developing their business and marketing skills. They will then spend two years in key global markets including Canada, Poland, Vietnam, Australia and Japan, working alongside existing Pernod Ricard Winemakers teams to grow their iconic wine brands.

Human resources Director of Pernod Ricard Winemakers, Christian Campanella said “This team of Graduate Wine Ambassadors are highly skilled, hard-working and talented, and will bring fresh ideas and energy to some of our most important international markets.

“Through this program, these graduates will turn their natural skills and passion for wine into globally recognised qualifications and vital hands on experience."

About the Graduate Wine Ambassadors:

  • Rosemary McDonald, 27, from Sydney, Australia
  • Benjamin Dunlop, 22, from Brisbane, Australia
  • India Munari, 27, from Melbourne, Australia
  • Wojtek Cyran, 29, from London, UK (originally from Poland)
  • Jenny Rothenburg, 28, from Auckland, New Zealand

About the Graduate Wine Ambassador Program:

Application period: Applications in Spain are open between October 27, 2014 and 1 February 2015. Applications in Australia and New Zealand open on 9 February 2015 and close on June 26, 2015.

Program outline (9 months training followed by a placement in market of up to two years): Wine and Spirit Education Trust Level 2 Certificate; training in our wineries in Australia, Spain and New Zealand; marketing & sales training in global head offices, then two years working in one of our key global markets.

Applications for the 2015 Graduate Wine Ambassador Program open in Australia and New Zealand on 9 February 2015. Interested graduates can apply through the Graduate Wine Ambassador Program website.


Up&Go to enter UK breakfast market

Life Health Foods UK, a 50/50 joint venture set up between the owners of Sanitarium and finance and investment house Wingate, is set to take on the UK breakfast market.

Life Health Foods UK will launch Australia’s number one breakfast cereal brand, Up&Go, to UK consumers next month, ahead of assessing additional markets and opportunities in Europe and elsewhere.

Up&Go was launched by Sanitarium in Australia 15 years ago, and has capitalised on growing demand for convenient, nutritional breakfast choices. In addition to being the category leader, Up&Go has achieved 25 percent annual growth on average in the past five years, and it is now found in 22.3 percent of Australian households.

In the UK, where the liquid breakfast market is in its infancy, thirty-eight million Britons skip breakfast at least once a week, and research has identified significant demand for on-the-go breakfast options that are tailored to the local market.

Following extensive market research and planning, Up&Go’s launch into the UK will be supported by a new look brand, new packaging, a reformulated product and a detailed marketing strategy to encourage trial among target consumers.

Interest from supermarkets is strong, with national distribution agreements already secured and negotiations with additional supermarkets proceeding well.

Kevin Jackson, Sanitarium CEO and LHF (UK) director said: “It’s our owners’ strategic objective to see our major brands like Up & Go expand beyond Australia and New Zealand and this objective is made much easier with high quality strategic partners.

“The UK’s population is three times that of Australia’s and we project that the liquid breakfast market will reach £300m within five to ten years.

“Wingate has strong financial credentials and a culture and values that align closely with ours.  I’m excited to be working with them to ensure Up&Go becomes an international success”, Jackson said.

Farrel Meltzer, group managing director for Wingate said: “Increasing demand for on-the-go breakfast products is part of a massive trend towards healthy food options sweeping through consumer markets in many countries, driving retailers around the world to look for nutritious innovations that reinvigorate spending in the breakfast aisle.

“We’ve been impressed by Sanitarium’s success, professionalism and commercial nous and we share a belief that providing nutritious foods is good for consumers, good for business and good for the society.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity, and we look forward to bringing key Sanitarium brands to the global market”, Meltzer said.

The joint venture company, Life Health Foods UK, is based in London and has completed a number of key appointments including James McMaster as CEO (previously of Ella’s Kitchen and Gü) and Rosie Foster-Carter as marketing director (previously of PepsiCo and Innocent Drinks).

In addition to providing funding, Wingate will provide strategic expertise via three positions on a six-person Board created to support the success and expansion of Life Health Foods UK.


Adelaide couple on trial for supplying raw milk

A couple who sold "shares" in their cows to supply unpasteurised milk are on trial in Adelaide for breaching food standards.

Prosecutor David White said Mark and Helen Tyler from Willunga Hill, south of Adelaide, operate what is known as a "house cow share scheme" for about 30 milking cows, ABC News reports

They offer shares to the public for about $30 each, which allows people to take home bottles of unpasteurised milk, also known as raw milk, after paying an additional "boarding fee".

White said the Government did not allow the sale of unpasteurised milk under the Food Act because of public health concerns.

It is, however, legal to drink unpasteurised milk from your own cow.

Mr Tyler brought a cow to the Christies Beach Magistrates Court to show people what they were buying when they bought shares.

He argued they were buying into a cow rather than purchasing milk.

The trial heard evidence from Lance Holberton, who helped carry out an investigation for Primary Industries and Resources South Australia (PIRSA).

He purchased a share in a cow and collected some milk after paying his boarding fee.

His interaction is the subject of the first charge against the Tylers – selling milk that did not comply with the Australia and New Zealand Food Standards Code (ANZFSC).

Another PIRSA official is due to give evidence during the trial that he took samples of the milk from the dairy in August 2013.

The samples were tested and showed microbiological contents well in excess of allowable levels under food standards.

That evidence is the subject of a second charge: failing to comply with a requirement of the ANZFSC.

The trial is listed to run for three days.