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NILWA's Martin O'Mara: 2017's top liquor wholesaling trends

NILWA's Martin O'Mara: 2017's top liquor wholesaling trends

The Chair of NILWA and CEO of Novocastrian Liquor, Martin O'Mara, gives the rundown to drinks trade's Hannah Sparks on the hottest brands right now and trends on the way for retailers and venues.

Which products are moving out of your warehouse the fastest currently?

Hot categories for us at the moment are are craft draught beer, on-premise only wines, especially from Vintage House Wine & Spirits, De Bortoli Wines and Accolade Wines, and the spirits category at LUC $40-$5 plus, in particular American whiskies Maker's Mark and Jack Daniel's, and spiced rum led by Sailor Jerry and Kraken.

What's driving these sales?

The draught craft beer segment is growing as outlets drop mainstream taps to try something different and appeal to customers' curiosity. Big brands are now constantly under attack because of the craft, artisan and premiumisation movement that is unearthing hundreds of new brands that chip away at their market share.

Like fashion, do alcohol trends move in cycles?

Melbourne Bitter is in vogue again and tap distributions are being carefully limited so as not to kill off the "everything old is new again" trend. Bacardi and the entire white rum category are growing share from dark rum, and there is a growing awareness of vermouth as apertifs and cocktails.

What other trends to you think the trade should prepare for?

Hopefully, there will be some sensible amendments to licensing restrictions so that the on-premise liquor industry can trade profitably and responsibly. 

I'm predicting the revival of fortified wines next year when Millennials tire of them single malts. 

There may be further rationalisation of brands across all categories. The current competition and discounted priceing programs are not sustainable, partly due to the proliferation of private label brands and a lack of long-term planning. This may lead to more supplier cost cutting, distribution mergers and acquisitions or, in other words, business as usual!

To read what ILG's Peter Hampson and IBA's Phil Ritchie had to say about liquor wholesaling trends in the latest issue of drinks trade, click here. 




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